A Brief EXPOSITION OF THE Lord's Prayer AND THE Decalogue.

To which is added The DOCTRINE of the Sacraments.

By ISAAC BARROW, D. D. And late Master of Trinity College in Cambridge.

LONDON, Printed by M. Flesher, for Brabazon Aylmer, at the Three Pigeons, over against the Royal Exchange in Cornhill. 1681.


TO The Right Honourable HENEAGE EARL of NOTTINGHAM, Lord High CHANCELLOUR OF ENGLAND, AND One of the Lords of His Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council; THOMAS BARROW, the Authour's Father, Humbly Dedicateth these DISCOURSES.

The Publisher to the Reader.

AMong the Remains of this pious and learned Authour, fit to be communicated to the publick, none more likely to be of general use and advantage than this Explication of the Lord's Prayer, the Decalogue, and the Doctrine of the Sacraments; whether we regard the brevity and plainness, or the admirable weight and fulness of it. And therefore I thought fit to publish it in a small Manual by it self, and not to join it with other Discourses of the Au­thour, that so this little Treatise, which is so necessary and usefull to all, might be had upon the easiest terms.

[Page] It were to be wish'd, that the Creed also had been explain'd by him in the same manner; but that he hath han­dled in a larger way, in a great many excellent Sermons upon the several Articles of it, wherein he hath not onely explain'd and confirm'd the great Doctrines of our Religion, but likewise shewn what influence every Article of our Faith ought to have upon our practice. These Discourses will make a very considerable Treatise, which will in due time be made publick. In the mean time enjoy and make use of this.

Jo. Tillotson.

Orat. Domin.
AN EXPOSITION OF The Lord's Prayer.

‘Si per omnia precationum sanctarum verba discurras, quantum existimo nihil inve­nies, quod non ista Dominica contineat & concludat oratio: unde liberum est aliis atque aliis verbis, eadem tamen in orando dicere, sed non debet esse liberum alia di­cere. Aug. ad Probam Epist. CXXI.

AMong all the Duties, pre­scribed to us by our Re­ligion, the rendring due Worship to God is in nature, and for consequence the principal; God thereby being most directly honoured, and served, we from it immediately deriving most ample, and high benefits; to the perfor­mance of which duty we are fur­nished with excellent direction, and assistance from that Pray­er, which our Lord (at several times, and upon several occasions) [Page 4] dictated, and recommended to his Disciples, both as a pattern, ac­cording to which they should re­gulate their devotions (Pray thus, Matt. 6. 9. or in this manner, saith he in Saint Matthew) and as a form, in which they should express them (When you pray, Luk. 11. 2. say; that is, say this or in these words; so he injoins them in Saint Luke): Quamlibet alia verba di­camus, quae affectus orantis vel praecedendo format ut clareat, vel consequendo at­tendit ut crescat, nihil aliud dicimus, quàm quod in ista Dominica Oratione positum est, si rectè & congruenter oramus. Aug. Epist. 121. Vide illum. unto it therefore we should care­fully attend as to our best rule; and we should fre­quently use it as our best matter of devotion; to the well performing of both which duties, it is requisite that we should distinctly understand the particulars contai­ned therein, in order to which purpose we shall endeavour to ex­plain them; but first let us pre­mise a few words in general about Prayer.

[Page 5] Prayer in its latitude of accep­tion doth comprehend all devoti­on,1 Tim. 2. 1.— [...]. or worship immediately ad­dressed unto Almighty God; con­sisting of praise, which we render to God in regard to his most ex­cellent perfections, and glorious works; of submissive gratulation, declaring our satisfaction in all the dispensations of his most wise and just providence; of thanksgiving, for the numberless great benefits we have received from him; of acknowledging our total depen­dence on him, and our subjection to him; of professing faith in him, and vowing service to him; of confessing the sins we have com­mitted against him, with the guilt and aggravation of them; of de­precating the wrath and punish­ment due to us for our offences; of petition for all things needfull and convenient for us; of inter­cession for others, whose good we [Page 6] according to duty or charity are concerned to desire and promote: Prayer, I say (although according to its most restrained sense it one­ly doth signifie one of these parti­culars, namely the petition of what is needfull or expedient for us, [...]. Chrys. Tom. V. p. 185. yet) in its larger acception, as it commonly is used, it doth comprize them all; and so we may well take it here; this form, although so very brief, being with so admirable wisedom contrived, as without straining the words beyond their natural importance, we may, applying a moderate at­tention, discern them all, as to their main substance, couched therein;Totius Evan­gelii breviari­um; Tert. de Orat. 1, 9. so that we may indeed reasonably regard this Prayer as a compleat directory, and a full ex­ercise of all our devotion toward God: of devotion, I say, the which (to engage, excite, and en­courage us to the carefull and con­stant practise thereof) we may [Page 7] consider injoin'd us as a necessary duty, commended to us as a re­quisite means of good, and a spe­cial instrument of all piety, and as a high privilege granted to us by God.

1. It is a natural duty and debt we owe to God (both in corre­spondence to the design of our be­ing made and endowed with rati­onal capacities agreeable to our relations; and in requital for our being, and for all the good we have, and do continually receive from him) as most highly to love and reverence him in our hearts; so to declare our esteem of his excellencies, and our sense of his bounty toward us: to avow the dependence we have upon his will and providence; the obligations we are under to his mercy and goodness; to yield our due ho­mage of respect, submission and obedience to him: if we do ac­knowledge [Page 8] a God, our Maker, our Lord, our continual Benefac­tour to be, we must consequently acknowledge these performances in reason, justice and gratitude due to him; and God according­ly requires, and positively injoins them:Deut. 10. 20. He is the Lord our God, whom we must worship and serve; the God,Matt. 4. 10. whom praise waiteth for; who heareth prayers, and to whom therefore all flesh must come: Psal. 65. 2. the Scripture is very frequent in com­manding the duty.

2. It is a most usefull means, or a condition requisite for the procurement of benefits, and bles­sings upon us. God hath declared that he doth accept, he hath pro­mised that he will reward all de­votions with an honest intention, and pure mind offered up unto him; [...]. that he is nigh unto all them that call upon him in truth; that he will be found of them who seek [Page 9] him with all their heart; Psal. 34. 10. 145. 18, 19. 10. 17. that he will fulfill the desire of them that fear him; Jer. 29. 13. he will hear their cry, and will save them; that they who seek him shall not want any good thing; 1 John 3. 22. that,Matt. 21. 22. 7. 7. whatever we ask in prayer believing we shall receive; Luk. 11. 9. that if we ask, Joh. 14. 13. 15. 7. 16. 23. it shall be given us, if we seek, we shall find; if we knock, it shall be opened to us. Prayer is also a means of procu­ring a blessing upon all our un­dertakings; it sanctifieth every performance, &c. There is no good thing so great and precious, so high above the reach of com­mon power; so strange to expect or difficult to compass, which we may not easily and surely by this means obtain; relief in all distres­ses both of our outward and in­ward estate; supplies of all our needs both corporal and spiritual; comfort in all our sorrows and sadnesses; satisfaction in all our doubts and darknesses of mind; [Page 10] help and strength against all our temptations we may be confident to obtain, if we duly seek them from the Almighty dispenser of all good gifts: sure promises there are, and obvious examples hereof, too many to be now recited: as on the other hand; they that will neglect this duty, that will not vouchsafe to seek help and reme­dy of God, may be sure to want it; shall certainly suffer for their proud contempt, profane diffi­dence,Joh. 5. 40. or foolish sloth: you will not (saith our Saviour) come to me, that ye may have life; no wonder then if they do not re­ceive it, if they will not go thi­ther for it, where onely it is to be had. All good things are in God's hand, and we shall never by any force or policy get them thence without his will, moved by intreaty; all good gifts come from heaven, and thence we shall never fetch them down, without [Page 11] ascending thither in our hearts and affections, spiritual goods e­specially are so high above us, that we can never reach them otherwise, than by God's help by humble supplication obtained.

3. It is not onely a means by impetration acquiring for us, but it is an effectual instrument wor­king in us all true good; It is the channel, by which God convey­eth spiritual light into our minds, and spiritual vigour into our hearts. It is both the seed and the food of spiritual life; by which all holy dispositions of soul,Difficillimum est opus orare. Luth. and all honest resolutions of practice are bred, are nourished, are augmen­ted and strengthened in us. It exciteth, it quickneth, it maintai­neth all pious affections;Fervour of Spi­rit. Rom. 12. 11. [...]. the love of God can no otherwise than by it be kindled, fomented or kept in life (without it we certainly shall have an enstrangement, and [Page 12] an aversation from him) it alone can maintain a constant reverence and awe of God, keeping him in our thoughts, and making us to live as in his presence; it chiefly enliveneth and exerciseth our faith and our hope in God: it is that which begetteth in our hearts a savoury relish of divine things; which sweetneth and endeareth to our souls the practice of piety; which onely can enable us with delight and alacrity to obey God's commandments: It alone can raise our minds from the cares and con­cernments of this world to a sense and desire of heavenly things. By it God imparteth strength to sub­due bad inclinations, to restrain sensual appetites, to compress ir­regular passions; to evade the al­lurements to evil, and the discou­ragements from good, which this world always presenteth; to sup­port also with patience and equa­nimity the many crosses and [Page 13] troubles we must surely meet with therein. It is, in short, the onely strong bulwark against temptation and sin; the onely sure guard of piety and a good conscience: no man indeed can be a faithfull servant to God, a real friend to goodness, a serious practicer of duty without a con­stant tenour of devotion.

4. It is a most high privilege and advantage to us, that we are allowed to pray and address our devotions to God. To have a free access to the presence and au­dience of an earthly Prince (to the effect of receiving from him all that we could desire) would be deemed a matter of great ho­nour, and much advantage; how much more is it so to us, that we are admitted to the presence and ear of the great King of all the world; so mighty in power, so large in bounty, so full of good­ness [Page 14] and pity; so thoroughly able, so exceedingly willing to grant and perform our requests? How sweet a thing, of what comfort and benefit is it, to have the li­berty of pouring out our souls and our hearts (as the Psalmist speaks) before God;Psal. 62. 8. 4 [...]. 4. of disburthening our minds of all their cares, their de­sires, their doubts, their griefs and anxieties into the breast of so kind a friend, so wise a counseller, so able a helper; who alone indeed can afford relief, ease, satisfaction and comfort to us? Considering which things we shall appear not onely very disobedient to God, and highly ingratefull toward him (who so infinitely condescends in vouchsafing to us dust and ashes (vile and unworthy creatures) leave to speak and converse with him) but very injurious and un­faithfull to our selves,Gen. 18. 27. and to our own good; if we neglect this du­ty commanded, or slight this privi­lege indulged to us:

[Page 15] In the due performance of which we are directed and assis­ted by this Form of Prayer,Deus solus do­cere potuit, ut se vellet orari. Tert. de Orat. cap. 9. com­posed and dictated for that pur­pose by him, who best knew what we ought to pray for, and how we ought to pray; what matter of desire, what manner of address; what disposition of mind would be most pleasing and acceptable to his Father, would most become and befit us in our approaches to him. We might consequently observe many things concerning those particulars, dis­cernible in this Form: the subli­mity, the gravity, the necessity, the singular choiceness of the matter; together with the fit or­der, and just disposition thereof; according to the natural prece­dence of things in dignity or ne­cessity; the full brevity, the deep plainness, the comely simplicity of expression; the lowly reve­rence signified therein accompa­nied [Page 16] with due faith and confi­dence: these, and the like vertues directive of our devotion we might observe running generally through the whole contexture of this vene­rable Form; but we shall rather chuse to take notice of them as they shall offer themselves in their particular places, to the considera­tion of which in order we now do apply our selves.

Our Father which art in Heaven.

Our Father; upon this title, or manner of compellation, we may first observe, that although our Saviour prescribeth this Form as a pattern, and an exercise of private prayer to be performed in the Closet (and alone in secret as is expressed in the Gospel) yet he directeth us to make our addres­ses to God in a style of plurality,Matt. 6. 6, 9. [Page 17] saying, not my Father, but our Father; thereby, it seems, im­plying; 1. That we should in our prayers consider and acknow­ledge the Universality of God's power and goodness. 2. That we should not in our conceit proudly and vainly appropriate or engross the regard of God un­to our selves; but remember that our brethren have an equal share with us therein. 3. That in all our devotions we should be mind­full of those common bands which knit us together as Men and as Christians (the band of nature and humanity; the more strict tyes of common faith and hope; of manifold relations unto God that made us, and our Saviour that redeemed us, and the Holy Spi­rit who animateth and quickneth us, and combineth us in spiritual union.) 4. That we should bear such hearty good-will, and chari­table affection toward others, as [Page 18] not onely to seek and desire our own particular and private good, but that of all men; especially of all good Christians; who in a pe­culiar manner are God's children and our brethren; [...]. Tom. V. p. 186. He did not bid us say my Father, but our Father, who art in Heaven; that being taught that we have a com­mon Father, we might shew a bro­therly good-will one toward ano­ther, saith S. Chrysostome.

As for the appellation Father; it doth mind us of our relation to God, who upon many grounds, and in divers high respects is our Father (by nature, for that he gave us our being, and made us after his own image; by provi­dence, for that he continually preserveth and maintaineth us; by grace, for that he reneweth us to his image in righteousness and holiness; by adoption, for that he alloweth us the benefit and privi­lege of his children, assigning an [Page 19] eternal inheritance to us) of this relation, which as Creatures, as Men, as Christians, we bear to God it mindeth us, and conse­quently how we ought in corre­spondence thereto to behave our selves; yielding to him all respect, affection and observance; demea­ning our selves in all things as be­comes such a relation, and rank: This indeed of all God's Names, Titles and Attributes is chosen as most sutable to the nature of the present duty; as most encoura­ging to the performance thereof, as most fully implying the disposi­tions required in us, when we ap­ply our selves thereto.Matt. 7. 9. Our Sa­viour used to compare Prayer to a Son's asking nourishment of his Father;Luk. 11. 11. arguing thence what suc­cess, and benefit we may expect from it: we come therein to God, not (directly) as to a Lord or Ma­ster, to receive commands; but rather as to a Father to request [Page 20] from him the sustenance of our life, and supply of our needs; to render withall unto him our thank­full acknowledgments, for having continuedly done those things for us; and to demonstrate our duti­full respect, and affection toward him. It is natural for children in any danger, streight, or want to fly to their parents for shelter, re­lief and succour; and it is so like­wise for us to have recourse unto God, in all those cases, wherein no visible means of help appear from elsewhere: And to doe so the title of Father doth encourage us, signifying not onely power and authority over us, but affec­tion and dearness toward us: The name God, importing his excellent perfections; the name Lord, min­ding us of his power, and empire over us, with the like titles decla­rative of his supereminent Maje­sty, might deter us, being con­scious of our meanness and un­worthiness, [Page 21] from approaching to him; but the word Father is at­tractive and emboldning; think­ing on that we shall be apt to conceive hope, that how mean, how unworthy soever, yet being his children, he will not reject, or refuse us:Matt. 6. 11. If men being evil do give good gifts unto their children; how much more will our Father, which is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him?

It also plainly intimates how qualified and disposed in mind we should come to God; namely, with high reverence, with humble affection, with hearty gratitude; as to the Authour of our being, to him that hath continually preser­ved and brought us up; from whose care and providence we have received all the good we have ever enjoyed; from whose mercy and favour we can onely expect any good for the future. By calling God Father, we avow [Page 22] our selves obliged to honour and love him incomparably beyond all things; We also declare our faith, and hope in God; that we believe him well affected toward us, and willing to doe us good; and that we thence hope to re­ceive the good desirable from him (the which are dispositions neces­sary to the due performance of this duty.)Matt. 21. 22. It also implyeth,Jam. 1. 6. that we should come thereto with pu­rity of mind and good conscience,1 Tim. 2. 8. which is also requisite to the same intent: for if we are conscious of undutifull and disobedient carri­age toward God, how can we call him Father? with what heart, or face can we assume to our selves the title of children? If (saith S. Peter) ye call upon him as Father, 1 Pet. 1. 17. who impartially judges according to every man's work, (that is, who onely estee­meth them for his children, who truly behave themselves as be­cometh [Page 23] children) pass the time of your pilgrimage in fear (or in reverence toward God). We may add, that we also hereby may be supposed to express our charity toward our brethren; who bear unto God, the Father of all men, the same common re­lation. But I proceed:

Which art in Heaven.

God Almighty is substantially present every where; but he doth not every where in effects disco­ver himself alike, nor with equal splendour in all places display the beams of his glorious Majesty. The Scripture frequently mentio­neth a place of his special resi­dence (seated in regions of in­accessible light, above the reach not onely of our sense, but of our fancy and conception) where his royal Court, his presence Cham­ber, [Page 24] his imperial Throne are; where he is more immediately attended upon by the glorious Angels, and blessed Saints; which place is called Heaven, Luk. 2. 14. 19. 38. the high­est heavens; Matt. 21. 9. the [...], the highest places; by his presence wherein God is described here, as for distinction from all other parents here on earth, so to en­crease reverence in us toward him (while we reflect upon his super­eminent glory and majesty) and to raise our hearts from these in­feriour things unto desire, and hope, and love of heavenly things; withdrawing (saith S. Chrysostome) him that prays from earth, [...]. and fastning him to the places on high, and to the mansions above. But so much for the Title.

The first Sentence of our Prayer is,

Hallowed (or sanctified) be thy Name.

Let us first (with S. Chryso­stome) observe the direction we hence receive in all our prayers to have a prime, and principal re­gard to the glory of God; not seeking any thing concerning our own good before his praise; that for the order. As to the substance of this particular we may consi­der, that sanctity implying a dis­crimination, a distance, an exalt­ment in nature or use of the thing, which is denominated thereby; and God's name signi­fying himself with all that we can know of him; himself, as however discovered or declared, with all that relates to him, and bears his inscription; we do here accordingly express our due ac­knowledgments and desires; for [Page 26] by a rare complication this Sen­tence doth involve both praise and petition; doth express both our acknowledgment of what is, and our desire of what should be: we do I say hereby partly ac­knowledge, and praise the super­eminent perfections of God above all things, in all kind of excel­lency, joining in that seraphical Doxology (which to utter is the continual employment of the blessed Spirits above) who inces­santly day and night cry out,Apoc. 4. 8. Ho­ly, Apoc. 4. 11. Holy, Holy; confessing with the heavenly host in the Apoca­lypse, that he is worthy of all ho­nour, glory and power; we do al­so partly declare our hearty wi­shes, [...]. Chrys. Tem. V. p. 186. that God may be every where had in highest veneration; that all things relating to him may receive their due regard; that all honour and praise, all du­ty and service may in a peculiar manner be rendred unto him by [Page 27] all men, by all creatures, by our selves especially: that all minds may entertain good and worthy opinions of him; all tongues speak well of him, celebrate and bless him; all creatures yield adorati­on to his name, and obedience to his will: that he be worshipped in truth and sincerity, with zeal and fervency; this particularly in the Prophet Esay, and by S. Peter is called sanctifying God's Name in opposition to idolatrous and profane Religion (Sanctifie the Lord of hosts himself, Esa. 8. 13. 29. 23. and let him be your fear, let him be your dread, saith the Prophet; and, Fear not their fear, 1 Pet. 3. 14, 15. nor be trou­bled; but sanctifie the Lord God in your hearts, saith the Apostle.) Thus do we here pray and wish in respect to all men, and to all creatures capable of thus sancti­fying God's Name; but more particularly we pray for our selves, that God would grant to [Page 28] us, that we by our religious and righteous conversation may bring honour to his name;Matt. 5. 16. so that men seeing our good works may glorifie our Father, 1 Pet. 2. 12. which is in Heaven. [...], &c. Chrys. in Matt. 6. (Vouchsafe, saith he, that we may live so purely, that all men by us may glorifie thee: so descants S. Chrysostome.)

Thy Kingdom come.

This Petition, or devout wish, being subordinate to the former, as expressing a main particular of that, which is there generally de­sired (we here to the glory of God desiring a successfull and speedy propagation of true Reli­gion) seems in its direct, and im­mediate sense to respect the state of things in that time, more espe­cially befitting our Lord's Disciples then, when the Kingdom of God (that is, the state of Religion un­der [Page 29] the Evangelical Dispensation) was coming and approaching; (according to that of our Saviour in S. Luke: Luk. 9. 27. I say unto you of a truth, Matt. 16. 28. 3. 2. there be some of you stan­ding here that shall not taste death, till they see the Kingdom of God) whence it did become them in zeal to God's glory, and charity for mens salvation, to desire that Christianity might soon effectual­ly be propagated over the world, being generally entertained by men with due faith and obedi­ence: that is, that all men wil­lingly might acknowledge God as their Lord and Maker, wor­shipping and serving him in truth; that they might receive his bles­sed Son Jesus Christ as their King and Saviour, heartily embracing his doctrine, and humbly submit­ting to his laws; to which pur­pose our Lord injoins his Disciples to pray, Matt. 9. 38. that the Lord of the har­vest would send labourers into his [Page 30] harvest; and S. Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to pray, 2 Thess. 3. 1. that the word of the Lord may run and be glorified. And in parity of rea­son, upon the same grounds, we are concerned, and obliged to de­sire, that Christian Religion may be settled and confirmed; may grow and be encreased; may prosper and flourish in the world; that God's authority may to the largest extension of place, to the highest intention of degree, uni­versally and perfectly, be main­tained and promoted, both in ex­ternal profession and real effect; the minds of all men being sub­dued to the obedience of faith; and avowing the subjection due to him; and truly yielding obe­dience to all his most just and holy laws. [...] &c. Chrys. Thus should we pray that God's Kingdom may come; particularly desiring that it may so come into our own hearts; humbli [...] imploring his grace, [Page 31] that he thereby would rule in our hearts, quelling in them all exor­bitant passions, and vicious desires; protecting them from all spiritual enemies, disposing them to an en­tire subjection to his will, and a willing compliance with all his commandments:Luk. 17. 21. for this is the Kingdom of God, which (as our Lord telleth us) is within us; the which doth not (as S. Paul teach­eth us) consist in meat and drink (in any outward formal perfor­mances) but in righteousness, Rom. 14. 17. and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; that is, in obedience to God's will, and in the comfortable con­sequences thereof:Matt. 6. 33. this is the Kingdome of God, which we are enjoined, before any worldly ac­commodations, first to seek.

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in hea­ven.

This Sentence is likewise com­plicated of praise, good desire, and petition: for we thereby first do acknowledge the wisedom, justice, and goodness of God in all resolutions of his will, and dispensations of his providence:

1. We profess our approbati­on of all God's counsels, our complacence and satisfaction in all his proceedings; our cheer­full submission and consent to all his pleasure; joining our suffrage, and saying in harmony with that blessed Choire in the Revelation: Great, Apoc. 15. 3. and wonderfull are thy works, O Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, O thou [Page 33] King of Saints. We disclaim our own judgments and conceits; we renounce our own desires and de­signs, so far as they appear in­consistent with the determinati­ons of Gods wisedom, or discor­dant with his pleasure; saying after our Lord,Luk. 22. 42. Let not my will, but thine be done.

2. We do also express our de­sire, that as in heaven all things with a free, and undisturbed course do pass according to God's will, and good liking; every in­timation of his pleasure finding there a most entire and ready compliance, from those perfectly loyal and pious spirits (those mi­nisters of his, Psal. 103. 20. that do his pleasure, as the Psalmist calls them) so that here on earth the gracious designs of God may be accomplished without opposition or rub; that none should presume,Luk. 7. 30. as the Pha­risees and Lawyers are said to doe, [Page 34] [...], to dis­appoint or defeat God's counsel; [...], to thrust away or re­pulse God's word, Acts 13. 46. as the Jews did in the Acts; to resist, provoke, or defie God by obstinate disobe­dience; as many are said to do in the Scriptures; but that every where a free, humble, hearty, and full obedience be rendred to his commands.

3. We do also pray, that God would grant us the grace willing­ly to perform, whatever he re­quires of us,Heb. 13. 21. (perfecting us, as the Apostle speaketh, in every good work to do his will, and working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight) contentedly to bear whatever he layeth upon us; that God would bestow upon us a per­fect resignation of our wills unto his will;Phil. 4. 11. a cheerfull acquiescence in that state and station wherein he hath placed us; a submiss pati­ence [Page 35] in all adversities, whereinto he disposeth us to fall; a constant readiness with satisfaction and thankfulness (without reluctancy or repining) to receive whatever cometh from his will, whether gratefull or distastefull to our pre­sent sense; acknowledging his wisedom, his goodness, his justice in all his dealings toward us; heartily saying with good Eli, It is the Lord, 1 Sam. 3. 18. let him do what seemeth him good; with Heze­kiah; 2 King. 20. 19. Good is the word of the Lord, which thou hast spoken, with David; 2 Sam. 15. 26. Behold here I am, let him do to me, as seemeth good to him; Job 2. 10. 1. 21. with Job; Shall we re­ceive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? and,Psal. 37. 5. 55. 22. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord: Yea it were well, if we could after the Heathen Philosopher, Epict. Ench. 38. upon all occasions with our hearts say, [Page 36] [...],Plat. Criton. [...], &c. Ant. IV. 31. [...] If God will have it so, so let be: if we could observe those rules and precepts, which even the Philosophers so much inculcate; [...]. Ant. III. 4; 16. II. 17. X. 11. XII. 1. Ant. VII. 31. X. 11. to commit all our affairs to God, to love and embrace (hugg) all events; to follow, and to accompa­ny God; to yield, deliver, and re­sign our selves up to him.Sen. De Or. Sap. 32. Ego secundum natu­ram vivo, si to­tum me illi dedo. Optimum est Deum, quo auctore cuncta proveniunt sine murmuratione comitari, &c.—hic est magnus animus, qui se Deo tradidit—Sen. Ep. 37, 54, 71, &c. de Prov. 5. (Deo se praebere, dedere, tradere, &c.) and the like.

Give us this day our daily bread.

I shall not stand to criticise upon the hard word here used, translated daily; I onely say, that of two senses offering themselves, both are probable, and by good authority countenanced; both are proper and sutable to the matter, or nature of the thing: according to one we pray for the bread [...] [Page 37] [...], of the time to come, or of that future life, which it shall please God to allow us; [...]. Chrys. Tom. V. 187. accor­ding to the other, we request bread [...], which is neces­sary for our being, and the pre­servation of our lives; joining both together (which is more sure and safe) we pray for a com­petent provision toward the main­tenance of our life hereafter, du­ring our appointed time: that for the sense; upon the Petition it self we observe:

1. That after we have rendred our due tribute of praise, and re­spect unto God, we are allowed, and directed to request of him good things for our selves; be­ginning, as nature prompteth, with the preservation of our be­ings, and lives; whereby we be­come capable of receiving and en­joying other good things;

[Page 38] 2. By doing which we also do imply the sense we have of our total dependence upon God; a­vowing our selves to subsist by his care and bounty; disclaiming consequently all confidence in a­ny other means to maintain or support us; in any store we have laid up, or estate we pretend to; in any contrivance or industry we can use; in any succour of friends or relations; for that not­withstanding all these, we do need our daily bread to be dealt to us by God, and must continually beg it as a gift from his hands.

3. We are by that word, [...], this day, taught our duty (sig­nifying withall our performance thereof) of being willing continu­ally to rely upon God; not affec­ting to ever be so much before hand, as not to need God's constant as­sistance: we ask not, that God [Page 39] would give us at once, what may serve us for ever, and may put us out of any fear to want hereafter; we ask not for that which may suf­fice for a long time, for many years, many months, many days; but that God would give us to day, or rather day by day ( [...],Luk. 11. 3. as it is expressed in S. Luke) that is, that he would continually dispense to us, what is needfull for us: we should not therefore desire to have an estate settled upon us; to live by our selves, or on our own in­comes; to be set out of God's house, or immediate protection and care; this in it self cannot be (for God cannot alienate his goods from himself, nor can we subsist out of his hand) nor must we desire it should be; 'tis a part of Atheism, of Infidelity, of Heathenish pro­faneness and folly to desire it (these things, Matt. 6. 32. saith our Lord, do the Gentiles seek; that is, they are covetous of wealth, and care­full [Page 40] for provisions to live without dependence upon God) but we must esteem God's providence our surest estate, God's bounty our best treasure, God's fatherly care our most certain, and most comfortable support;Matt. 6. 25. casting all our care on him, 1 Pet. 5. 7. as being assured that he careth for us; Heb. 13. 5. will not leave nor forsake us; Phil. 4. 6. will not withhold, what is necessary for our comfortable sustenance.

4. It is here intimated, how sober, and moderate our appetites should be, in regard both to the quality and quantity of the things we use: we are directed to ask [...] (as S. Chrysostome says) necessary food, not luxurious plenty, or delicacy: it is bread (the most simple, homely, and common diet) that is, such ac­commodations as are necessary to maintain our lives, and satisfie our natural desires; not superflui­ties, [Page 41] serving to please our wan­ton appetites, or humour our cu­rious fancies; 'tis not variety, daintiness, elegancy, or splendour we should affect to enjoy, but be content to have our necessities supplied, with the coursest diet, and the meanest apparel, if our condition requireth it, or God's providence in an honest way al­lotteth no other to us: we may soberly and thankfully enjoy what God sends; but we should not presume to ask for, or desire other than this.

And for the measure, we learn to ask onely for so much as shall be fit to maintain us; not for rich, or plentifull store; not for full barns, or for heaps of trea­sure; not for wherewith to glut, or pamper our selves; but for daily bread, a moderate provision then to be dealt to us, when we need it.

It follows,

And forgive us our tres­passes, as we forgive them that trespass a­gainst us (our trespasses, 'tis our debts ( [...]) in S. Matthew; our sins ( [...]) in S. Luke; and they who trespass against us are in both Evangelists called our debtors: for he that in­jures another is obnoxi­ous and in debt to him; owing him satisfaction, either by making repa­ration, or undergoing punishment.)

After the preservation of our beings (the foundation of enjoy­ing other good things) our first [Page 43] care, we see, ought to be concer­ning the welfare of our better part, and state; which chiefly consists in the terms, whereon we stand, toward God, upon whose favour all our happiness dependeth, and from whose dis­pleasure all our misery must pro­ceed: since therefore we all do stand obnoxious to God's wrath and justice; having omitted ma­ny duties, which we own to him, having committed manifold offen­ces against him; it is therefore most expedient, that we first en­deavour to get him reconciled to us, by the forgiveness of our debts and offences; concerning which remission, upon what account it is necessary, upon what terms it is granted, by what means it is obtained, in what manner it is dispensed by God, I have other­where touched, and it is not sea­sonable now farther to insist there­on: onely it may be pertinent here to observe,

[Page 44] 1. That this being the first of Petitions (formally such, and) purely spiritual; we are hereby admonished to lay the foundation of our devotions in humility; that we are obliged, before we presume to ask any thing of God concerning our chief happiness, and well-being, to reflect upon, acknowledge, and confess our un­worthiness (not coming to our prayers as the Pharisee did, do­ting upon our worthy qualities, and good deeds; but like the poor Publican, with a sense of our in­firmities and miscarriages; so as to be ready to acknowledge our selves, as indeed we all are, guil­ty of many, and great sins) this is here implyed; for in requesting pardon for our sins, we confess our selves to be sinners, and to need God's mercy.

[Page 45] 2. We may hence learn the necessity, and the excellency of that benefit we here beg. When the Psalmist applied himself to praise God for his benefits, this he set in the first place, as most needfull and considerable to him: Bless the Lord, Psal. 103. 2, 3. O my Soul (said he) and forget not all his benefits (or rather, not any of his benefits) who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases; and answerably, it is the first particu­lar benefit we pray for.

3. We must take notice, that we are obliged to go to our de­votions with universal charity, and good-will toward others;1 Tim. 2. 8. to lift up (as S. Paul injoineth) holy hands without wrath, and doubt­ing (or without wrath, and dissen­sion) to depose all enmity (as our Lord adviseth) before we bring our oblation to the altar of God;Matt. 5. 23. [Page 46] reserving no spight, or grudge to­ward any man, but having a heart clear of all ill-will, and desire of revenge; being in affection of mind toward others as we do wish, and hope, and pray that God would be toward us: such in all reason, equity, and inge­nuity should our disposition be; and such God requires it to be; and such we do assert, and pro­mise it to be; implying also a com­pact with God, no otherwise to desire, or expect his favour, and mercy toward us, than as we re­semble him in kind and merci­full intentions toward our bre­thren: It is implyed on God's part, that he vouchsafes pardon onely upon these terms; yea more, that he doth truly promise pardon upon our performing this condition;Matt. 6. 14. so our Saviour, pur­posely reflecting on this Petition, doth afterward expound it: for, saith he, if you forgive to men [Page 47] their trespasses, your heavenly Fa­ther will also forgive you; it also implies a consent on our parts, and submission to this condition, as most equal and reasonable; so that if we break it, if we do re­tain any uncharitable inclinations, we deal, falsely with God; we forfeit all pretence to favour, and mercy from him; we are neither qualified for mercy, nor shall ob­tain it from God.

Lead us not into temp­tation.

Temptation is sometime taken in a middle, and indifferent sense for any occasion, by which the moral quality of persons (their vertue, or vice) is examined, and discovered: so God is said to have tempted Abraham, Gen. 22. 1. when he pro­pounded to him the offering up of his Son; so he tempted the [Page 48] Israelites, by leading them in that long journey through the wilder­ness,Deut. 8. 2. [...] that he might know what was in their heart, whether they would keep his commandments, or no: so he likewise tempted them by per­mitting Seducers to do wonder­full things,Deut. 13. 3. that he might know, whether they did love the Lord with all their heart, and with all their soul: And because affliction is of such a nature, as to try the temper, disposition, and intenti­ons of men, therefore temptation often is used for affliction. It see­meth also sometimes put in a good sense, for an occasion designed to exercise, or to improve, or to de­clare the vertues of a person; so the inconveniencies, and crosses incident to our nature, and con­dition here, the which our Lord did undergo,Luk. 22. 28. are by S. Luke, Heb. 2. 18. 4. 15. and others of the Apostles styled temp­tations;1 Pet. 4. 12. 1. 6, 7. so the fiery trial in S. Pe­ter was [...], to exercise [Page 49] and refine them, that (saith he) the trial of their faith might be to praise, and honour, and glory; so S. James biddeth Christians to rejoice, Jam. 1. 2. when they fall into divers temptations; that is when they meet with opportunities of exer­cising their faith, and patience; and so we may understand that place in Deuteronomy: Deut. 8. 16. Who ('tis said) sed thee with Manna, that he might humble, and prove thee (or tempt thee, [...], say the LXX.) to do thee good at the latter end; that he might tempt thee, that is, that he might render thee approved; might exercise, and improve thy dependence on God, thy patience, thy obedience. But the word is commonly taken in a worse sense, for an occasion presented with ill purpose, or na­turally tending and not easily avoided, of falling into sin; a stumbling block, a snare; as when S. Paul saith,1 Tim. 6. 9. that they who [Page 50] will be rich, do fall [...], into temptation, and a snare; Jam. 1. 13. thus S. James assureth us, that God tempteth no man; that is, doth not intend to seduce, or inveagle any man into sin. Yet because nothing in the world, ei­ther good or bad, doth happen without God's permission, and governance; and the Devil him­self must obtain licence from God, before he can tempt any man, or do any mischief (as we see in Job's case,Job 2. 6. and in the history of Ahab) since God seeth whatever is done,1 King. 21. 22. and with greatest ease could hin­der it; and doth not otherwise than for some good end suffer any evill to be designed, or atchieved, it is the style of Scripture to at­tribute such things in some sense to him; as when God is said to send Joseph into Egypt to preserve life; Gen. 45. 5. when as in truth his bre­thren out of envy, and ill-will did sell him thither; and, God is said [Page 51] to move David to number the people; 2 Sam. 24. 1. when as indeed Satan (as it is otherwhere affirmed) provo­ked him to number them; 1 Chron. 21. 1. and that horrid Tragedy acted by the Jews upon our Blessed Saviour is said to be brought to pass by the hand and definite counsel of God; Act. 2. 23. 4. 28. because God foreseeing the temp­tations, which those men should incurr of committing such acts, and their inclinations to perform them, did resolve not to inter­pose his power in hindrance of them, but suffering them to pro­ceed, would turn their mischie­vous practices to an excellently good end, and use them as instru­ments of his just, holy, and gra­cious purposes: Thus then where­as by temptation here is meant any occasion alluring, or provo­king to sin, or withdrawing from duty, with a violence, all things considered, exceeding our strength to resist or avoid; (or however [Page 52] such an one, that is apt to over­throw us) God may be said to bring them into it, whom in ju­stice he permits to be exposed thereto; although he do no other­wise intermeddle, or concur there­in, than by not affording, or by withdrawing his especial directi­on, and assistance; leaving them without check blindly or wilfully to follow the sway of their own tempers, the instinct of their vain minds, the bent of their corrupt wills; the violence of their unru­ly passions, and appetites; letting them to fall into the manifold snares of false opinion, evil cu­stom, and contagious example, which the World sets before them; (the World, which by its fair pro­mises, and pleasing flatteries enti­ceth to sin, or by its angry frowns, & fierce threats discourageth from goodness) permitting the Devil, without controll or impediment, by his wiles to delude and seduce [Page 53] them; which kind of proceeding of God with men is clearly re­presented in the 81 Psalm; where, of the Israelites God says, that having signally declared his plea­sure to them, and by promise of great benefits invited them to ob­serve it; upon their wilfull neg­lect, he dealth thus with them: But (says God there) my people would not hearken to my voice, Psal. 81. 11 12. and Israel would none of me; So I gave them up unto their own hearts lusts; and they walked in their own counsels. In such manner, if God, provoked thereto by our heinous miscarriages, doth justly bring us into, or doth let us en­ter into temptation (as our Lord otherwhere expresseth it,Luk. 22. 40, 46. Pray, saith he, that ye enter not into temptation) we shall infallibly run into many grievous sins, and de­sperate mischiefs; no less surely, than we shall wander, and stum­ble in the dark, than we shall slide, [Page 54] and fall in the most slippery pla­ces;Jer. 10. 23. and sometimes be entangled, when we do walk in the midst of snares, surrounded with traps innumerable, most cunningly laid to catch us: It is not (saith the Prophet) in man to direct his steps; so as to go streight, and upright; 'tis not in him to see his duty, to bend his inclinations to com­pliance therewith; to restrain his appetites, when sensible objects forcibly press on them; to govern his passions, when they are vehe­mently stirr'd to disorderly moti­on: we do continually need God's instruction to guide us, God's hand to uphold us, Psal. 37. 23, 24. God's care, and help to guard us: when there­fore, I say, our condition and circumstances do minister dange­rous occasions of sin; when our vain and weak tempers do incline, or betray us thereto; when the world would smile, or frown us into it; when the Devil violently [Page 55] solicits, or thrusts on toward it; thus to be destitute of God's grace, thus to be left to our selves, is the most horrible judgment, that can be. In such cases and seasons God's interposal is necessary either to remove those temptations, or to support, and defend us from the prevalence of them, [...],Jud. 24. keeping us from stumbling and falling (as S. Jude speaks) not suffering us (as S. Paul expresseth it) to be tempted above what we are able, 1 Cor. 10. 23. but making with the temptation also a way to escape, so that we shall be able to sustain it.

That God would please to do this for us, we do here pray; and in pursuance of this Petition we subjoin that, which in part may pass for an illustration there­of; (implying an antithesis ser­ving to that purpose: for delive­ring from evil importeth the same with [...], being rescued from temptation, in S. Pe­ter; [Page 56] The Lord, 2 Pet. 2. 9. saith he, knoweth how to rescue the godly out of temp­tation, and [...],Apoc. 3. 10. to preserve from the time of temptation, in the Reve­lation; which are opposed to bringing into temptation) partly it may be supposed an improve­ment thereof; delivering from e­vil signifying perhaps somewhat more, than not permitting us to incur occasions strongly inviting us to evil; even the effectual kee­ping us from being overborn, or complying with it; but let us consider that Petition it self.

But deliver us from e­vil.

From evil, [...]; S. Chrysostome takes it for the Devil; who is the [...], the Evil one, the tempter; who se­duceth us to evil: but we shall [Page 57] take it, according to the more common acception: from evil, that is principally from sin, or evil moral and spiritual; the one­ly evil, simply and in its own na­ture such; and the root of all other evil; from that, and conse­quently from all mischief (evil natural, and temporal; or evil penal, and afflictive) which may grow upon, or sprout from thence. As for such evils as these, the want of things necessary, or con­venient for us, bodily disease, and pain, disappointment in our de­signs and ill success in our under­takings, disgrace and reproach upon our good names, dangers, difficulties and distresses concer­ning our outward estate, distrac­tions, vexations, and troubles of mind about temporal matters, with the like evils, (in some sense, in some degree evils, or appearing such to our natural sense and fan­cy) we may indeed deprecate them [Page 58] (as even our Lord himself did) with submission (as he did) to the wisedom and will of God, in case it pleaseth him, and he thinketh fit to remove them; but all these things, being but names and emp­ty sounds in comparison to spiri­tual and eternal evils (such as are vicious distempers of mind, indis­positions to serve God, ill progress in our spiritual affairs, dissatisfac­tion concerning our state in re­spect to God; actual transgression of God's holy will and law; in­curring God's displeasure and dis­favour; being deprived of his grace and assistence; wanting the communion and comfort of his Holy spirit; remorse of consci­ence, and anguish of spirit for ha­ving violated or neglected our du­ty; blindness of mind, hardness of heart; want of love, reverence, devotion toward God, of charity and good-will toward our neigh­bour; of sobriety, humility, re­gularity [Page 59] of passion, and calmness of temper in respect to our selves and the inward frame of our souls; these, I say, and such like evils) we should absolutely request of God, that he in mercy would deliver and free us from them; they being irreconcileably repug­nant to his will and glory; and inconsistent with our eternal wel­fare. Yet even these, and all o­ther things we do request onely in general terms, leaving the di­stinct matter, and manner and measure, according to which they should be dispensed, to the wise­dom, and goodness of God;Matt. 6. 8. who doth (as our Lord telleth us) know what things we need before we ask him; Eph. 3. 20. and is not onely able (as S. Paul says, but willing also) to do for us superabundantly above what we can ask, or think. We are hereby (it seems) taught this point of good manners in our de­votion, not to be tediously punc­tual [Page 60] and particular in our prayers, as if God needed our informati­on, or were apt to neglect the particulars concerning our good.

We shut up all with a Doxolo­gy, most sutable to the nature of devotion, signifying our due faith, our affection, and our reverence toward God:

For thine is the king­dom, the power, and the glory, for ever, and ever. Amen.

That is, For thou hast a per­petual and unmoveable authority whereby justly to dispose of all things; thou hast an indefectible, and irresistible power, whereby thou canst effect whatever seems just and good to thee; wherefore we profess onely to rely upon, [Page 61] and seek help from thee; with hope and confidence we address our selves to thee for the supply of our needs; thine is the glory; all honour and reverence, all love and thankfulness are due unto thee, therefore we render our adorations and acknowledgments to thee. Even so to thee, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost be for ever ascribed all glory and praise. Amen.


ALthough this Systeme of Pre­cepts may seem to have been in its design rather political, than moral; to regard publick, and external, rather than private, and interiour action; that great branch of morality, which re­specteth our selves in our private retirements, or in our particular conversation, Sobriety of mind and manners, being scarce tou­ched herein, at least not openly and plainly expressed; as also devotion toward God (in any of [Page 64] its kinds, of praise, thanksgiving, confession of sin, prayer and in­tercession) that great part of na­tural Religion, being not expli­citly, and positively injoined: Although also (as by the intro­duction thereto, and some passa­ges therein, especially as it is de­livered in Deuteronomy, may ap­pear) it seemeth particularly to concern the Jewish Nation; [...], &c. a People called, and chosen by God out of all Nations,Just. M. Dial. cum Tryph. p. [...]28. to be gover­ned in a more special, and im­mediate manner by God himself, obliged to him by peculiar bene­fits and favours, designed by him to a separate manner of living; being also perhaps in temper and disposition as well as in condition and circumstances of life different from other People; whence Laws convenient, (or in a manner ne­cessary) for them, might not so well sute to all others; upon which accompts as other of their Laws, [Page 65] so perchance some passages in this notable part of them may not un­reasonably be deemed peculiarly to concern them; Although how­ever this Systeme doth more di­rectly and immediately oblige that People, all being formally, and in style of Law directed onely to them, promulged in their ears, expressed in their language, inser­ted into the body of their Laws as a principal member of them; it being also expresly called a Co­venant with that People (He de­clared unto you, Deut. 4. 13. 10. 2. says the text,Exod. 34. 1, 28. his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten command­ments) and accordingly was re­posed in the Ark, hence it seems named the Ark of the Cove­nant, the which, when all Nati­ons should be converted to God, and admitted into the Church, was (as the Prophet Jeremy fore­told) to be utterly discarded and laid aside.Jer. 3. 16, 17. (In those days, saith God [Page 66] in him, they shall say no more the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord; neither shall it come to mind, nei­ther shall they remember it, nei­ther shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.) Hence although some passages herein, according to their pri­mary, strict, and literal meaning might never have been intended universally and perpetually to o­blige;

Yet notwithstanding these ex­ceptions, if we consider,

1. The manner of its delivery; with what extraordinary solemni­ty it was proclaimed; how it was dictated immediately from God's own mouth; and written with his finger; on

2. The matter of it, containing the prime dictates of natural rea­son, the chief rules of piety to­ward God, and equity toward [Page 67] our neighbour (whence those elo­gies conferr'd on it,Neh. 9. 13. in Nehemiah: Thou camest also down upon mount Sinai, and gavest them right judg­ments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments; and by Saint Paul: Rom. 7. 12. The law is holy; the com­mandment holy, just and good; (for that commendation doth I suppose especially respect this part of the Jewish Law; out of which he takes his instance,Rom. 7. 7. Thou shalt not covet) if we also consider,

3. The end and design of these Precepts, which was to ground them in true notions of Religion, and to dispose them to the prac­tice of righteousness; to render them loyal and acceptable subjects to God; to promote God's glory, and their own good;Deut. 10. 12. which be­ing expressed in general concer­ning their Law, doth more espe­cially agree to this Systeme; being as the base and platform, [Page 68] the heart and quintessence of all their other Laws; the which seem added as superstructures on it, or fences thereof:

4. If we also consider, that our Saviour did not derogate from this Law, but declared his inten­tion onely to expound it, or to ampliate, and extend it (they are the words of Tertullian and Ire­naeus) and how the Apostles do sometimes allege some passages in it,Rom. 7. 7. as retaining some authority, and force to oblige.Eph. 6. 2.

5. Considering also farther, that there is no commandment herein (howsoever, according to its immediate and direct sense seeming peculiar to that People) which may not in a larger, or in a mysterious and spiritual mea­ning; which at least may not according to good analogy, or parity of reason concern us; obli­ging [Page 69] us, if not by direct authori­ty in punctual manner to the ve­ry same thing, yet, as a significa­tion of God's pleasure and appro­bation, to somewhat answerable and like thereto;

6. Lastly, If we consider that all, or the greatest part of, the main duties concerning us are ei­ther plainly expressed, or closely insinuated in them; or may at least be conveniently reduced to them; our Saviour himself ha­ving gone before, directing us in the matter and manner of doing it;

Considering, I say, these things, we have no small reason to yield great veneration to this ancient Systeme of Precepts; and to ac­knowledge the great use thereof in order to the guidance of our life, and practice: we according­ly shall so descant thereon, as by considering the main drift, intrin­sick [Page 70] reason, and spiritual inten­tion of each particular, to reduce the chief Precepts of Christian Doctrine, which oblige us, there­to.

Premising thus much I address my discourse to the particulars; omitting all controverted niceties concerning the division thereof; and all circumstantial questions; touching onely such things, as shall appear substantial, and use­full.

God spake all these words, saying:

This is a title, or superscripti­on like the Par de le Roy, (by the King) at the head of a Proclama­tion declaring from whom, and in what manner, that which fol­lows doth come; and therefore implying what it is, and how it should be received.

[Page 71] God spake; It comes from God as Authour; and that most immediately, as it were from his own mouth; and hath conse­quently the nature and force of a Law, obliging to highest re­gard and obedience; as that which proceedeth from the most sovereign, unquestionable, and un­controllable authority; which is promulged in a way most evi­dent, and most direct: every sig­nification of God's purpose, or pleasure is usually called God's Word;Heb. 1. 1. for God (as the Apostle says) in divers kinds, and man­ners did speak unto the Fathers; and to every such Word our ear should be attentive, our heart should be submissive, our hand should be obedient; but especi­ally they should be so, when God himself immediately declares his mind and will; as he did notori­ously in this case, by a great voice, [Page 72] distinctly audible and intelligible, miraculously formed by himself: Behold, Deut. 5. 24. say the People, the Lord our God hath shewed us his glory, and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire; we have seen this day, that God doth talk with man, and he liveth: and if whatever is in God's name (by message of An­gels, by inspiration of men, or by any other ways) revealed must be entertained with all submiss re­spect, what regard is due to that Word, which God is pleased, not by his Ministers and instruments, but himself in person, as it were, to pronounce?

These words: that is these speeches, or sentences; (for so a Word in Scripture style signifieth) or these things, and matters (for the Hebrew word debarim, as the Greek [...], signifieth both words and things: they are se­veral [Page 73] times in the Pentateuch cal­led the ten words, Exod. 34. 28. or ten things; whence the Systeme of them is named the Decalogue. Deut. 4. 13. 10. 2.

All these words:

all, without distinction or exception, did pro­ceed from the same authority, and in the same manner;Jam. 2. 10, 11. and all therefore do require the like re­gard,Matt. 5. 19. and observance to be yiel­ded to them:

I am the Lord; or, I am Jehovah, thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt:

These words are by some taken for a Precept; injoining the ac­knowledgment, and acceptance of God, answerable to what is here implyed; and consequently all the positive duties of Religion, deducible hence; but we see the [Page 74] style is declarative, and assertive, not directly imperative; and so it may pass rather as a Preface farther enforcing obligation to obedience; wherein are expressed, or intimated the chief reasons, upon which it is grounded; eve­ry word containing in it some­what of remarkable emphasis:

I am Jehovah; or that very same God, who under this appel­lation discovered my self to thy forefathers; who enacted a special Covenant with them; who re­ceived homage, worship, and en­gagements to service from them; who promised especial protection and favour to them, and to their seed; that Jehovah, who indeed am, what this name importeth, the onely true and real God; eternal, independent, and inde­fectible in essence; true and in­fallible in word; constant and immutable in purpose; firm and faithfull in performance of what­ever [Page 75] I promise, or threaten: that same Jehovah I am; to whose words therefore, upon all ac­compts of reason, of duty, of in­terest thou particularly dost owe most submissive attention, and o­bedience.

Thy God: that supereminent being, and power, to whom thou peculiarly dost owe worship and honour, love and affection, du­ty, and service: who although he be indeed the Lord of all the World, yet beareth a special rela­tion unto thee; Deut. 7. 6. 4. [...] as having chosen, and avouched thee to be a special People to himself, above all the People, that are upon the face of the earth; having promised thee to make thee high above all Na­tions, which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and having by many signal demon­strations of favour and mercy con­firmed to thee the performance of his covenant, and promise; thou [Page 76] also reciprocally having avowed me to be thy God, Deut. 26. 16. to walk in my ways, to keep my statutes, my com­mandments, my judgments, and to hearken to my voice.

Who brought thee out of the land of Egypt; out of the house of bondage:

This is a particular, and most remarkable instance, by which it appeareth what God it is, that doth thus impose law upon them; and how they are obliged to en­tertain it: that God it is, who in pursuance of his singular fa­vour toward thee, and of his Co­venant made with thee, hath par­ticularly obliged thee by so emi­nent a benefit, in a manner so full of wonder in it self, so full of grace toward thee, delivering [Page 77] thee from saddest oppression and slavery, bringing thee into a de­sirable state of present liberty, and of sure tendency (not other­wise than by thy fault to be fru­strated) toward enjoyment of rest, of plenty, of all joy and comfort in the promised Land; declaring hereby, as his glorious and divine perfections of wisedom, and pow­er, so his exceeding goodness to­ward thee, his faithfull care over thee, his readiness and sufficiency in all thy needs and exigencies to protect, preserve, and deliver thee:

I then being such, Jehovah, the onely true God; thy God, by particular engagement, and en­dearment; thy gracious and boun­tifull benefactour not in will one­ly, but in deed; do thus propound my will unto thee; and upon all accompts of general and special duty; of reason, of justice, of gratitude require thy regard, [Page 78] 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 accompts be applied unto us: The Lord Jehovah is such no less to us than to them:Heb. 13. 8. He is the same yesterday, to day, and for ever; to him, as to the onely, true, eternal, and Almighty God, the essential Authour, Lord, and Governour 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, Heb. 8. 6. 7. 22. as the Apostle calls it, established upon better promises) having obliged us by [Page 79] 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 hath conducted us in the way, and conferr'd on us an assured hope (if we be not wanting to our selves, and our duty) of entring into the heavenly Canaan, a place of perfect rest, and unconceivable bliss: who (as S. Paul expresseth it) hath delivered us from the power of darkness, Colos. 1. 13. 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 [Page 80] strain to us; justly exacting a more punctual and accurate obe­dience to his commandments. But so much for that part, which seems introductory.

I. Com­mandment.

‘Thou shalt have no o­ther God's before me.’

'Tis in the Hebrew; Matt. 4. there shall be to thee no other Gods (or no strange Gods; for alii some render it, some alieni) [...] (al-panai) 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 otherwhere) and there is no God [...] (im­madhi) with me; Deut. 3 [...]. 39. or beside me; [...], the LXX render it; and so the phrase commonly im­porteth; as in that saying of the Scribe,Mark 12. 32. answering to this: There [Page 81] is one God, [...], and there is no other God beside him: but we need not cri­ticize 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 implyeth 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 [Page 82] 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 sitting 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 comprized in the words, having him for our God; and we are to understand them here in­joined to us; the same, which is in Scripture called the fearing, Matt. 2 [...]. 37. the serving, Luk. 10. 27. the worshipping, Deut. 6. 5. the loving God with all our heart, and all our soul, and all our mind, and all our might.

This is implied; and it is ex­presly prohibited us to yield to any other, beside him, the like esteem, acknowledgment, or ser­vice: [Page 83] 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 meerly formed by our imagina­tion, is highly unreasonable, un­beseeming us, and unjust toward him.

1. It is highly unreasonable, as false and groundless in it self; as vain and unprofitable to us; as productive of many bad effects. It is from errour in a matter of the highest nature, and mainest [Page 84] consequence; and so beyond any other mistake hurtfull to us, as reasonable and intelligent crea­tures; the [...];Rom. 1. 25. the trans­muting the truth of God into a lye, S. Paul calls it; reckoning it for a grievous folly, and crime. It is a vanity of all most lamentable; a pursuance of shadows,Jer. 2. [...]3. an em­bracing of clouds; a building in air, or meer vacuity; a leaning upon that, which hath no sub­stance, or no strength to support us;Jer. 8. 19. &c. a dreaming and doting upon meer nothing;Act. 14. 15. &c. whence those false Deities well in Scripture are ter­med [...], vanities, for that as they have no truth, or substance, or efficacy considerable in them, so all our thoughts, affections, ex­pectations, and labours are idly misemployed, and unprofitably mispent upon them.

[Page 85] 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 Authour of our being, and of all our good recei­ved since, we do ow all that our mind can yield of reverence, all [Page 86] that our heart can hold of affec­tion, all that our tongue can ut­ter of praise, all that our utmost might can perform of service; and since the exhibiting to any other thing part of these must needs not onely by that commu­nication debase, and derogate from their worth, but also withdraw them in great measure from him, so diminishing and embezilling his due (for we cannot, [...]. Orig. l. 8. p. 382. 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.

This command therefore is most reasonable upon many ac­compts; 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 all [Page 87] Atheists and Polytheists) from which transgressions thereof we Christians may seem totally ex­empt, [...]. Clem. Alex. Strom. V. p. 426. who in formal profession and practice have but one God (the Maker and Lord of all things, infinitely perfect,Id. de Numa. p. 223. and glorious) yet there are many subtle,Strom. I. and perchance no less mischievous transgressions thereof,Vid. Aug. de C. D. 4. 31. of which even we may be very guilty, and to which we are very obnoxious. If we do not with all our hearts reverence, and love the most wise and powerfull, the most just and holy, the most good and gracious God; if we do not trust and hope in him as the fountain of all our good; if we 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 S. Paul speaketh,Tit. 1. 16. who profess to know God [Page 88] (that is, who in words and out­ward pretence acknowledge him) but in works deny him, being abo­minable, and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate. Like­wise if we frame in our fancy an Idea untrue, disagreeable unto, or unworthy of that one most ex­cellent Being, and to such a phan­tasm of our own creation do yield our highest respects, and best af­fections, we break this Law, and have another God to our selves. If upon any creature (whether our selves, or any other thing) we impart our chief esteem, or affection; or employ our most earnest care and endeavour; or chiefly rely upon it, or most de­light in it, that thing we make a God unto us, and are guilty of breaking this Law;Eph. 5. 5. hence Saint Paul more than once calls the co­vetous (or wrongfull) person an Idolater; Coloss. 3. 5. and our Lord calls the [...]mmoderate pursuit of riches, the [Page 89] serving (or worshipping) of Mam­mon; 2 Tim. 3. 4. and Saint Paul speaketh of some persons, who were [...], lovers of plea­sures, rather than lovers of God; of whom otherwhere he says,Phil. 3. 19. that their God was their belly: we meet with those in the Scripture, who put their trusts in their hor­ses, Psal. 20. 7. and their chariots; with those, who sacrifice to their net, Hab. 1. 16. and burn incense to their drag; with them who trust in man, Jer. 17. 5. and make flesh their arm (men of Mezentius his faith;Virgil Aen. 10. ready to say with him, Dextra mihi Deus est, & telum quod missile libro) with those, whose heart is lifted up (as the Prince of Tyre in Ezekiel) and who say they are Gods; Ezek. 28. 2. these,Isa. 10. 13. and whoever practise in like man­ner, are so many transgressours of this Covenant: In short, who­ever chiefly regards and affects, seeks and pursues, confides and delights in wealth, or honour, or [Page 90] pleasure; wit, wisedom, strength, or beauty; himself, friends, or any other creature, he hath ano­ther God, against the design, and meaning of this Holy Law.

II. Com­mandment.

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

The first Commandment de­termined the final object of our Religion; this doth limit the man­ner of exercising and expressing it; as to the chief intent of it, interdicting that mode, which in the practice of ancient times had so generally prevailed, of repre­senting the Deities (apprehended so) in some corporeal shape, and thereto yielding such expressions of respect, as they conceived su­table and acceptable to such Dei­ties. I cannot stand to declare [Page 91] the rise, and progress of such a practice; how the Devil's malice, and some mens fraud conspiring with other mens superstitious ig­norance and fondness, prevailed so far to impose upon mankind; I shall onely observe, that men naturally are very prone to com­ply with suggestions to such gui­ses of Religion: for as the sense of want, and pain, and manifold inconvenience, not to be removed or remedied by any present sen­sible means, doth prompt men to wish, and seek for help from o­therwhere; and this disposes them to entertain any hopes propoun­ded to them (with how little so­ever ground of probability) of re­ceiving it from any absent, or in­visible power; as it also conse­quently engageth them to under­take any conditions required by those, who propound such hopes, as needfull for obtaining thereof; whence the ordinary sort of men [Page 92] are very apt to embrace any way of Religion suggested to them, especially by persons of credit, and authority for knowledge; so also, when the proposition thereof doth come attended with circumstantial appearances, and shews gratifying their senses, or humouring their passions, or de­lightfully amusing their fancies, it most easily allures, and takes them; as likewise on the other side, when abstraction of mind, and restraint of passion are requi­red, and sense or fancy are little entertained thereby, men are somewhat averse from such pro­posals of Religion, and are not so easily brought heartily to like, or earnestly to embrace them; wherefore since the propounding of images and sensible represen­tations (relating to somewhat not immediately discerned, from whence men are promised the supply of their needs, or relief [Page 93] from the inconveniencies, which they endure) by their magnifi­cency, beauty, curiosity, strange­ness, or even by their sensibility it self, do make so facile, and pleasant impressions upon the dull and low conceits of men, [...]. Ma [...]. Tyr. diss. 38. Where he de­fendeth Idola­try. it is the less wonderfull, that men com­monly have been so easily invea­gled into such idolatrous supersti­tions; so unreasonable in them­selves, and of so mischievous con­sequence. For what can be more senseless, than to imagine, that that Being, which in wisedom and power is sufficient to over­rule nature, and thereby to af­ford us the assistance we need may be resembled by any of these corporeal things, the best of which we cannot, without debasing our selves, esteem superiour to our selves? how unreasonable is it to conceit thus, how unworthy is it, and unsutable to the dignity of our nature, derived from hea­ven, [Page 94] to crouch unto such mean representations? it is S. Paul's discourse:Act. 17. 29. Being (saith he) the off-spring of God, we ought not to think, that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone gra­ven by art, and man's device. How injurious also to that most excellent nature must it be to frame, and expose to view such not onely homely and mean, but in respect of the divine nature, most foul and ugly portaictures of him, which cannot but tend to vilifie him in men's conceit? [...]. Clem. Strom. V. p. 408. The being ordi­narily exposed to view doth (saith Clem. Alex.) exte­nuate the ve­nerability of God; and to worship the in­telligible nature by matter doth vilifie it through the sense. He that should form the image of a serpent, or a toad, and ex­hibit it as the similitude of a King, would surely derogate much from his Majesty, and beget very mean and unbeseeming conceits of his person in their minds, whom he should perswade to take it for such; and infinitely more must he detract from the dignity, and diminish the reverence due to that [Page 95] immense, almighty, alwise, most pure and perfect being, who shall presume to present any sensible, any finite, any corruptible thing as a resemblance of him;Rom. 1. 23. chan­ging (as S. Paul expresseth it) the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things; as the Israelites are said to have chan­ged their glory (that is,Psal. 106. 20. their glo­rious God) into the similitude of an ox, that eateth grass: No wonder it was, that they, who used such expressions of their Re­ligion, had so low opinions con­cerning those supposed Deities whom they worshipped; that they supposed them liable to such passions, fathered such actions up­on them, described them as vile in their dispositions and their do­ings, as they represented them in their shape: Most reasonable therefore is this prohibition of [Page 96] making any resemblance of what kind soever (by picture, sculpture, or fusion) in order to religious adoration; and yielding to them any such signification of respect, which the custom or consent of men hath appropriated to Religi­on; as bowing, falling down, ly­ing prostrate before them, or the like: most reasonable I say, for since there is but one proper, and allowable object of our worship, as the first Commandment de­clares and enacts, the making an image of any other existent in na­ture, or devised by our own fan­cy in order to the worship there­of, is but a pursuance of that un­reasonable, unhandsome, and un­just superstition there forbidden; adding some absurdity in the man­ner to the pravity in the substance of such worship.

And as for that one true object of our devotion, the eternal, im­mense, and all perfect God; the [Page 97] glorious excellency of whose na­ture doth infinitely transcend our comprehension, and consequently of whom we cannot devise any resemblance not infinitely beneath him, unlike to him, unworthy of him (whereby we shall not dis­parage him, and expose him to irreverent apprehensions, especial­ly with the gross Vulgar; where­by indeed we shall not cloud his true inimitable perfections, and affix imperfections to him; blen­ding inexpressible truth with ap­parent falshood) it must be there­fore a profane folly to pretend the representing him by any i­mage; and the doing of it is up­on such accompts in many places of Scripture forbidden; and that it is so here, according to the in­tent of this Precept is plain by that place in Deuteronomy, where Moses reports the ground of this prohibition:Deut. 4. 15. Take ye therefore (saith he) good heed unto your [Page 98] selves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day, that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb, out of the midst of the fire, lest you corrupt, and make you a gra­ven image: No shape representing God did appear at his utterance of these Laws, to prevent their framing any resemblance of God, and taking occasion to practise this sort of worship; thereby im­plyed to be unreasonable. And the Prophet Esay having in su­blime language and discourse set out the incomparable greatness, power, and majesty of God (who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with a span, and compre­hended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the moun­tains in scales, and the hills in a ballance; before whom the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of a ba­lance —yea before whom all nationsEsa. 40. 18.—25.[Page 99] are as nothing, and are counted to him less than nothing and vanity: who sitteth upon the circle of the earth; and the inhabitants thereof are as grashoppers; who stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in) having, I say, in this, and more such language endea­voured to describe the might, and majesty of God, he infers: To whom then will ye liken God; or what likeness will ye compare unto him? and thereupon he proceeds to discourse against making ima­ges for religious use. Like where­to is the discourse of S. Paul to the Athenians: God (saith he) who made the world, and all things that are therein, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; nor is worshipped by the hands of men, —we therefore being the off-spring of God, Act. 17. 24.—29. ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, [Page 100] or stone, the engravement of art, and man's device; in which place, as the forming any image to re­present divine things is manifest­ly prohibited; so the reasons which we touched against such practice, are discernibly enough insinuated.

Neither should we omit, that this Law is confirmed in the New Testament, and there made a part of God's new Law: for we are therein often commanded to flee idols, 1 Joh. 5. 21. not to be idolaters, 1 Cor. 10. 7, 14. to shun idolatry as a most heinous crime,1 Cor. 5. 10, 11. 6. 9. of the highest rank,Gal. 5. 20. proceeding from fleshly pravity, inconsistent with good conscience, and expo­sing to damnation:Apoc. 9. 20. 21. 8. 22. 15. for the mea­ning and notion of Idolatry in which places, why should we un­derstand it otherwise, than ac­cording to the plain sense of the word, which is the worship of images, or resemblances? why should we take it otherwise, than as opposite to God's Law, then in [Page 101] force? why shold we otherwise expound it, than according to the common notion and acceptance of God's People at that time? The word Idolatry was unknown to other people than the Jews; among the Jews it signified the violation of the second Command­ment; wherefore the observance of that Commandment is establi­shed and enforced by the Apostles. The Jews detested the worship­ping any images; their detestati­on was grounded on this Law; they therefore, who earnestly ex­hort them to continue in detesta­tion thereof, do confirm, and en­force the obligation of this Law; nor can we reasonably suppose any distinction, or reservation for any Idolatry (or any worshipping of images) as lawfull, or allow­able to Christians; since the A­postles as they found it univer­sally prohibited to the Jews, so they continued to charge Chri­stians [Page 102] against it. This discourse hath more force, considering that the same reason, upon which this Law was enacted, doth still ap­parently continue; men still un­measurably affecting this fancifull way of Religion, being apt in the exercise thereof (if not curb'd by a Law) to dote upon sensible representations; being averse from raising up their minds to the one­ly true object of worship, as en­dued with intelligible, and spiri­tual perfections: this the experi­ence of mens wild eagerness for images, reliques, and other such foolish trinkets, which had almost quite oppressed our Religion (as in many ages the best and wisest men did observe and complain) doth plainly evince.

We may add, that if the com­mon tradition and consent of the ancient Church is in any case a ground of perswasion, or rule of practice to us, we are thence obli­ged [Page 103] to disapprove, and decline the worshipping images; for no­thing can be more evident than that all such worship was not onely carefully eschewed, but zea­lously detested by the primitive Christians: This is manifest from most express words of the Fathers generally impugning and condem­ning all worship of images; which are as applicable to that worship, which hath been practised among Christians, as to that of the Hea­thens; their expressions do not signifie, nor their arguments prove any thing, if any worship of i­mages be allowable, if they do not as well condemn and confute the modern, as the ancient Ro­mans; They could not with any reason, or modesty have used such words, or urged such reasons, if their practice had been like that, which afterward crept into the Church; their darts then against Pagan Idolatry easily might, surely [Page 104] would have been, retorted on themselves; which is so far from having been done, that the Pa­gans accused them for ha­ving no ImagesCur nullas aras habent, templa nulla, nulla noia si­mulacra? Minut. (Cel­sus objecteth, Consuestis crimen nobis maximum impietatis aff [...]ge­re, quòd neque aedes sacras venerationis ad officia con­struomus, non Deorum alicu­jus simulacrum constituamus, aut formam, &c. Arnob. 6. [...]. 8. p. 389. saith Ori­gen, that we shun ma­king altars, statues, and shrines, thinking this to be a faithfull pledge (or mark) of our secret com­munion together: this Origen answers by con­fessing the matter of fact; [...]. Philo de Gig. but defending the right; not for your reason, saith he, we shun these things, but [...], &c. because we, by the doctrine of Jesus, having found the true manner of piety toward God, do e­schew those things, Vid. Tertul. de Idol. 3. 4. which in conceit or appearance of piety do make men im­pious —andp. 389. the images of Christians are p. 39 [...]. (saith [Page 105] he) their vertues, whereby they resemble God; and truly worship him; and every good Christian, carefully imitating God, is his best statue.

Yea the Fathers were so far from practising worship of Ima­ges that some of them condemn the simple making of them; cal­ling the art of doing it a fallaci­ous art, introduced by the Devil and forbidden by God; expoun­ding this Commandment so, as that in it not onely the worship­ping, but the forming any si­militude is forbidden: [...], &c. (Moses, saith Clem▪ A­lex. did of old expresly give law, that no car­ved, or fusile, or plai­stered, Clem. Strom. V. p. 408. or painted por­traicture, or imagery should be made; [...]. p. 411. that we should not attend to sen­sible things, but pass to things intelligible: and [Page 106] Tertul. de Spectac. cap. 23. de Idol. 3, 4, 5, &c. Tertullian in several places saith the same. Whether their exposi­tion (concurring it seems with the common opinion of the Jews in their time) were true,Contra Marc. 2. 22. I shall not now discuss;Vid. Iren. 4. 31, 32. that making any similitudes in order to wor­ship is prohibited,Tertul. de Id. per tot. is most evi­dent.Aug. contra Faust. 15. 4, 7. & 19. 18. Contra 2 Epist. Pet. 3. 4.

In fine, divers of the Fathers say, that all the commands in the Decalogue, excepting the Sab­bath, do continue in Force, as naturally obligatory, and as con­firmed by the Christian Law: for instance S. Augustin in his 119 Epistle speaketh thus: The other precepts (excepting the Sabbath) there (in the Decalogue) we do observe properly as they are com­manded without any figurate obser­vation; for we have manifestly learnt, not to worship idols, and not to take the name of the Lord our God in vain, to honour father and mother, &c. do not figurately [Page 107] pretend one thing and mystically signifie another thing, but are so observed as they sound.

But so much for the prohibiti­on: I shall add, that we may conceive this positive Precept im­plied, and intended here, that in our devotions and religious servi­ces of God we should raise our mind above gross sense and fan­cy; that we should entertain high and worthy conceptions of God; that we should apprehend him in­comparably superiour to all things, which we do see or know; that we direct our minds unto him as to a being transcendently perfect in goodness, justice, wisedom and power, above what we can com­prehend and think; that which our Saviour calls worshipping God in spirit and truth; Joh. 4. 23, 24. which is (as I take it) the special positive duty of this Commandment.

I need not farther to urge, how presumptuous and dangerous the [Page 108] practices of those men are, who (to the great danger, and scandal of Christianity among Jews, and Mahometans, and men of other Religions) notwithstanding these commandments of God, backed with others, of the same import, frequently occurring in the Holy Scripture, (never that we find any intimation of, repealed or re­laxed) particularly against that signal one made use or by our Sa­viour, Thou shalt worship the Lord, thy God, and him onely shalt thou serve; without any ancient good authority, or example, without any necessity or good reason in­ducing, do not onely yield them­selves, but violently force others to yield unto angels, and unto the souls of dead men (men of dubious state in reference to God, not having past the last trial and judgment, the result whereof 'tis a profane temerity in us peremp­torily to anticipate) all kinds of [Page 109] worship, both internal (reposing trust and hope in them of obtai­ning benefits from them; attribu­ting unto them in their esteem the knowledge and power, which for all that we can know are in­communicably proper unto God himself) and external, of prayer and invocation, of praise and thanksgiving; and not onely thus as to the substance imparting a kind of divine worship to them, but as to the manner, erecting images of them, even in the pla­ces devoted to God's own service, and affording to them the same expressions of reverence and re­spect, that we do or can present unto God himself (with great so­lemnity dedicating such Images to them, with huge care and cost dec­king them, with great semblance of devotion saluting them; and casting themselves down before them; carrying them in procession, exposing them to the people, and [Page 110] making long pilgrimages to them;) so that instead of the spiritual wor­ship of God himself, peculiarly re­quired of Christians, and to which our Religion is perfectly suted, a Religion chiefly employing sense, and fancy, and for the greatest part directed unto the representa­tions of creatures is substituted, in despight, as it were, and in de­fiance of these Commandments: the plain force of which they en­deavour to elude and evade by slender pretences, and subtle di­stinctions, by the like to which there is no Law, which may not as easily be rendred insignificant, and invalid; never in the mean time considering, that these laws were not given to employ the wits of Sophisters and Schoolmen; but to direct the practice of rude and plain people; to which pur­pose no law, after such artists have had the handling of it, can signifie any thing: nothing being [Page 111] so clear which by their cavillati­ons and quirks they cannot con­found; nothing so smooth where­in they cannot find or make knots.

There is subjoined to these two Commandments (as we reckon them; othersS. Austin, Bede, &c. have accounted them but one; and their opinion is somewhat countenanced, by what is added here seeming to bear a common respect to both, there is I say subjoined) a reason, or rather a contexture of reasons strongly pressing and encouraging to obedience, deterring and dis­couraging from disobedience to them; or indeed generally to all God's Commandments, but espe­cially unto these, most immedi­ately relating to Him:

[Page 112] For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.

(am El kanah,Exod. 34. 14. fortis ze­lotes, as the Vulg. Latine reads it: it may seem to have been a name of God, implying, as all the other names of God do, some attribute of God; for it is in the 34th. of Exodus, said: Thou shalt worship no o­ther God, for the Lord, whose Name is Jealous, or Kana, is a jealous God;)

I am a jealous God, that is, a God very tender of my honour, and of my right; who am impa­tient of any mate, or competitour [Page 113] in respect to those duties, which properly and incommunicably be­long unto me;Isa. 42. 8. I am (saith God in the Prophet Esay) the Lord, that is my name, and my glory I will not give to another, nor my praise to graven images: this Jealousie doth contain in it not onely a strong dislike, but a fierce displeasure, against the infringers of these Laws:Deut. 4. 24▪ For the Lord thy God (saith Moses in Deuteronomy, pressing the observance of this same Precept, concerning the worship of images) is a consuming fire, he is a jealous God: And if God be thus jealous, so easily pro­voked to indignation by our de­tracting his due honour, and im­parting it to any other, we have great reason to be afraid of incur­ring the guilt of either;Psal. 76. 7. for who can stand in his sight, when he is angry? who can support the ef­fects of his displeasure?

[Page 114] Uisiting the iniquity of the Fathers upon the Children, unto the third and fourth ge­neration of them that hate me.

Visiting the iniquities of fa­thers upon the children; God doth not onely punish those per­sons themselves, who commit no­torious and heinous sins (such as these of idolatry and profaneness, whereby he is publickly wrong'd and dishonoured) but the more to deter men (who naturally bear much regard to their posterity, and are afraid to be, ashamed to appear the causes of ruine and ca­lamity to their family) he decla­reth that in respect to their do­ings it shall go ill with their po­sterity; they shall therefore be [Page 115] more strictly and severely dealt with; they shall upon this score be capable of less favour and mer­cy from God, than otherwise they might have been: for we must not hereby understand, that God will arbitrarily inflict undeserved pains upon the children of bad men for the faults of their ance­stours (God doth expresly disclaim such kind of proceeding;Ezek. 18. 20. The Son shall not bear the iniquity of the Father; the soul that sinneth it shall die; saith he in the Pro­phet:Deut. 24. 16. and, Every one shall die for his own iniquity; Jer. 31. 30. every man that eateth the sowre grape, his teeth shall be set on edge) but that he will upon that accompt withdraw his free favours from them [...] that measure of grace and indulgence, which otherwise the son of such a person (had he not been a great Traitour against God) might according to the general course of God's goodness have re­ceived, [Page 116] the which might have more effectually restrained him from sin, and consequently have prevented his guilt and his pu­nishment, God may well (in con­sistence with his justice and good­ness, to manifest his detestation of heinous wickedness) withhold from him. Such a son, if he do fall into personal offences (for that also is to be understood; other­wise such is the goodness of God, that he hath declared,Ezek. 18. 14, 17. if a son seeing his fathers sins, and consi­dering doth not the like, he shall not die for the iniquity of his fa­ther, but shall surely live; if I say he falleth into personal sins) God will visit; that is, will use a close inspection and animadver­sion upon him, will severely pu­nish and avenge his sin; not one­ly upon his own, but on his fa­ther's accompt; examples of which proceeding do in the divine histo­ries frequently occurr;1 Kings 11. 35. in Solo­mon, [Page 117] in Jeroboam, 1 Kings 11. 13. 13. 34. 14. 10. 16. 3. 21. 29. in Baasha, in Ahab, in Jehu, and in others.

Of them that hate me. 2 Kings 9. 8. 10. 30. 15. 12. We may observe that in the Scripture style the transgressours of God's Laws are termed haters,Job 27. 14. and ene­mies of God; because their acti­ons signifie a disposition of mind in them repugnant to the mind of God; and because by them they resist, and oppose God's will; no wonder then if God deal thus severely with them.

But God not onely deters from disobedience by threatning a train of punishments, but he encoura­geth to obedience by a declarati­on of his intention (or promise) graciously to reward not onely upon the obedient persons them­selves, but upon their posterity for ever (in a manner) unto thou­sands, that is unto a thousand de­scents:

[Page 118] Shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my command­ments.

Shewing mercy; Vid. Deut. 7. 9. God doth not absolutely promise, that he will forbear to punish the posterity of good men, in case they offend, but that he will shew mercy, and deal the more favourably with them in that respect:Psal. 89. 30. his mea­ning and method in these cases are plainly represented in those words concerning David: 2 Chron. 21. 7. If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments, if they break my statutes, and keep not my com­mandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes; nevertheless my loving kindness will I not utterly [Page 119] take from him—: God declares he will punish the offending chil­dren of very good men, yet so that their misdeeds shall not in­terrupt his kindness toward the rest of their posterity, or abolish his remembrance of their good­ness: so we may see God dealt with Abraham, and the Patriarchs, passing by (in memory of their love and reverence to him;Isa. 45. 4. and their faithfull obedience to his will) the manifold provocations of their posterity;Psal. 105. 42. so that he did not for a long tract of time,Deut. 4. 37. and after many generations past suffer them (according as their personal demeanour highly deserved) to incurr ruine;Levit. 26. 42. upon this conside­ration he brought them out of Egypt, Exod. 2. 34. he settled them in Canaan, he frequently delivered them from their enemies, he restored them from oppressions, and captivities; as is often expressed, and insinua­ted in Scripture. 1 King. 11. 12, 34. 15. 4. So also it is fre­quently [Page 120] mentioned,Psal. 18. 50. that for Da­vid's sake,Isa. 37. 35. his posterity, although highly provoking God by their miscarriages, was protected and preserved; I cannot stand to men­tion places: I shall onely farther note that which is very obvious, and most remarkable here; the difference between God's procee­ding in way of severity, and in way of favour; by a vast propor­tion the expressions of God's mer­cy do exceed those of justice, al­though both insisting upon like, or correspondent grounds: he vi­siteth the iniquities of disobedient fathers unto the third or fourth generation, but he sheweth mercy to a thousand generations of those that love and obey him; he soon forgetteth the wrongs done, but he long retaineth in memory the services performed to him; which consideration should work upon our ingenuity, and engage us wil­lingly to obey so gracious a Lord.

[Page 121] It is also observable, that as disobedience is styled hatred of God, so loving God and keeping his commandments are conjoined as terms equivalent: they are in­deed inseparably connected, love being a certain cause of obedi­ence, obedience an infallible sign of love:Joh. 1 [...]. 21. [...]. He that hath my com­mandments, and observeth them, he it is (saith our Saviour) that loveth me: Joh. 23, 24. and, If any man lo­veth me, he will keep my word. But I pass forward to the next,

III. Com­mandment.

‘Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.’

It consisteth we see of a Pre­cept, and of a reason deterring [Page 122] from disobedience thereto, by de­claring or threatning the mischief ensuing thereon.

The Precept is: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: it might be rendred, Thou shalt not bring the name of the Lord thy God to a vanity (or to a lye, [...]. 1 [...]. 12. for so the word [...], shaveh, frequently importeth) that is (as it seems interpreted in a parallel place, where most of these Laws are repeated, inculcated, and fenced by additional injunc­tions) Thou shalt not swear in my name to a falshood; and in the 24th.Psal. [...]. 4. Psalm, to lift up one's soul to vanity, is explained by swea­ring [...] (lemirmah) to deceit, or falshood. Jos. Ar [...]h. 3. 4. Josephus expresseth it by [...], To adjure God to no bad matter (or to no false matter, as the word [...] commonly in good Writers is taken.) And our Lord himself in his Sermon on the [Page 123] Mount seemeth to respect this Law,Matt. 5. 3 [...]. when he says; Ye have heard that it was said to the an­cients, [...], ye shall not forswear, but shall render to the Lord your oaths; For he doth im­mediately before cite other pas­sages out of the Decalogue (thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not com­mit adultery) with intention to ex­plain or extend them; and there­fore probably he proceeds respec­ting this Law, the most conspicu­ous of all those, which relate to this matter; and if this Law be (as some conceive) supposed to sig­nifie more strictly, it had been more sutable to his purpose to cite it, than any other of more lax importance; his drift being plain­ly to extend in matter; and to streighten in obligation even the fullest, and strictest of ancient Laws, at least as they were then commonly expounded, and un­derstood; yea even in this case [Page 124] our Lord seemeth to affirm that the ancients had no Law strict and perfect enough for Evangeli­cal practice: considering which things, it is probable, that the prime intent of this Law is to prohibit that great sin of Perjury, that is of invoking God's attesta­tion to a lie; thereupon appealing to him as witness, and judge, that what we assert is true; as a sure­ty, that what we promise we do stedfastly resolve and shall faith­fully endeavour to perform; im­plying also, that we do expect a curse, and vengeance from him upon us, if we be found know­ingly to falsifie in our affirmati­on, [...]. or wilfully to violate our promise.

Swearing is in its own nature immediately an act of Religion,Deut. 6. 13. 10. 20. and as such was injoined by God (Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name;) It expresseth the pious [Page 125] persuasion we have concerning God's chief attributes and prero­gatives; of his omnipresence and omniscience (extending to the knowledge of our most inward thoughts, and secret purposes) of his watchfull providence over what we do, of his justice, and fidelity in maintaining truth and right; in avenging iniquity and falshood: the reason of using it, was derived from, or grounded upon a persuasion, about God, which hath ever been common among men, that God the Go­vernour and Judge of the world, the Protectour and Patron of right, is always ready upon our invocation and reference unto him to undertake the cognizance of matters in debate and controver­sie between men, for the protec­tion of truth, the maintenance of right, and preservation of peace among them (An oath, Heb. 6. 16. saith the Apostle, for confirmation is to men [Page 126] an end of all strife) so that the use thereof becometh a main in­strument of promoting those pur­poses, the strongest tye of fideli­ty, the surest ground to proceed upon in administration of justice, the most sacred band of all society; which therefore he that shall pre­sume to violate, doth not onely most unworthily wrong this or that person, this or that society of men, but doth what in him lies to subvert the foundations of all publick justice and peace; withall most impiously abusing, and affronting God Almighty himself; profaning his most sa­cred ordinance, making his name instrumental to the compassing his deceitfull and base purposes, despising his judgment, and de­fying his vengeance.

This seems to be the first, and direct meaning of this Law; but it may by parity of reason well be extended farther, so as we [Page 127] may hereby understand all light and vain swearing, all wanton and irreverent use of God's holy name:Matt. 5. 37. and hitherto our Lord hath plainly extended it, forbid­ding us to swear at all, and char­ging us in our conversation to use onely the simple and plain manner of assertion, or promise, saying onely yea, yea, or nay, nay; without presuming upon any slight occasion to introduce the Holy Name of God; which in­deed we should not without ex­treme awe of spirit ever think upon, nor without high venera­tion dare to mention: 'tis an in­stance of the most sottish folly, 'tis an argument of most horrible impiety that can be thus (with­out any cause, or temptation thereto, without any profit or pleasure thence) to trifle with the divine Majesty; to abuse his glo­rious Name, and provoke his dreadfull vengeance; who will no [Page 128] wise hold him guiltless, that ta­keth his name in vain.

IV. Com­mandment.

‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, &c.’

The Decalogue is in several pla­ces of Scripture (as we before no­ted) called a Covenant with the Jewish People, and the observati­on of this Law is likewise so cal­led in a particular and special manner: It is expressed to have been appointed as a sign, or cha­racteristical note, whereby their peculiar relation to God might be discerned, and they distinguished from all other People. As Cir­cumcision was a seal of the Cove­nant made with Abraham and his posterity; so keeping the Sab­bath did obsignate the Covenant made with the Children of Israel after their delivery out of Egypt: The children of Israel (saith theExod. 31. 16. [Page 129] text) shall keep the Sabbath to observe the Sabbath, throughout their generations for a perpetual Covenant, it is a sign between me, and the Children of Israel for ever: Ezek. 20. 11, 12, 20. and, I gave them (saith God in Ezekiel) my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall live in them; moreover I gave them my Sabbaths to be a sign between me, and them, that they might know, that I am the Lord, who sanctifies them: and,Neh. 9. 13, 14. Thou camest down from mount Sinai (say the Levites in Nehe­miah) and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes, and commandments; and madest known unto them thy holy Sabbaths: where making known to them the Sabbaths, as also otherwhere giving them the Sab­bath are expressions (together with the special ends of the Sab­bath's appointment,Exod. 16. 29. which are [Page 130] mentioned in those pla­ces) confirming the judg­ment of the ancient Chri­stians, [...], &c. Just. p. 236. Justin M. Irenaeus, Tertullian, [...], &c. 261. &c. who re­fer the first institution of the Sabbath to Moses, Abraham sine circumci­sione, & sine observatione Sabbatorum credidit Deo, &c. Iren. IV. 30. af­firming (that which in­deed the history by its total silence concerning the Sabbath before him sufficiently doth seem to confirm) that the Patriarchs were not obli­ged thereto,Tertul. adv. Jud. 2, 4. nor did practise it.

And we may observe, that the Law concerning the Sabbath, is mentioned and insisted upon se­parately from the body of their Laws, as being in nature different from the rest, and enacted upon a special design; as from the fore­cited passages appeareth; and far­ther may appear from considering how the condition of Proselytes (those of the stricter sort, called Proselytes of Righteousness) is de­scribed [Page 131] in Esay The sons of the strangers, Isa. 56. 6. (4.) (saith God in that Pro­phet) that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my Covenant; even them will I bring to my holy moun­tain, and make them joyfull in my house of prayer: where to under­take the observance of the Sab­bath, and to lay hold of the Jew­ish Covenant are signified to be coincident, or especially cohe­rent.

All the other Precepts indeed (one passage in the Second Com­mandment as it may be under­stood to prohibit absolutely the making of any similitude, being liable to exception) are immedi­ately grounded in the reason of the thing, and have a necessary obligation even visible to natural light; they consequently have [Page 132] been acknowledged as reasonable, and obliging by the general con­sent of men; or might be so pro­pounded and asserted by argu­ment, as easily to extort such con­sent: but this Command, (although as to its general and remote matter it is most evidently reaso­nable, and requireth that, which no man can deny to be matter of necessary duty, yet) as to the more immediate matter, as to the determinate measure, and man­ner of performing those general duties, no reason can discern an obligation distinct from, or ante­cedent to the Law givers will, to practise according thereto: that we should frequently with gratefull and joyfull sense reflect upon the glorious works of God (especially that grand and funda­mental one,Psal. 143. 5. 92. 4. 107. 22. 26. 7. 145. 10. wherein God's won­derfull excellencies of goodness, wisedom, and power were so il­lustriously displayed; the creation [Page 133] of the world, wherein so great accommodations, and benefits were generally dispensed to all the creatures, and to us eminently among them; remembring with deepest respect, and most hearty thankfulness our bountifull Ma­ker;) that we should be unmind­full of the special favours by God's gracious providence vouchsafed to our country, our relations, our selves (especially such very signal ones, as was that of the delivery from Egyptian slavery in a man­ner so remarkable and miracu­lous); that we should not spend our selves, and our time in per­petually carking and labouring about affairs touching our body, and this present life, but should assign some competent time both for the relaxation of our mind, and for attendance to the con­cernments of our soul: that al­so we should allow fitting time of respite, and refreshment to [Page 134] those of our brethren, whom di­vine Providence hath disposed in­to a meaner condition, and rela­tion of servants to us; that their lives may not by incessant care, and toil be rendred over burthen­some, and grievous to them; but so that they may with some com­fort serve us; that also they be not destituted of leasure and op­portunity to serve God, our com­mon Master; and to regard the welfare of their souls, no less pre­cious than our own: that also we should shew some kindness, and mercy even toward our beasts, allowing them some ease from their painfull drudgeries in our be­half; these are all of them things, which reason evidently dictates; which common sense must needs admit, as duties of piety, justice, and humanity: and to secure the performance of them both as to the substance, due measure, and fit manner of them, common [Page 135] prudence would suggest, that set times should be appointed; in which they should be solemnly and notoriously discharged, un­der the publick testimony and cognizance: and accordingly we find, that in all wise and civil So­cieties some provision ever hath been made, by appointing Festi­val times, for the practice of such duties, in some kind or degree: The founders of Laws (saith Seneca) did institute festival days, Legum conditores Festos instituerunt dies, ut ad hi­laritatem homines publicè co­gerentur, tanquam necessari­um laboribus interponentes temperamentum. Sen. de tranq. an. that men should publick­ly be constrained to cheer­fulness; interposing as ne­cessary a temperament of their pains; Plato with a more admirable sagacity refers the in­vention, or first institution of such times unto God himself; The Gods (saith he; that is, the divine providence administring affairs here by the ministery of inferiour invisible powers, accor­ding [Page 136] to his notion and manner of speaking) pi­tying mankind, [...]. Plat. de Leg. II. p. 787. born to painfull labour, appoin­ted for an ease and ces­sation from their toils the recourses of festival seasons observed to the Gods. Thus (I say) reason ac­knowledges the substance of these duties, and approves the securing their performance, as a good end, or fit matter of Law both divine and humane. But as to the cir­cumstantial determination of mea­sure and manner; that a Seventh day precisely should be assigned, that a total cessation from labour for man and beast should be pre­scribed; this is above reason to discern a necessity of; or a con­veniency in comparison with o­ther limitations in those respects deviseable and practicable: nor can we assuredly resolve the obli­gation thereto into any other [Page 137] ground, than the pleasure of [...] most wise Author of this Law; who did see what was most fit to be prescribed to those, whom this Law concerned. Here is in­deed mentioned a reason, why God specially did choose this day to bless, and sanctifie it in this manner to such purposes; name­ly, his resting upon the Seventh day from his works of Creation; the which yet doth not certainly import a natural conveniency, toward accomplishing those pur­poses, of this precise quantity of time, or in this way of observing it, in preference to any other, that might have been appointed; it onely seemeth to imply a fit­ness of these determinations, as containing somewhat of profi­table significancy; that such a correspondency in circumstance of time, and manner of practice might admonish us concerning the substance of our duty, or a [Page 138] principal part thereof peculiarly designed in the Sanction of this Law, the gratefull Commemora­tion of God's most glorious work (the foundation as it were of all other his acts of beneficence) the Creation of the World: for thus in all ceremonial Institutions we may observe, that some signifi­cant circumstance is selected, on purpose to instruct or excite us to practice, by representing to our fancy the nature and inten­tion of the main duty required, as in Circumcision, in the Passover, in Baptism, and other ritual Con­stitutions it is not hard to per­ceive: so it being God's design to enforce the performance of that excellent duty, by appropriating a time thereto, we may conceive that he therefore especially selec­ted that day, as most apt to mind them, to whom this Law was given, of the history of the Crea­tion; the reflecting upon and ce­lebrating [Page 139] which was the main duty intended:

Seeing therefore the observation of the Sabbath is expressed to have a peculiar respect to the children of Israel, as a sign of the Cove­nant made with them, when he led them out of Egypt; seeing in its own nature it differeth from the rest of the ten Laws, the ob­ligation thereto being not, dis­cernibly to natural light, groun­ded in the reason of the thing, we can no wise be assured, that an universal and perpetual obli­gation thereto was intended, or that its obligation did extend far­ther than to the Jews, to whom it was as a formal Law delive­red, and upon special considera­tions severely inculcated; to whose humour, condition, and circumstances it might also per­haps be particularly suted:Just. Dial. cum Tryph. p. 235. &c. Ju­stin M. was of opinion that this Law, as many others was given [Page 140] to the Jews, [...], for their iniquity, and hardness of heart, by way of concession and indulgence; for, because they by their natural dis­position were apt to forget their maker; to neglect the state of their soul, being wholly intent on worldly affairs; to exact in­tolerable pains from their bre­thren, who served them; to use cruelly the poor beasts, employ­ed in tilling their ground, or bearing their burthens; therefore God (considering this incorrigible temper of theirs) did indulge six days to them for the prosecution of those affairs, to which they were so devoted, contenting him­self to exact from them no more, than this part of time for his own service, for the benefit of servants, and ease of beasts; if he had re­quired more of them they could it seems or would hardly have endured it; the command would [Page 141] perhaps not onely have been dis­obeyed it self, but the dislike thereof might have rendred them averse from all Religion, and ser­vice of God; as it happeneth, when commands very rigorous, and exceeding mens strength are enjoined; for we see the Prophets complain of them, that they could hardly be induced to go thus far, or to afford God this so moderate share of time; but were impati­ent even for this one day in se­ven to abstain from their secular business, to relax themselves, or their servants, or their cattel from their daily labours:Isa. 58. 3, [...]3. they impeach them for polluting, Ezek. 20. 13, 21, 23. 38. 22. 26. profaning, hi­ding their eyes from (that is, wholly overlooking, neglecting and disregarding) the Sabbath; for doing their own pleasure, and exacting their own labours upon it, for not delighting therein, or not willingly observing it:Amos 8. 4▪ Hear this (saith the Prophet Amos) O ye [Page 142] that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, saying, when will the new­moon be gone, that we may sell corn, and the Sabbath that we may set forth wheat? this being the disposition of that People, not bearing a greater strictness, they not being able to preserve within their hearts a perpetual remem­brance of God's works and fa­vours; not to moderate their pur­suits of temporal good things; not to bear a due regard and ten­derness toward their brethren, and their fellow-creatures (the performing which things in a constant uninterrupted tenour the said Holy Father, [...]. pag. 229. and Blessed Mar­tyr supposeth to be the Sabbatism, which Christians are bound to observe) therefore God conside­ring their infirmity and incapaci­ty to comply with higher injunc­tions, did use (as in the cases of Divorce, Revenge, and the like) [Page 143] an indulgence toward them, per­mitting them on the other days to do their pleasure (as the Prophet speaks),Isa. 58. 13. reserving onely this day for a punctual and solemn perfor­mance of the duties specified: thus discourses that good Ancient in his Dialogue with the Jew. However, that this Law (as to its circumstantial parts) was not intended to oblige generally and perpetually, we have a most for­cible ground to suppose; S. Paul himself his express discharging Christians from the observation thereof; yea his earnest reprehen­sion of some persons for rigorously insisting thereon, deeming them­selves and urging it upon others as a necessary duty to observe it; his conjoining it with other Cere­monial Observances, whose na­ture was meerly symbolical, and whose design was to continue no longer, than till the real substance of that, which they represented, [Page 144] came into full force and practice: Let no man (saith he to the Co­lossians) judge you for meat, Coloss. 2. 16, 17. or drink, or upon account of a festi­val day, or new moon, [...], are both read; both equiva­lent. or sab­bath, which things are the shadow of future things, but the body is of Christ (that is, they did onely prefigure, and presignifie; the real substance intended, and re­presented by them is somewhat in the Law, and Doctrine of Christ; which coming immedi­ately to appear, and to oblige, that shadow vanisheth, and cea­seth to have any regard due there­to) again more sharply to the Galatians, whom some Judaizing Dogmatists had reduced, or were reducing to the practice of legal Rites, under conceit of needfull obligation to them;Gal. [...]. 10. How saith he, do ye return again to those weak, and beggerly elements, to which back again you are pleased to be enslaved: ye observe days, [Page 145] and months, and years; which words, that they relate general­ly to the Jewish Festivals, the con­text doth plainly enough shew, and there is good reason to think, that they chiefly respect the Sab­bath we treat on, for which pro­bably these men had the greatest respect, and zeal;Rom. 14. 5, &c. Again in the 14th. to the Romans the same great Patron and Champion of Christian Liberty, not obscurely declareth his mind, that Christi­ans of strength in judgment did regard no day above another, but esteemed all days (he excepteth none) alike, as to any special ob­ligation, grounded upon divine Law and Right; in subordination to which Doctrine we may add, that this appears with great evi­dence to have been the common opinion of the wisest, and most orthodox Christians in the Primi­tive Church; the most constant and strict adherents to Catholick [Page 146] Tradition (who from the Apostles instruction best understood the purport and limits of the liberty purchased by Christ) that this Law,Inter omnia deem praecepta solùm ibi quod de Sabbato po­situm est figu­ratè observan­dum praecipi­tur. Aug. Ep. 119. as it was not known or practised before Moses, so it cea­sed to oblige after Christ; being one of the shadows which the Evangelical light dispelled; one of the burthens, which this Law of liberty did take off usVid. Cit. Patres.

Now although upon these ac­compts we cannot press the strict observation of this Law in all its parts, according to its literal, and direct intention, yet we may learn much of our duty, much of God's will from it: all God's laws, spiritually and wisely, un­derstood did tend to the promo­ting of piety and vertue; and abstracting from the special cir­cumstances of that People, to whom they were consigned, may (so far as our case is like theirs, and wherein a common reason [Page 147] doth appear) pass for fit patterns for us to imitate, suggesting pro­per means of exercising, nouri­shing, encreasing those qualities in us; and so from this Law we may learn these duties:

1. That we should frequently call to mind, and consider the great and glorious works of God, performed for the general good of his creatures, and specially for mankind: The Creation of the World, the Redemption of man­kind; the Nativity, Passion, Re­surrection, and Exaltation of our Lord and Saviour, and the like, no less now considerable to us, both in respect of glory due to God, and of benefit accruing to us, then was the Creation for­merly to the Jews.

2. That we are bound to re­strain our selves in the prosecu­tion of worldly business; not di­stracting [Page 148] our minds with care, not exhausting our bodies with toil about them, but allowing our mind convenient and seaso­nable freedom, affording our soul sufficient leisure with vigour and alacrity to enjoy its nobler en­tertainments, and to pursue its higher interests.

3. That we are obliged to use the same indulgence toward those, whom divine providence hath dis­posed to be under our power, care, or governance: to allow our children, our subjects, our servants a competent measure of rest, and refreshment from their ordinary labours, sufficient time and leisure undistractedly to serve God, and quietly to mind their spiritual welfare: we must so charitably tender their good, as to permit and procure, that their life may be easie and comfortable here; and that also they may [Page 149] have means to obtain for them­selves a happy immortality here­after; not being in these respects either harsh to their outward man, or uncharitable to their souls.

4. That we must no be un­mercifull to any creature, not onely abstaining from inflicting, in wantonness of humour, need­less vexation upon them, but al­so from wearying and grieving them too much for our emolu­ment or convenience: the advan­tage and preeminency bestowed upon us by God over them should be managed with moderation, and clemency; we should be gentle masters to them, not cruel tyrants over them: we should consider, that God did make them, as to help and serve us, so to enjoy somewhat themselves of delight and satisfaction in their being; which if we go to deprive [Page 150] them of, rendring their condition intolerable and worse than if they had no being, as we do abuse and injure them, transgressing the bounds of our right over them, so we encroach upon, disappoint, and wrong their maker, and can­not therein but displease him; doing thus is a point of injustice not enough considered by them, who commit it: they consider not how beastly they are them­selves, when they misuse poor beasts.

5. We may hence farther learn, that it is fit certain times should be allotted for the publick, and solemn performance of the fore­named duties: common reason prompteth, that God (upon whose protection, and disposal the pub­lick good depends) should be publickly honoured, and his be­nefits frequently acknowledged; also that care should be taken in [Page 151] every society, that all states of men should lead their lives in some competent degree of con­tent; that all objects of grievous pity should be removed from pub­lick view; also common sense will inform us, that these things cannot effectually be executed, without constituting definite pe­riods of time, and limiting cir­cumstances, according to which they shall be practised under pub­lick inspection, and censure: And these dictates of ordinary pru­dence the divine wisedom hath ratified by his exemplary order; the which in cases, wherein he hath not interposed his direct au­thority by way of precept may serve for a good direction to Go­vernours, what they may with safety, what they should in wise­dom establish; what provision they should make for the pro­motion of piety and vertue: such a precedent requires greatest ve­neration, [Page 152] and respect, cannot but appear of high moment in con­sultation about matters of this nature.

It is indeed particularly obser­vable, that in this command there is not an express order concerning the natural or moral service of God (by prayer, or hearing God's Law) to be publickly performed on this day; but the Jews were themselves so wise as to under­stand these duties couched in the sanctification of the day prescri­bed to them; and accordingly they practised; they in all places of their habitation did settle Sy­nagogues, and Oratories; to them upon this day they resorted; in them then they did offer devoti­ons to God; (as the names [...], and [...] did im­port) the Scribes did reade the Law, and expound it to the People: [...]. Joseph. adv. App. 2. p. 946. Moses (saith Josephus) did command [Page 153] the people to assemble for hearing of the law, not once or twice, or many times, but every seventh day, laying aside their works; and exactly to learn it; whence, ad­deth he, the people became so skilfull in the laws, that if one asked any of them concerning them, [...]. Ib. 947. he would more easily tell them all than his own name; whence also an admirable con­cord in mind, and uniformity in practice did (as he farther ob­serves) arise: and The custom (saith Philo) was always as occasion gave leave, [...], &c. Philo de Vit. Mos. especially upon the seventh days, to philoso­phate, &c. in consideration of which practice it was, that Jews so highly valued this Precept, that it was a saying among them, The Sabbath weigheth against all the Commandments; Midrash. Exod. 26. as procuring [Page 154] them all to be known, and obser­ved: And if that blind people could pick these duties out of this Law, much more should we see our selves obliged, according to analogy thereof, to appoint set times for ensuring the practice of them.

6. Again, We may hence also learn our obligation to submit obediently to the constitution of Governours relating to this mat­ter; that we readily should ob­serve all solemn times of festivity and rest, which the Rulers of Church, or State do appoint for the securing or the promoting those purposes of piety, or chari­ty, according to the measure and manner prescribed by them: for Reason approving the thing as good and usefull; and divine or­der more clearly and fully confir­ming it to be so, and it not ap­pearing that God hath made ex­press [Page 155] determinations about it, it remains, that it is left wholly to them, to whose care God hath entrusted the publick welfare, and hath committed to their judg­ments the providing means con­ducible thereto; having also con­sequently injoined us in all law­full things to follow their gui­dance and appointment in order thereto. God decreed death to be inflicted on those, who viola­ted his command concerning the Sabbath; which sheweth how great a fault it is to offend in this particular; and we may reasona­bly esteem that command to be his, which proceedeth from his Ministers by authority from him­self, and in conformity to his own pattern.

7. We add, that whereas God required of the Jews such a porti­on of time to be solemnly dedica­ted to Religion, and mercy, we [Page 156] to whom he hath vouchsafed higher benefits, and proposed grea­ter encouragements, cannot rea­sonably but deem our selves obli­ged to sequester and consecrate as much or more time to the same intents: we should indeed be con­tent to withdraw our selves more frequently from pursuance of our own profits and pleasures to the service of God, to the remem­brance and celebration of his fa­vours: we should willingly allow greater relaxation to our depen­dents: and should the publick be deficient in exacting a perfor­mance of such duties from us, it would become us to supply such defects by our private devoting fit and frequent seasons thereto: that in some proportion we may exceed the Jews in gratefull pie­ty, as we surpass them in the matter, and causes thereof; that we may appear in some degree more charitable than they, as we [Page 157] have much greater reason and obligation to be so then they. So much for this;

I proceed briefly to consider the remaining Commandments, the which immediately concern another Object: those foregoing did chiefly serve to regulate our religious practice in yielding due reverence toward God; these fol­lowing (which are supposed to have made up the second of those Tables, which written by God's hand were delivered to Moses, and preserved in the Ark of the Testimony) do guide our conver­sation and carriage toward our Neighbour; in the front of which worthily is placed that which obligeth to dutifulness toward our Parents; unto whom after God, and his supreme Vice-ge­rents we owe the highest respect, gratitude and duty.

V. Com­mandment.

‘Honour thy father, and thy mother.’

Honour; the word signifies to have in weighty regard, and apt­ly serves to denote those particular acts of duty, which are other­where expressed in Scripture;Levit. 9. 3. fear and reverence (ye shall fear every man his father and his mo­ther) observance and obedience (children obey your parents in all things, Coloss. 3. 20. for this is well pleasing to God) gratitude and retribution (Let children learn [...],1 Tim. 5. 4. to be pious toward their own family; and [...], to render sutable returns, or to requite their parents, for this is good, and acceptable before God.) regarding their instruction and advice (My son hear the in­struction of thy father, Prov. 1. 8. 23. 22. and forsake not the law of thy mother) it also [Page 159] comprehendeth a prohibition of the contrary acts, contemning, cursing, offering violence or contu­mely unto, disobedience and con­tumacy toward parents, the which are forbidden under capital penal­ties, and dreadfull comminations: Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or mother: Deut. 27. 16. and, The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it (that is,Exod. 21. 15▪ 17. God in a fearfull and strange manner will avenge that wickedness upon him) and in the Law it is ordained that the rebel­lious and stubborn son, who will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother; and that when they have chastned him, will not hearken unto them, shall be stoned by all the men of his City, and put to death in that manner.

[Page 160] Whence we may learn the na­ture of the duty here enjoined, and what rank it beareth among other duties; what high obliga­tion belongs thereto, of what consideration it is with God, and how grievous a crime the viola­tion thereof is; that, briefly, we are obliged to yield our parents high affection of heart, great ex­pressions of respect and observance in word and deed; that the neg­lect of these duties is, next to that of profaneness and unduti­fulness toward God himself, the greatest disorder we can be guil­ty of: this all civil Nations have consented to be our duty; and if we consider the grounds, upon which it is built, we shall find that reason, justice, and necessity do require it: S. Paul presseth his precept of observance to pa­rents with, a [...], for this is just and equal: Eph. 6. 1. for if we look upon the disposition of [Page 161] parents in their mind toward children, we may presume them always full of tender affection, and good will toward them, full of desire, and care for their good, full of pity and compassion to­ward them; in the highest and most especial degree beyond what they bear to others; which dis­positions in reason and equity do require answerable dispositions in those, upon whom they are pla­ced, and who from them do re­ceive inestimable benefits: for if we do regard the effects procee­ding from them we shall discern, that

1. From parents children do receive being and life; that good which nature inclineth so highly to value and tender, as the foun­dation of all the good, happiness, and comfort we are capable of.

2. They are obliged to their parents for the preservation, main­tenance, [Page 162] and protection of their life: it is a long time before we came to be able (such is the par­ticular condition of man among all living creatures, so ordered on purpose, as it were, to beget this obligation and endearment) any­wise to provide for, or to defend our selves; and the doing there­of, in that senseless and helpless state, relies upon the care, pain, and solicitous vigilance of our parents; the which they are not onely always obliged, but are commonly disposed with admi­rable willingness to spend on their children.

3. Parents not onely thus at first undergo such care and trou­ble to maintain their children, but by expensive education (of­ten with much inconvenience and incommodity to themselves) they provide means for their future support, and subsistence, during life.

[Page 163] 4. Children are so strictly tied to their parents, as by their wil­ling concession to partake in all the comforts of their state, and ornaments of their fortune.

5. The goods acquired by the parents industry do usually de­volve upon their children by in­heritance and succession; whence that children live handsomely and comfortably, is the reward of their parents merit, comes from the store, that they have care­fully provided, and laid up for them.

6. To which we may add, that not onely the provision for our temporal necessities and con­veniencies dependeth upon our parents,Deut. 6. 7, 20. but the care of our souls, and our spiritual welfare is in­cumbent on them:Eph. 6. 4. they are obli­ged to instruct us in the fear of God, and to set us in the way toward eternal happiness.

[Page 164] 7. We may consider also, that all this they do most frankly and out of pure kindness; without regard to any merit antecedent, or benefit consequent to them­selves: as they received nothing to oblige and move them to such performances, so they can seldom hope for answerable returns: it is abundant satisfaction to them if they see their children do well; their chief delight and content­ment is in their childrens good absolutely and abstractedly, with­out indirect regards to their own advantage.

Upon these, and the like ac­compts it appeareth, that as pa­rents have the affections most re­sembling those of God toward us, as they perform toward us the actions most like to his, as they are the principal instruments of divine providence and bounty (by which God's blessings are [Page 165] conveyed and conferred upon us) so they may be deemed in a sort to represent God, and as his most lively images have an especial ve­neration due to them. God him­self, to endear and render himself amiable, or in the most kindly way venerable to us, to engage us to a more ready obedience of him,Deut. 32. 6. to declare the nature of our duty toward him, assumes the title of Father; and all Nations have agreed to style him so; Re­ciprocally also, whereas the du­ties toward other men are termed justice, or charity, or courtesie, or liberality, [...]. or gratitude, those toward parents in every Language (I suppose) are styled piety, 1 Tim. 5. 4. Colere pa­rentes. im­plying somewhat divine in the object of those duties; 'tis more than injustice to wrong a parent; 'tis more than uncharitableness to refuse them succour, or relief; 'tis more than discourtesie to be unkind to them; 'tis more than [Page 166] sordid avarice to be in their need illiberal to them; 'tis rather high impiety to offend in any of these kinds.

He that returns not love in an­swer to their tender affection; that doth not (as occasion requires, and his ability permits) requite the benefits received from them, doth not defer to them an especi­al reverence, in regard to that sacred name and character they bear, thereby intimates, that he would in like manner be unjust, ungratefull, and disingenuous to­ward God, from whom he hath received the like benefits; the be­ginning and continuance of his being; the preservation, mainte­nance, and protection of his life: if he will not honour his earthly Parents, whom he hath seen, how will he reverence his heavenly Father, whom he hath not seen? so we may according to S. John argue.

[Page 167] I might subjoin, that as justice, and ingenuity do enforce this du­ty, so for the good of the world there is a necessity that it should be observed: If parents are not onely by natural instinct disposed, but by divine command obliged, and by humane Law (the preser­vation of the world so requiring) constrained to undergo such hard­ships for the maintenance, and education of their children, it is fit and necessary they should be supported and encouraged in the bearing them by reciprocal obli­gations in children to return them dutifull respect, observance, and requital; the world could not well subsist without children be­ing engaged to these duties: there were no reason to exact, there were no ground to expect, that parents should cheerfully and faithfully discharge their part, upon other terms.

[Page 168] To this Precept there is added a Promise (and it is, as S. Paul observeth,Eph. 6. 2. the first precept, that hath a promise formally annexed; whereby he enforceth his exhor­tation to the observance thereof.)

That thy days may be long upon the land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

So God expresly promiseth to bless dutifull children with a long life in the comfortable possession of those good things, [...]. which he should bestow upon them; this was the most of reward, expli­citly covenanted to the Jews, in regard to their obedience: there is also implyed a commination of a contrary curse from God upon the infringers of this Law, that they should either be immaturely [Page 169] cut off from life (as Abimelech and Absalom were upon this score) or should draw on a wretched life in banishment from the contents thereof; by which things respec­tively are intimated to us the re­wards of piety in this kind, or the punishments of impiety in the future state, whereof the land here mentioned was a shadow, or figure: what length of days in Canaan was to them, that to us is immortal life in heaven; what being excluded thence was then, that now is everlasting death, or banishment into the regions of misery.

I might also note the congrui­ty of the reward propounded, that they who are gratefull to those from whom, in subordination to God, they received life, shall by God's dispensation enjoy that life long and well; and that they who neglect the authours of their life, shall soon be deprived of it, [Page 170] or of its comforts.Deut. 16. 20. But I find the same reward assigned to the diligent observers of other duties; particularly to them,Psal. 37. 29. who are just in their dealings;Psal. 37. 9, 11. to them who are charitable to the poor;Psal. [...]4. 12, 13, 16. to them who are meek and pati­ent;Prov. 8 16. to them who confide in God;Deut. 26. 15. and to all good men that obey God's commandments.

I shall onely add farther, that we may, according to analogy and like ground of reason, reduce unto this Commandment the ob­ligation we have to honour all those, who perform toward us beneficial offices like unto those, which we receive from our pa­rents; those who preserve our life by relief, protection or de­fence; those who afford us main­tenance, or education; those who watch over us for the good of our body, or of our soul; those who instruct us, or advise us: such are our Governours and Magistrates [Page 171] either Political or Ecclesiastical; our Benefactours and Patrons; our Schoolmasters, and Tutours; our especial faithfull Friends; and the like; But I pass forward.

In the subsequent Precepts are contained the prime rules of ju­stice toward our neighbour; the observation of which is not one­ly most equal and reasonable in it self, but necessary for the pre­servation of civil society, and pub­lick peace among men; for the procurement of our safe, and plea­sant living and conversing in the World; men thereby being secu­red in the quiet enjoyment of God's gifts, and the fruits of their industry, and of whatever is dear and precious to them; of their lives first; then of the comforts of their conjugal state; of their possessions; of their reputations; the laws respecting these being here disposed in order, according [Page 172] to the value of their respective objects, in the nature of things, or in the opinion of men, or in regard to the consequences arising from them.

VI. Com­mandment.

‘Thou shalt not kill.’

Of all good gifts conferr'd up­on us none (according to the na­tural and common esteem of men) is more precious than life it self, the foundation of enjoying the rest. God hath therefore reser­ved the disposal of it entirely to himself, as his special prerogative: neither he that hath it, nor any other person having absolutely any just power or right over it; No man can take away any man's life, but by commission or licence from God, reasonably presumed to be granted by him: So may God (the absolute King of the World) be supposed to have com­mitted [Page 173] to lawfull Magistrates, as his Vice-gerents and Officers, in his name and behalf, upon reaso­nable cause, for preservation of publick justice, peace, and order, in a lawfull course of justice, to dispose of mens lives, who have forfeited them to the Law: (The Magistrate,Rom. 13. 4. as S. Paul saith, bea­reth not the sword in vain; 1 Pet. 2. 14. for he is the minister of God; an a­venger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil.) He hath not forbidden Sovereigns (in case of necessity, and when amicable means will not prevail) to main­tain the safety or welfare of the Societies entrusted to their care, even by armed violence, against such as wrongfully invade them, or any wise harm them, and will not otherwise be induced to for­bear doing so; in which case the resolution of such differences (in­somuch as they cannot be tried at any other bar, or composed by [Page 174] other means) is referred to God's arbitrement; who is the Lord of Hosts, the Sovereign Protectour of right, and dispenser of success; the Souldier in a just cause being then his Minister, and carrying a tacit commission from him. God also may be supposed together with life, with a natural love to it, with means to preserve it, to have imparted to every man a right to defend his life, with its necessary supports, against unjust, extreme, and inevitable violence upon it, or them: the slaughter therefore, which may happen in these cases (or in the like, where­in God hath plainly by a general order, or by special command, or by permission reasonably supposed, conferred on any person a power over his neighbour's lise, in the maintenance of God's own ho­nour, or in subserviency to pub­lick good) is not concerned in the design, or meaning of this Pre­cept: [Page 175] for he that kills another, in a way not irregular, as a Mi­nister of justice, or in a lawfull War as a Souldier authorized by a Sovereign power here under God, or for his own just and ne­cessary defence, doth not, accor­ding to the intent of this Law, kill; but rather God himself, the Lord of life and death, doth then kill; the authority of killing so being derived from him, and his work being done thereby: Ven­geance is his, and he so (by his in­struments) repays it. But here is forbidden all other voluntary taking away our neighbour's life, when a man acts as a private per­son; without just and necessary cause, in any illegal or irregular way; upon what motive, prin­ciple, or end soever (whether it be out of hatred, spight, envy, revenge; for our presumed safety, or pretended reparation of honour; for promoting what interest, or [Page 176] procuring what satisfaction soever to our selves) by what means so­ever, either by direct violence, or by fraudulent contrivance; in an open, or clandestine manner; immediately by our selves, or by means of others; by advising, encouraging, any wise becoming instrumental, or accessory thereto.

This is the crime expresly pro­hibited; but a positive duty should also be understood; that we are obliged, so far as we are able, to preserve our neighbour's life; by relieving him in extreme need, by succouring him in ex­treme danger; by admonishing him of any destructive mischief, when he appears tending una­wares thereinto; the neglect of which things argueth a murthe­rous disposition toward our neigh­bour, is in reasonable esteem, and in God's sight a killing of him; for we mistake, if we think with Cain, that we are not our bro­ther's [Page 177] keepers, or are not bound when we are able to preserve his life.

The violation of which Com­mandment is certainly the most heinous sin, that can be commit­ted of all those▪ which are not immediately directed against God himself, or the persons which pe­culiarly represent him; and a sin which never can escape vengeance and due punishment from him. It is the greatest wrong to God; it is the extremest injury to our neighbour; it is the highest sort of uncharitableness; it is a princi­pal offence against publick society.

1. It is an exceeding wrong and affront done unto God; in assu­ming the disposal of his gifts; in dispossessing him of his rights, by robbing him of a creature, of his child, his servant, his subject (one whose life is precious to him, and toward whom he beareth a ten­der [Page 178] regard) an usurping in a high way his Sovereign Autho­rity, his Throne of Majesty, his Tribunal of Justice, his Sword of Vengeance; to omit the sacri­lege (as Philo speaks) committed herein by violating God's own Image, which every man doth bear.

2. It is also an extreme injury to the person, who is thereby deprived of an unvaluable good, which can no wise be repaired, or compensated: he that loses his life, doth therewith lose all the good he possesseth, or is capable of here, without any possibility of recovering it again: the ta­king therefore of life can be no sutable revenge, no reasonable satisfaction for any injury or da­mage received; it infinitely, in a manner, surpasseth all the evil, which any man can sustain from another in his estate, or fame, or welfare of any kind; for those [Page 179] things have their measure, and may be capable of some reparation, but this is altogether extreme and irreparable; and therefore doth include greatest iniquity: add hereto, that not onely all tempo­ral good is hereby at once ravi­shed from a man, but the soul al­so of the person may incur the greatest damage or hazard in re­spect to its future estate by being thus snatched away: the slayer not onely robbeth his brother of his temporal life, but of his time of repentance, and opportunity of making peace with God.

3. It is also the highest uncha­ritableness to deal thus with our neighbour; arguing that nothing of good will, of pity, of humani­ty toward him is left in us: to hate his brother to the death is the utmost pitch of hatred. If in imitation of our Saviour, and out of respect to him we ought (as S. John instructeth us) to be wil­ling [Page 180] to lay down our lives for our brethren; how enormous a crime, how opposite to Christian charity is it to take away our brother's life?

4. It is likewise a main offence against the publick; not onely by unlawfully bereaving it of a member and subject, but to its prejudice and dishonour (yea so far as lies in us to its subversion and dissolution) assuming to our selves, pulling away from it its rights, and prerogatives of judg­ment.

Such briefly is the direct in­tent, and importance of this Law; but our Saviour in his comment hereon hath explained and exten­ded it farther,Matt. 5. 21. so as to interdict all, that any wise approaches in nature, or in effect tends unto this heinous evil: he means to obstruct all the springs, and ex­tirpate all the roots thereof; such [Page 181] as are rash, causeless, outragious, inveterate anger, contumelious and despightfull language, reser­ving grudges, or spight in our heart, not endeavouring speedily to reconcile our selves to them, who have done us injury or dis­pleasure; for these things as they commonly do produce the act of murther, so they argue inclinati­ons thereto (which if fear and self-respect did not restrain, would produce it), and consequently in moral accompt, which regardeth not so much the act as the will, are of the same quality therewith; however they arise from the same bitter root of great uncharitable­ness; upon which score S. John telleth us,1 Joh. 3. 15, 17. that He that hateth his brother is a murtherer; and consequently in effect all malice, and spight, envy, hatred, malig­nity, rancour, immoderate, and pertinacious anger, and animosity are here prohibited.

VII. Com­mandment.

‘Thou shalt not commit adultery.’

After life (if after that, for this command in the Greek Transla­tion of Exodus (though not in Deuteronomy) in some places of the New Testament, and in sundry ancient Writers is placed before that against murther) nothing commonly is more dear to men, than the comforts of their conju­gal estate; the enjoyment of that special affection, and friendship, together with those instances of benevolence, which by divine in­stitution and mutual contract, ra­tified by most sacred and solemn promises of fidelity, are reserved peculiar to that state: which en­closures therefore of his neigh­bour whoever shall invade, or trespass upon, who shall any wise loose or slacken those holy bands, [Page 183] who shall attempt the affection, or chastity of his neighbour's wife, doth most grievously offend God, and committeth (as Joseph, when he was tempted thereto, did call it) a great evil against God, a­gainst his neighbour, against him­self, against the common society of men. He violateth an institu­tion, to which God hath affixed especial marks of respect, and sanctity; he wounds his neigh­bour's honour, and interest in the most tender part, wherein the content of his mind and comfort of his life are most deeply concer­ned: he as much (or rather more) dishonoureth and abuseth himself, not onely by committing a fact of so high injustice, but by ma­king himself accessory to the ba­sest perfidiousness that can be. [Whoso committeth adultery, Prov. 6. 34. lac­keth understanding; he that doth it, destroyeth his own soul; a wound and dishonour shall he get, [Page 184] and his reproach shall not be wi­ped away; for jealousie is the rage of a man, therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance; he will not regard any ransome, nei­ther will he rest content though thou givest many gifts.] He also offendeth against the publick qui­et, and welfare, breeding inextri­cable confusions, and implacable dissensions in families, so that hardly from any other cause such tragical events have issued as from this: in fine this crime is, as Philo calls it, [...], a loathsome unrighteousness, most odious to God;Job 31. 12. and a fire (as Job representeth it) that con­surneth to destruction.

But we must further also con­sider, that acts of this kind con­tain also in them another evil; that persons committing them do not onely so highly wrong their neighbour, but defile themselves also by the foulest turpitude; in [Page 185] which respect the prohibition of all unlawfull and irregular satis­factions to lustfull appetite; all compliance with that great ene­my of our souls, the flesh; all kinds of impurity and lascivious­ness, not in act onely, but in thought, in speech, in gesture may be reduced to this Law:Matt. 5. 14. Our Lord himself doth so interpret it, as to make it include a forbidding of all unchast desires; and Chri­stianity doth in a most strict and special manner oblige us to all kinds of sobriety and modesty, of chastity and purity in body and spirit;1 Pet. 2. 11. injoining us to abstain from all fleshly lusts, as enemies to our souls, Coloss. 3. 5. to mortifie our fleshly members; 1 Thess. 4. 4. to possess our vessels (or bodies) in sanctity and honour; not to have any impurity, Eph. 5. 3. or fil­thiness so much as named among us; Eph. 4. 29. nor to suffer a foul word to proceed out of our mouth; not to defile our bodies, 1 Cor. 3. 17. 6. 18, 19. consecrated un­to [Page 186] to God, and made temples of the Holy Spirit; excluding persons guilty of such things from any title, or capacity of entring into God's Kingdom;Eph. 5. 4, &c. in fine represen­ting all such practices as most dis­honourable to us, most displeasing to God, most grievous to God's Holy Spirit (the fountain of all vertue and goodness) most con­trary to the nature and design of our Religion, and most destruc­tive of our souls.

VIII. Com­mandment.

‘Thou shalt not steal.’

That every man should quiet­ly enjoy those supports and those conveniencies of life, which in any honest manner (by God's bounty immediately dispensing it, or by God's blessing upon his in­dustry) he hath acquired the pos­session of, or right unto, as all reason and equity do require, so [Page 187] it must be acknowledged abso­lutely necessary for the preserva­tion of common peace, and the maintenance of civil society a­mong men: to secure which pur­poses, and to encourage honest in­dustry, this Law prohibiteth all invasion, or usurpation by any means whatever (either by open violence, and extortion; or by clandestine fraud, and surrepti­on) of our neighbour's proper goods and rights: He that in any way, against his neighbour's knowledge or will, getteth into his power, or detaineth therein what doth in equity belong to his neighbour, and which he can restore to him, doth transgress against the intent of this Law; as we see it interpreted in Levi­ticus; where it is thus expressed: Thou shalt not defraud thy neigh­bour, Levit. 19. 13. nor rob him: defrauding by cunning practice, is no less for­bidden, than robbing by violent [Page 188] force. [...] Cor. 6. 8. Any wise [...] (that is, to deprive our neighbour of his due) [...],Tit. 2. 10. to purloin, or (by subtle and sly conveyance) to se­parate any part of our neighbour's substance from him;1 Thess. 4. 6. [...], to exact, or extort any thing more than ones due, [...], to go beyond, or over­reach our neighbour in dealing; to delude and cozen him by false speeches, or fallacious pretences, are acts in S. Paul's expression, to be referred hither; as so many special acts of theft. I cannot stand to reckon up all the sorts of unrighteousness included here, or reducible to this matter (such as,Prov. 22. 18. 20. 14. 9. 24. beside down-right rapine and chea­ting,Ezek. 22. 12. 18. 7, 16. are,Hos. 5. 10. fould dealing in bargains and contracts;Amos 8. 5. using false weights,Deut. 25. 13. and measures,Levit. 19. 13. withholding the pledge,Deut. 24. 14. detaining the labourer's wages from him;Psal. 15. 4. the exercising vexatious,Isa. 1. 23. biting,Jam. 5. 4. and devouring usuries; removing bounds of pos­session, [Page 189] oppressing by undue, or rigorous exaction, corrupting ju­stice for reward or favour, raising gain by unlawfull and shamefull arts, or practices; consenting, or sharing with, advising, or instiga­ting to these, and the like acts; these I shall not particularly insist upon) but shall onely say, that God expresseth great indignation against, and threatneth most se­verely to punish all acts of this kind:Deut. 15. 16. For all (saith he) that do such things (such as use deceitfull measures in trade), and all that do unrighteousness are an abomination unto the Lord, thy God: [...], God (saith S. Paul, 1 Tess. 4. 6. speaking against the cir­cumventing, and defrauding our neighbour) is an avenger for all these kinds of things: Nor indeed is the Gospel more severe in de­nunciation of punishment against any crime than this:1 Cor. 6. 9. Know ye not, that unjust persons (saith S. Paul, [Page 190] meaning this sort of unjust persons, so most properly and strictly cal­led) shall not inherit the kingdom of God; and [...], thieves, exactors (or cheaters) and rapacious persons make a good party in the cata­logue of those, who shall be ex­cluded from eternal bliss.

I should add the positive duties, here to be understood, and referr'd to this matter, the which are com­mended to us in Scripture; such are, diligence and industry in our calling, whereby with God's bles­sing we may support our selves, preventing the need, and escaping the temptation of encroachment upon our neighbour's property; (whereby we may, as Saint Paul speaketh,Eph. 4. 28. have need of nothing, may eat our own bread, 1 Thess. 4. 12. may even have wherewith to impart to the needs of others) contentment in that estate,2 Thess. 8. 12. wherein God hath placed us,Phil. 4. 11. how mean soever;1 Tim. 6. 8. Prov. 30. 8. tru­sting [Page 191] in God,Psal. 55. 23. and relying upon his providence;1 Pet. 5. 7. casting our bur­then and care upon him; who hath promised to sustain us; Heb. 13. 5. who hath said, that he will never leave, or forsake us; lastly, charitable relief of our neighbour in his need; for in such a case our neighbour hath a title to the goods we possess; derived from the appointment and donation of God, who is the abso­lute proprietor of all we have, we being onely his stewards, and dis­pensers thereof according to the rules he hath declared; so that if we do not according to his order, supply our poor neighbour, we are in just estimation, we shall in God's judgment appear to be thieves, both in respect to God himself, and to our neighbour; for that we thereby detain from God what by original right is his, and bereave our neighbour of what God hath bestowed on him.

IX. Com­mandment.

‘Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.’

'Tis in the Hebrew, Thou shalt not answer (to wit being exami­ned, or adjured in judgment) against thy neighbour as a false witness; so that primarily, it seems, bearing false testimony against our neighbour (especially in matters of capital, or of high concernment to him) is prohibi­ted: yet that not onely this great crime, but that all injurious (e­ven extrajudicial) prejudicing our neighbour's reputation, and con­sequently of his safety, or his welfare in any sort, is forbidden, we may collect from that expli­cation of this Law, or that paral­lel Law, which we have in Levi­ticus: Levit. 19. 16. Thou shalt not ('tis there said) go up and down as a talebearer [Page 193] among thy people; neither shalt thou stand against the bloud of thy neighbour: LXX [...]. as a talebearer, [...], that is, a merchant, or trader in ill reports and stories concerning our neighbour, to his prejudice; defaming him, or detracting from him, or breeding in the minds of men an ill opinion of him; which vile and mischievous practice is otherwhere under several names condemned and reproved; such are muttering: Prov. 18. 8. [...] (The words of a mutterer, saith the Wise man, are as wounds, going into the inner­most parts of the belly): Sirac. 5. 14. 21. 30. 28. 13. whispe­ring, [...] we have often in the Son of Sirach, 2 Cor. 12. 20. and in S. Paul mentioned with a bad character,Rom. 1. 30. or with prohibition, and reproof: supplanting; Ps. 15. 3. [...] (so in the good man's description, Psal. 15. 'tis said, He supplants not with his tongue, so the word signifies) detraction or backbiting ( [...],2 Cor. 12. 20. which is so often in the Apostolical WritingsJam. 4. 11. Rom. 1. 30. 1 Pet. 2. 1. [Page 194] forbidden,Luk. 3. 14. 19. 8. and reprehended; slan­der, Lev. 19. 11. or calumny, Psal. 72. 4. 119. 134. and sycophantry; that is, oppressing, abusing, or any way harming men by false tales, suggestions, or pretences; which sort of practices how base they are in themselves (nothing being more unworthy of an honest and ingenuous mind, nothing more ugly to the judgment of them, who have any sense of goodness) how contrary they are to justice, which doth not permit us to wrong our neighbour, as well in his credit and good name, as in his other goods (for they perhaps may be as much valued by him, may really be of as much conse­quence to him, as any thing that he hath) which bindeth us to abstain from hurting him as well in word, as in deed;Prov. 10. 12. how opposite they are to charity,1 Cor. 13. 5▪ 7. which obligeth us to think the best of our neighbour, and to endeavour that others also may do so; to conceal his real [Page 195] faults and blemishes; much more not to devise, and affix false ones to him; not to gather and dis­perse ill reports to his prejudice; of how mischievous consequence also they are, breeding ill will, and sowing strife in all Societies both publick, and private (even separating chief friends, Prov. 16. 28. as the Wise man telleth us) common sense, and experience do shew: they consequently must be very odious in the sight of God, who loveth the peace and welfare of men; and very offensive to men, who do the mischiefs springing from them.

To this Law may be reduced our obligations to be candid in our opinions, and discourses con­cerning others (according to Saint Paul's excellent description of charity:)1 Cor. 13. to forbear all rash and harsh censure, as you know our Saviour in his most divine Sermon on the Mount chargeth us; to be [Page 196] veracious, sincere and faithfull in all our conversation; which du­ties are so often taught and pres­sed in both Testaments:Levit. 19. 11. Ye shall not (saith the Law) steal, nor deal falsely, nor lye one to another; and, To walk uprightly, Psal. 15. 2. and work righ­teousness, and speak the truth from his heart, are the first lineaments in the good man's character drawn by the Psalmist: and, These are the things ye shall do (saith God in the Prophet) speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; Zech. 8. 16▪ exe­cute the judgment of truth, and peace in your gates: And in the New Testament,Eph. 4. 25. To lay aside ly­ing, Col. 3. 9. to speak the truth every man with his neighbour; 1 Pet. 2. 1. to lay aside all malice, all guile, all hypocrisies, envyings and backbitings are Apo­stolical commands.

X. Com­mandment.

‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife; nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his oxe, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.’

This Law is comprehensive, and recapitulatory (as it were) of the rest concerning our neigh­bour, prescribing universal justice toward him (whence S. Mark it seems meaneth to render it in one word,Mark 10. 19. by [...], de­prive not, or bereave not your neighbour of any thing) and this not onely in outward deed, and dealing, but in inward thought, and desire, the spring, whence [Page 198] they do issue forth (for,Matt. 15. 19. from the heart, as our Saviour teacheth, do proceed evil thoughts, murthers, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies) we are obli­ged to be so far from depriving our neighbour of any good thing belonging to him; that we are not so much as to wish, or desire it; not onely to abstain from in­jurious action, but to repress co­vetous inclinations: wherein is also implyed, that we should have a delight and complacence in our neighbour's good; not envying him any enjoyment; being in our minds content with the por­tion God pleaseth to vouchsafe us; and entirely trusting in him, that he will supply us with what is needfull or befitting to us, with­out the damage of our neigh­bour.Rom. 7. 7, 14. Thus God's Law is as Saint Paul observed) spiritual; not one­ly restraining exteriour acts, but regulating our inmost thoughts, [Page 199] quelling all inordinate appetites and affections of heart within us; the which may be extended so as to respect not onely matters of justice toward our neighbour, but all objects whatever of our prac­tice; so as to import that, which in the Christian Law is so fre­quently injoined us, as the life of our Religion,Rom. 2. 29. circumcising our hearts, Phil. 3. 3. crucifying the flesh with its passions and desires, Coloss. 2. 11. mortifying our earthly members, Gal. 5. 24. putting to death by the spirit the deeds of the body, Rom. 6. 6. putting off the old man, Col. 3. 5. 2. 11. which is corrupted according to de­ceitfull lusts: Eph. 4. 22. [...],Rom. 8. 13. thou shalt not unlawfully or ir­regularly desire doth, according to the spiritual intent, import all this.

I have done; and shall onely add, that the sum and end of these, and all other good Laws, of all Religion, and all our Duty [Page 200] is (as we often are taught in the New Testament) comprized in those two Rules, 1 Tim. 1. 5. of Loving God with all our heart, and, Loving our neighbour as our selves; seri­ously and honestly attending un­to which we can hardly fail of knowing what in any case our duty is; It remains that we em­ploy our best care and endeavour on the conscientious practice there­of; imploring therewith the as­sistance of God's grace, and that good Spirit, which God hath most graciously promised to those, who duly ask it, by which alone we can be enabled to keep God's Commandments: To him be all glory and praise. Amen.


THE DOCTRINE OF The Sacraments.

IT is a peculiar excellency of our Religion,Cyp. Epist. 76. that it doth not much employ mens care, pains, and time, about mat­ters of ceremonial observance; but doth chiefly (and in a man­ner wholly) exercise them in works of substantial duty, agree­able to reason, perfective of man's nature, productive of true glory to God, and solid benefit to men. Its design is not to a­muse our fancies with empty shews, nor to take up our en­deavours [Page 212] in fruitless performan­ces, but to render us truly good, and like unto God; first in in­terior disposition of mind, then in exterior practice; full of hearty love and reverence to God, of tender charity and good will toward men, of moderati­on and purity in the enjoyment of these things; of all true pie­ty and vertue; whereby we may become qualified for that life of bliss which it tendereth and pro­miseth; for conversation in that holy Society above, to which it designeth and calleth us. Yet be­cause Fancy is naturally a medi­um, and an effectual instrument of action; and because sensible objects are apt strongly to affect our minds;It hath especi­ally upon vul­gar, and wea­ker minds a strong efficacy. it hath pleased the divine Wisdom to apply them, in fit measure, and to sanctify them to those good purposes, by appointing some few solemn and significant Rites to be observed [Page 213] by us, being in their own nature proper and useful, and by God designed to declare his mind, and gracious intents to us; to consign and convey his Grace into our Souls, to confirm our Faith in him, to raise our devotion to­ward him, to quicken our reso­lutions of obeying his Will; to enable and excite us to the pra­ctice of those great Duties which he requireth of us:Dominus no­ster leni jugo suo nos subdi­dit, & sarcinae levi; Unde Sa­cramentis nu­mero paucissi­mis, observati­one facillimis, significatione praestantissimis societatem no­vi populi col­ligavit: sicut est Baptismus Trinitatis no­mine consecra­tus, communi­catio Corporis & Sanguinis ipsius; & siquid aliud in Scripturis Canonicis commendatur, &c. Ep. 118. Religionem paucissimis, & ma­nifestissimis clebrationum Sacramentis misericordia Dei libe­ram esse voluit. Id. Ep. 119. Our Lord Jesus Christ, saith S. Austin, hath subjected us to his gentle yoke, and light burthen; whence with Sacra­ments most few in number, most easy for observance, most excellent in signification he bound together the society of new people. And, The mercy of God (saith he again) would have Religion free, by the ce­lebration of a most few, and most clear Sacraments.

[Page 214] Of these there appear two (and S. Austin in the place cited could instance in no more) of general and principal use, insti­tuted by our Lord hismelf; which, because they represent to us somewhat not subject to sense, and have a secret influence upon us; because what is intended by them, is not immediately dis­cernible by what is done, with­out some explication, (their sig­nificancy being not wholly grounded in the nature, but de­pending upon arbitrary institu­tion, as that of words, which is of kin to them; whence S. Au­stin calls a Sacrament, Verbum vi­sibile) have usually been called Mysteries, (that is, actions of a close and occult importance, of deeper meaning and design, than is obvious to ordinary percepti­on) and thence are also called Sacraments, for no other reason, I conceive, then because the an­cientest [Page 215] translators of the Bible into Latin, did usually render the word [...] by the word Sacramentum; whence every thing containing under it some­what of abstruse meaning, is by ancient Writers termed a Sacra­ment. (So Tertullian calls all Chri­stianity the Sacrament of Chri­stian Religion; andExod 12. 26. Sacramenti na­tura disertè & planè expri­mitur. Elisha's Ax he calls the Sacrament of Wood; and S. Austin speaks of the Sacrament of Bread, of Fish, of Numbers, of the Rock, &c. In short, he says of all Signs, That when they belong to divine things, they are called Sacraments Nimis autem longum est convenienter disputare de varietate sig­norum, quae, cum ad res di­vinas perti­nent, Sacra­menta appel­lantur. Aug. Ep. 5.; which shews to how small pur­pose the disputes are, yea on what small grounds the decrees are, concerning the number, general nature, and efficacy of Sacra­ments; for where a name or form of a Sacrament is of so large, am­biguous, and indeterminate signi­fication, there can be nothing but [Page 216] confusion in the disputes about it) But those which chiefly at least, and in way of eminency have obtained this name, are those two instituted by our Lord, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper; of which I shall in order discourse; and so of each, as very briefly to consider the occasion of their institution, the actions injoined in them;In cunctis Christi actio­nibus Sacra­mentorum my­steria corusca­runt. Leo I. Ep. 4. the nature of them, or wherein their mystery doth con­sist, the ends for which they were intended, and the effects they produce; together with the di­spositions and duties (antece­dent, concomitant, and conse­quent) required of us in the use and practice of them. And first,

Of Baptism. [...]. Heb. 6. 1, 2.

THere were, (as the Apostle to the Hebrews telleth us) in sacred use among the Jews [...],Heb. 9. 10. several kinds of Baptisms. Seld. de Syne­driis. The learned in their Laws and Customs teach, that they never did receive any per­son into their Covenant, whe­ther that which was more strict (to which natural Jews, and Proselytes of Righteousness were tyed) or that which was more lax, with which Strangers and Proselytes of the gate did com­ply, without a Baptism. And that Priests and Levites entring into their Office,Exod. 29. 4. were to be san­ctifyed by washing with water,Numb. 8. 6. we see plainly prescribed in their Law; likewise that all persons, who had contracted any kind of [Page 218] defilement,Levit. 15. 8, 16, 18, 27. & 22. 6. were purified by the like Ceremony, particularly Children new-born,Numb. 19. 7, &c. is expressed there.Ezek. 16. 4. Moreover, that it was in use for Persons, who were conscious to themselves of having trangressed God's Law, being in God's Name invited by some person of eminent authority (a Prophet, Joh. 1. 25, 33. or like a Prophet, one commissionated by God) unto repentance, and amendment of life, to be washed by him, in testimony of their stedfast pur­pose to amend; and in hope to obtain pardon from God of their past offences, and to be reinsta­ted in his favour, appears proba­ble by S. John the Baptist his un­dertaking, and the success there­of. For if the manner of his proceeding had been altogether unusual, and unknown, so ma­ny it seems would not so readily (without any stir or obstacle) have complyed therewith; espe­cially [Page 219] among the Scribes and Pharisees, those zealous adhe­rents to traditionary practice, who to maintain their credit and interest with the people, were so averse from all appearance of novelty. This practice then of washing in so many cases, and to so many purposes customary a­mong God's people, to signify mens entring into a new state or course of life, being withal most apt and proper for his design, our Blessed Saviour, who never favoured needless innovations, was pleased to assume and impose upon the Disciples and followers of his Religion, accommodating it to those holy purposes, which we shall now endeavour to de­clare.

What the action it self enjoin­ed is,Mat. 28. 19. what the manner and form thereof,Mark 16. 15. is apparent by the words of our Lord's institution; Go­ing forth therefore, (saith he) [Page 220] teach (or disciple) all Nations, bap­tizing them in the name of the Fa­ther, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to ob­serve all things which I have com­manded you.

The Action is baptizing, or immersing in water; the Object thereof, those Persons of any Nation, whom his Ministers can by their instruction and perswa­sion render Disciples, that is, such as do sincerely believe the truth of his Doctrine, and seri­ously resolve to obey his Com­mandments. It is performed in the Name; that is, it is ministred by the authority, and bears spe­cial relation unto the Persons of the Blessed Trinity, as the chief Objects of the Faith professed, and the sole Objects of the obe­dience undertaken therein; as exhibiting gracious favours unto the person baptized, and as re­ceiving special obligations from him.

[Page 221] Such is the Action it self de­clared to be; the mystery there­of consists in its being a notable sign to represent, and an authen­tick Seal to ratify the collation then made of certain great be­nefits to us; and our undertak­ing correspondent duties toward God.

The Benefits which God then signifies, and (upon due terms) engageth to confer on us, are these:

1. The purgation or absolu­tion of us from the guilt of past offences, by a free and full re­mission of them, (the which washing by Water, cleansing from all stains, doth most appo­sitely represent) and conse­quently God's being reconciled unto us, his receiving us into a state of grace and favour, his freely justifying us, (that is, looking upon us, or treating us as just and innocent Persons, al­though [Page 222] before we stood guilty of heinous sins, and thereupon lya­ble to grievous punishments) that these benefits are conferred in Baptism, many places of Scrip­ture plainly shew; [and the Primitive Church, with most firm and unanimous consent, did be­lieve Vid. Just. A­pol. 2. Tertul. de Bapt. &c..] And now (said Ananias to S. Paul) Why dost thou tarry? Acts 22. 16. Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins. Acts 2. 38. And, Repent (saith S. Peter, preaching to the Jews) and let every one of you be baptized for the remission of sins. And,Ephes. 5. 26. Christ (saith S. Paul again to the Ephesians) loved his Church, and delivered himself for it, that he might sanctify it, purging it by the washing of water, [...], (that is, he effectually in Baptism consigned to the members of his Church, that mercy and remissi­on of sins, which he purchased and merited by his passion). And again,1 Cor. 6. 11. Such (saith he to the [Page 223] Corinthians) were some of you, (that is, ye were persons guilty of heinous sins) but ye have been washed, ye have been sanctifyed, ye have been justified in the name of our Lord, and by the spirit of our God; where, having been wash­ed in Christ's name, doth (in congruity with what is said in other places) denote Baptism in his name; being sanctified and justified, do express the first be­nefits accompanying that Bap­tism. And indeed, where-ever a general remission of sins, or a full sanctification, or consecrati­on, and justification, or consecrati­on, and justification of mens per­sons in God's sight, are menti­oned; that remission of sins, that separation, or dedication unto God's Service, that reception in­to Grace, which are consigned in Baptism, are (I conceive) un­derstood; there being no other season or occasion, wherein or­dinarily and visibly God doth [Page 224] exhibit those Benefits.

It may be demanded,Quid festinat innocens aetas ad remissionem peccatorum? Tertull. How Children, by reason of their in­nocent age, are capable of these Benefits; how they can be par­doned, who never had offended, how they can be justified, who never were capable of being un­just? I briefly answer, That be­cause they come from that race, which by sin had forfeited God's favour, and had alienated it self from him; because also they have in them those seeds of pravity from which afterward certainly, life continuing, (without God's restraining Grace) will sprout forth innumerable evil actions;—impletur a­pud nos spiritu sancto puero­rum innocens aetas, &c. Cypr. Ep. 10. therefore that God overlooking all the defects of their nature, both relative, and absolute, or personal, doth assume them into his special favour, is no small be­nefit to them, answerable to the remission of actual sin, and re­stitution from the state con­sequent [Page 225] thereon in others.

2. In Baptism, the Gift of God's Holy Spirit is conferred, qualifying us for the state into which we then come, and ena­bling us to perform the duties we then undertake, which other­wise we should be unable to perform; for purification of our hearts from vitious inclinations, and desires; for begetting holy dispositions, and affections in our Souls; for to guide and instruct us, to sustain and strengthen us, to encourage and comfort us in all the course of Christian piety: The which effects are well also figured by water, which purifieth things both from inherent and adherent filth. That this benefit is annexed to Baptism, the Scrip­ture also teacheth us:Acts 2. 38. Be bapti­zed (saith S. Peter) in the Name of Christ to the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost: 1 Cor. 12. 13. [...], [Page 226] We being baptized in one body, are made to drink of one spirit, saith S. Paul: And with the [...]. Tit. 3. 5. Laver of Regeneration, S. Paul again joineth the renova­tion of the Holy Ghost: And it is represented as an advantage of our Saviour's Baptism above that of John, that our Lord not only baptized with water to repentance, Mat. 3. 15. but with the Holy Ghost, and Fire.

Some preventing operations of the Holy Ghost (whereby God freely draweth Men to Christianity, persuading their minds to assent thereto, inspiring their hearts with resolutions to comply with it) do precede Bap­tism; but a more full communi­cation thereof (due by compact, assured by promise) for the con­firming, and maintaining us in the firm belief, and constant pra­ctice of Christianity, is conse­quent thereon;Ephes. 1. 14. After ye had be­lieved, [Page 227] ye were sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, saith S. Paul: To signify which benefit then conferr'd, the ancient Christians did to Baptism annex the Chrism, or holy Unction, signifying the collation of that healing and chearing Spirit to the baptized person; that which S. Paul may seem to respect, when he saith, He that establisheth (or confirm­eth) us with you into Christ, 2 Cor. 1. 21. and who hath anointed us, is God; who also hath sealed us, and hath given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

3. With those gifts is con­nected the benefit of Regenera­tion, implying our entrance in­to a new state and course of life; being endowed with new facul­ties, dispositions, and capacities of Souls, becoming new Crea­tures, and new Men,Ephes. 2. 22, 23, 24. as it were, renewed after the likeness of God in righteousness and true holiness, Colos. 3. 10. 2 Cor. 5. 17. [Page 228] our being sanctified in our hearts and lives; being mortified to fleshly lusts, and worldly affecti­ons; being quickned to a spiri­tual life, and heavenly conversa­tion: in short, becoming in re­lation and in disposition of mind, the children of God. This the matter, and the action of Bap­tism doth set out; for as children new born, (for cleansing them from impurities adherent from the Womb) both among the Jews and other people,Ezek. 16. 4. were wont to be washed; [...]. Theocr. so are we in Baptism, signifying our purifica­tion from natural and worldly defilements: The mersion also in Water, and the emersion thence, doth figure our death to the for­mer, and receiving to a new life. Whence Baptism is by S. Paul called the laver of Regeneration; Tit. 3. 5. and our Lord saith,John 3. 5. that, If a man be not born again of Water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into [Page 229] the Kingdom of God; that is, every one becoming a Christian, is by Baptism regenerated, or put into a new state of Life, getteth new dispositions of Soul, and new relations to God.Gal. 3. 26. Ye are all (saith S. Paul) the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus; that is, by embracing his Doctrine, and submitting to his Law pro­fessedly in Baptism.Rom. 6. 4. And,Col. 2. 12. We (saith S. Paul again) are buried with Christ through Baptism unto death; that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so also we should walk in newness of life.

4. With these Benefits is con­joined that of being inserted in­to God's Church, his family, the number of his chosen people, the mystical body of Christ, whereby we become entitled to the privileges and immunities of that heavenly Corporation.1 Cor. 12. 13. We (saith S. Paul) have been all bap­tized [Page 230] in one spirit into one body, the mystical body of Christ: And,Gal. 3. 27. so many of you (saith he again) as have been baptized into Christ, (into Christ mystical, or the Church) have put on Christ, and ye are (adds he) all one in Christ Jesus. As Proselytes among the Jews by Baptism were ad­mitted unto the Communion, and privileges of the Jewish; so thereby are we received into the like Communion and privileges of the Christian, far more excel­lent, Society.

5. In consequence of these things, there is with Baptism conferred a capacity of, a title unto, an assurance (under con­dition of persevering in faith and obedience to our Lord) of eternal life and salvation. We are therein, in S. Peter's words, regenerated unto a lively hope of an incorruptible inheritance, 1 Pet. 1. 2. by that resurrection of Christ, which is [Page 231] represented to us in this action; and so therein applied, as to be­get in us a title and a hope to rise again in like manner to a blissful life; whence we are said therein to rise with him:Colos. 2. 12. Being, saith S. Paul, buried with him in Baptism, wherein also we were raised again: whence by the two great Apostles, Baptism is said to save us: Baptism (saith S. Peter) the antitype of the delivery in the flood,1 Pet. 3. 21. doth save us, that is, ad­mitteth us into the Ark, putteth us into the sure way of Salva­tion;Tit. 3. 5. and, God (saith S. Paul) according to his mercy saved us, by the laver of regeneration; Mat. 16. 16. and, He that shall believe, and shall be bap­tized, shall be saved, is our Savi­our's own word and promise; shall be saved, that is, shall be put into a state and way of sal­vation, continuing in which state, proceeding in which way he as­suredly shall be saved: for Faith [Page 232] there denoteth perseverance in Faith, and Baptism implyeth per­formance of the conditions there­in undertaken; which next is to be considered.

For as this Holy Rite signifi­eth, and sealeth God's collation of so many great benefits on us; so it also implyeth, and on our part ratifieth our Obligation, then in an especial manner com­mencing, to several most impor­tant duties toward him. It im­plyeth, that we are in mind fully persuaded concerning the truth of that Doctrine, which God the Father revealed by his blessed Son, and confirmed by the mi­raculous operation of the Holy Ghost; we therein profess our humble and thankful embracing the overtures of Mercy and Grace, purchased for us by our Saviour's meritorious undertak­ing and performances, the which are then exhibited and tendred [Page 233] to us; we therein declare our hearty resolution to forsake all wicked courses of life, repug­nant to the Doctrine and Law of Christ; fully to conform our lives to his Will, living thereafter in all piety, righteousness, and sobriety, as loyal Subjects, faith­ful Servants, and dutiful Chil­dren to God; in brief, we therein are bound, renouncing all erroneous principles, all vi­tious inclinations, and all other engagements whatever, entirely to devote our selves to the Faith and Obedience of God the Fa­ther, our glorious and good Ma­ker; of God the Son our gra­cious Redeemer; of God the Holy Ghost our blessed Guide, Assistant, Advocate, and Com­forter: These are the duties an­tecedent unto, and concomitant of our Baptism (immediately and formally required of those, who are capable of performing [Page 234] them, mediately and virtually of them who are not) the which are signified by our being baptized in the Name of the Holy Trinity.

These duties the Scripture commonly expresseth by the Word, Faith and Repentance; sometimes singly, sometimes conjunctly:Acts 8. 37. If (said Philip to the Eunuch) thou believest with thy heart it is lawful (for thee to be baptized); Faith was an in­dispensible condition prerequi­site thereto; and, Repent (saith S. Peter) and let every of you be baptized; Acts 2. 38. Repentance also was necessary to precede it; indeed both these (as they are meant in this case) do in effect signify the same; each importeth a being renewed in Mind, in Judgment, in Will, in Affecti­on; a serious embracing of Christ's Doctrine, and a stedfast resolution to adhere thereto in practice. Hence are those ef­fects, [Page 235] or consequences attributed to Faith;Acts 26. 14. 5. 31. & 20. 21. & 26. 20. & 3. 19. & 17. 30. justifying us, recon­ciling and bringing us near to God,Rom. 5. 1, 2. & 3. 25. & 2. 4. saying us; because it is the necessary condition required by God,Gal. 2. 16. & 3. 8. and by him accepted,Heb. 10. 39. that we may be capable of these be­nefits conferred in Baptism;Ephes. 2. 8. & 3. 12. the same being also referr'd to that repentance,2 Thess. 2. 13. or change of mind,2 Tim. 2. 25. which must accompany our en­trance into Christianity;2 Pet. 3. 9. that good Conscience, Mat. 9. 13. with which we stipulate a perpetual devotion and obedience to God,Luke 24. 47. the which therefore doth (as S. Peter tel­leth us) save us; Mark 2. 17. it contributing to our Salvation,1 Pet. 3. 21. as a duty ne­cessarily required in order there­to.Rom. 6. 3, 4, &c This is that death to sin, and resurrection to righteousness, that being buried with Christ, and rising again with him, so as to walk in newness of life, which the baptismal action signifies, and which we then really undertake to perform.

[Page 236] And as such are the duties preceding or accompanying Baptism; so making good the engagements they contain, con­stantly persisting in them, main­taining and improving them, are duties necessarily consequent thereupon.Heb. 10. 23. Having (saith the Apostle) had our bodies washed with pure water, 2 Pet. 3. 17. let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering. We should indeed continually remember, frequent­ly and seriously consider, what in so solemn a manner we (upon so valuable considerations) did then undertake, promise, and vow to God, diligently striving to perform it; for violating our part of the Covenant, and sti­pulation then made, by apostacy in profession or practice from God and goodness, we certain­ly must forfeit those inestimable benefits, which God otherwise hath tied himself to bestow; [Page 237] the pardon of our sins, the fa­vour of God, the being mem­bers of Christ, the grace, gui­dance, assistance, and comfort of the Holy Spirit; the right unto, and hope of Salvation. We so doing, shall not only simply disobey, and offend God; but add the highest breach of fidelity to our disobedience, to­gether with the most heinous in­gratitude, abusing the greatest grace that could be vouchsafed us:Heb. 10. 26. If we wilfully sin, after we have taken the acknowledgment of the truth, (saith the Apostle, meaning that solmen profession of our Faith in Baptism) we trample under foot the Son of God; we profane the blood of the Cove­nant; we do despite unto the Spi­rit of Grace; and incurring so deep guilt, we must expect suta­ble punishment. But I proceed to the other Sacrament,

The Eucharist.

AMong the wonderful works of Power,Cyp. Epist. 63. and Grace per­formed by God Almighty, in favour of the Children of Is­rael, and in order to their deli­very from the Egyptian slavery, a most signal one, was the smit­ing the first-born in every house of the Egyptians, and passing over the houses of the Children of Israel; wherein God declared his just wrath against their cruel Oppressors, depriving them in a sudden and dreadful manner of what was nearest and dearest to them; and his gracious mercy toward them, in preserving what was alike dear to them from so woful a calamity; thus (as the Text expresseth it) putting a difference between the Egyptians and the Children of Israel. Now [Page 239] that the memory of so remark­able a Mercy might be preserved, that their affections might be raised to a strong sense of God's goodness, and their Faith in them confirmed, so as in the like need to hope for the same favourable help and protection, by the consideration of so notable an experiment, it pleased God to appoint a Sacrament, or mysteri­ous Rite to be annually celebra­ted, representing and recalling to mind, that Act of God, where­in his special kindness was so eminently demonstrated toward his People: The same also (as did other Rites and Sacrifices, institu­ted by God among that people) looking directly forward upon that other great delivery from Sin and Hell, which God in mercy designed toward man­kind, to be atchieved by our Saviour; prefiguring, that the Souls of them who should be [Page 240] willing to forsake the spiritual bondage of sin, should be saved from the ruin coming upon them who would abide therein; God regarding the blood of our Sa­viour (that immaculate Lamb,Exod. 12. 23. sacrificed for them) sprinkled upon the doors of their houses,Heb. 10. 22. that is,1 Pet. 1. 2. by hearty Faith and Re­pentance, applyed to their Con­sciences. The occasion of cele­brating which Holy Rite, our Saviour we see did improve to the institution of this Sacrament, most agreeing therewith in de­sign, as representative and com­memorative of the greatest bles­sing and mercy that we are ca­pable of having vouchsafed to us; some part of that ancient Rite, or Sacrifice (which was most suitable to the special pur­poses of this Institution, and most conformable to the general con­stitution of the Christian Reli­gion, whereby all bloody Sacri­fices [Page 241] are abolished) being re­tained in this.

The Action it self (or rather the whole Rite, consisting of divers actions) we see plainly described in the Gospels, and in the first Epistle of S. Paul to the Corinthians; distinguishable in­to these chief parts.1 Tim. 4. 5. 1. The Benediction and Consecration (by Prayer and Thanksgiving) of Bread and Wine. 2. The breaking of Bread, and handling the Cup. 3. The delivery and distribution of them to the per­sons present.Luk. 22. 19, 20. [...]. 4. The declara­tion accompanying that delivery,1 Cor. 11. 24, 25. [...]. that those symbolical things and actions did represent our Savi­our's Body given and broken,Luke 22. 7. [...]. our Saviour's Blood shed and poured out for us,Mark 14 23. [...]. in sanction of the new Covenant. 5. The actual partaking of those Sym­bols, by eating the Bread, and [Page 242] drinking the Wine, done by all present. These things we find done at the first institution and exemplary practice of this holy Ceremony; the which our Sa­viour obliged us to imitate, say­ing, Do this in remembrance of me. Mat. 26. 30. There followeth, in S. Mat­thew and S. Mark, Mark 14. 26. presently af­ter the narration concerning these particulars,— [...], And having sung a Hymn, they went to the Mount of Olives: Which action was indeed in it self proper to conclude the pra­ctice of this holy Rite, yet what reference it hath thereto, can­not thence be determined; How­ever with these the Church hath always joined several acts of De­votion (Confessions, Prayers, Praises, Thanksgivings, Inter­cessions, Vows) suitable to the nature and design of the Sacra­ment, apt to glorify God, and [Page 243] edify the Faithful in the celebra­tion thereof.

Such is the practice it self in­stituted and injoined by our Sa­viour; the mysterious impor­tance thereof, as we find it ex­plained in Holy Scripture, (the only solid and sure ground, upon which we can build the explication of supernatural My­steries) consisteth chiefly in these particulars:

1. It was intended for a Com­memorative representation of our Saviour's Passion for us; fit to mind us of it, to move us to consider it, to beget affections in us, suitable to the memo­ry and consideration thereof: [...] Do this (saith our Lord) for my remembrance, Luke 22. 19. or in commemora­tion of me;1 Cor. 11. 25. that is so, as there­by to have raised in you a re­flection [Page 244] of mind and heart upon those grievous pains, which I shall have endured for your sake, to procure for you a re­mission of sins, and reconcilia­tion to God:1 Cor. 11. 26. And, So often (saith S. Paul) as you eat this Bread, and drink this Cup, [...], Ye tell forth (or significantly express) the death of our Lord till he come, or du­ring his absence from us. The suffering of our Saviour (the most wonderful act of Good­ness and Charity, that ever was performed in the World, which produced effects of highest con­sequence to our benefit, the con­sideration whereof is apt to work the best dispositions of piety in us) should very fre­quently be present to our thoughts and affections; and that it may be so with advan­tage, such a solemn and sensible [Page 245] representation thereof is very conducible; wherein we behold him crucified, as it were in effigie, his Body broken, his Blood poured out for us; it be­ing in a sort a putting us into the circumstances of those, who did behold our Saviour for us hang­ing upon the Cross. Our Lord being absent in Body from us, (sitting in Heaven at God's right hand) to supply that ab­sence, that we should not be apt to forget him, and thereby be­come wholly estranged from him, is pleased to order this oc­casion of being present, and conversing with us, in such a manner, as may retain in our memories his gracious perfor­mances for us; may impress in our hearts a kindly sense of them; may raise us up in mind and affection to him.

[Page 246] 2. The Benefits consequent upon our Saviour's Passion, rightly apprehended, heartily believed, seriously considered by us, are hereby lively repre­sented, and effectually convey­ed; to the sustenance and nou­rishment of our spiritual Life, to the refreshment and comfort of our Souls. It is a holy Feast, a spiritual Repast, a divine Enter­tainment, to which God in kind­ness invites us; to which if we come with well-disposed minds, he there feeds us with most holy and delicious Viands, with hea­venly Manna, with most reviving and cherishing Liquor. Bread is the staff of Life, the most common, most necessary, and most wholsome, and most savo­ry Meat; Wine is the most plea­sant and wholsome also, the most sprightly and cordial Drink; by them therefore our Lord chose [Page 247] to represent that Body and Blood, by the Oblation of which a capacity of life and health was procured to Man­kind; the taking in which by right apprehension, tasting it by hearty Faith, digesting it by careful attention and meditati­on, converting it into our sub­stance by devout, grateful, and holy affections, joined with seri­ous and steady resolutions of living answerable thereto, will certainly support and maintain our spiritual Life in a vigorous Health, and happy growth of Grace; refreshing our hearts with comfort and satisfaction un­speakable;Joh 6. 51, 47. & 5. 36. He that doth thus, eats our Saviour's Flesh, and drinks his Blood, (that is, who as our Saviour interpreteth it, doth be­lieve in him; that Belief import­ing all other acts of Mind and Will, connected with right per­suasions [Page 248] concerning him) hath eternal life, and shall live for ever, as himself declares and promises: which Benefits therefore in the due performance of this holy Duty, are conveyed unto us.

3. This Sacrament declares that Union, which good Chri­stians partaking thereof have with Christ; their mystical in­sertion into him, by a close de­pendence upon him for spiritual Life,Joh. 15. 4. Mercy, Grace, and Salva­tion; a constant adherence to him by Faith and Obedience, a near conformity to him in Mind and Affection; an inseparable conjunction with him, by the strictest bands of fidelity, and by the most endearing Relations: Which things could not more fitly be set out, than by the par­taking our best and most necessa­ry Food; which being taken in, [Page 249] soon becomes united to us, as­similated and converted into our substance; thereby renewing our strength, and repairing the decays of our nature: Where­fore,John 6. 56. He (saith our Saviour) that eateth my Flesh, and drinketh my Blood, abides in me, and I in him; 1 Cor. 10. 16. and, The Cup of Blessing (saith S. Paul) which we bless, is it not the Communion of the Blood of Christ? the Bread which we break, is it not the Communion of the Body of Christ? We in the outward Action, partake of the Symbols representing our Savi­our's Body and Blood; We in the spiritual Intention, commu­nicate of his very Person, be­ing (according to the manner insinuated) intimately united to him.

4. By this Sacrament conse­quently is signified and sealed [Page 250] that Union, which is among our Saviour's true Disciples commu­nicating therein; their being to­gether united in consent of mind, and unity of Faith; in mutual good will and affection, in hope and tendency to the same blessed end, in spiritual Brotherhood and Society; especially upon ac­count of their Communion with Christ, which most closely ties them one to another;Vid. Cyp. Ep. 63. p. 146. they par­taking of this one individual Food,Ep. 67. p. 208. become translated, as it were, into one Body and Sub­stance: Seeing (saith S. Paul) we being many, 1 Cor. 10. 17. are one Bread, one Body; for all of us do partake of one Bread.

In the representing, produce­ing, and promoting these things, we are taught the Mystery of this Sacrament doth consist; It was designed as a proper and [Page 251] efficacious Instrument, to raise in us pious Affections toward our good God, and gracious Redeemer; to dispose us to all holy practice; to confirm our Faith, to nourish our Hope, to quicken our Resolutions of walking carefully in the ways of Duty; to unite us more fastly to our Saviour, and to combine us in Charity one toward ano­ther; the accomplishing of which Intents thereof, doth suppose our faithful and diligent concurrence in the use thereof; whence a­rise many Duties incumbent up­on us in respect thereto, some antecedent, some concomitant, some consequent to the use there­of.

1. Before we address our selves to the partaking of this venerable Mystery, we should consider whither we are going, [Page 252] what is the nature and impor­tance of the Action we set our selves about; that we are ap­proaching to our Lord's Table, 1 Cor. 10. 21. (so S. Paul calleth it) to come into his more especial presence, to be entertained by him with the dearest welcome, and the best chear that can be; to re­ceive the fullest testimonies of his Mercy, and the surest pledges of his favour toward us; that we are going to behold our Lord in tenderest love, offering up himself a Sacrifice to God, therein undergoing the sorest pains, and foulest disgraces for our Good and Salvation; that we ought therefore to bring with us dispositions of Soul, suitable to such an access unto, such an entercourse with our gracious Lord. Had we the honour and favour to be invited to the Ta­ble of a great Prince, what [Page 253] especial care should we have to dress our Bodies in a clean and decent garb, to compose our minds in order to expression of all due respect to him; to bring nothing about us noisome or ugly, that might offend his sight, or displease his mind? The like surely, and greater care we should apply, when we thus be­ing called, do go into God's Presence and Communion. We should, in preparation thereto, with all our power, endeavour to cleanse our Souls from all impurity of thought and desire; from all iniquity and perverse­ness; from all malice, envy, ha­tred, anger, and all such evil dispositions, which are most of­fensive to God's all-piercing sight, and unbeseeming his glo­rious Presence; we should dress our Souls with all those comely Ornaments of Grace (with [Page 254] purity, humility, meekness, and charity) which will render us acceptable and well-pleasing to him: We should compose our minds into a frame of reverence and awful regard to the Majesty of God, into a lowly, calm, and tender disposition of heart, apt to express all respect due to his Presence, fit to admit the gracious illapses of his Holy Spirit; very susceptive of all Holy and Heavenly Affections, which are sutable to such a Com­munion, or may spring from it. We should therefore remove and abandon from us, not only all vitious Inclinations, and evil purposes; but even all worldly cares, desires, and passions, which may distract, or discom­pose us, that may dull or deject us, that may cause us to behave our selves indecently or unwor­thily before God, that may be­reave [Page 255] us of the excellent Fruits from so blessed an entertain­ment.

To these purposes we should, according to S. Paul's advice, [...],1 Cor. 11. 28. examine and approve our selves; considering our past Actions, and our pre­sent Inclinations, and according­ly, by serious meditation, and fervent prayer to God for his gracious assistance therein, work­ing our Souls into a hearty re­morse for our past miscarriages, and a sincere resolution to amend for the future; forsaking all sin, endeavouring in all our actions to serve and please God;1 Cor. 5. 7. purg­ing out (as S. Paul again injoin­eth us) the old leaven of vice and wickedness; so that we may feast, and celebrate this Passeover, in which Christ is mystically sacri­ficed for us, in the unleavened [Page 256] dispositions of sincerity and truth. Such are the duties pre­vious to our partaking this Sa­crament.

2. Those Duties which ac­company it, are a reverent and devout affection of heart, with a suitable behaviour there­in; an awful sense of mind be­fitting the Majesty of that Pre­sence wherein we do appear, answerable to the greatness, and goodness, and holiness of him, with whom we converse; be­coming the sacredness of those Mysteries, which are exhibited to us, (that which S. Paul seem­eth to call [...],1 Cor. 11. 29. to discern or distinguish our Lord's Body; that is, yielding a peculiar reverence of mind and behaviour in regard thereto) a devotion of heart, consisting in hearty contrition for our sins, [Page 257] which did expose our Saviour to the enduring such pains, then remembred; in firm resolution to forsake the like thereafter, as injurious, dishonourable, and displeasing to him; in fervent love of him, as full of so won­derful goodness and charity toward us; in most hearty thankfulness for those uncon­ceivably great expressions of kindness toward us; in deepest humility, upon sense of our un­worthiness, to receive such te­stimonies of grace and favour from him, (our unworthiness to eat the Crumbs that fall from his Table, how much more to be admitted into such degrees of honourable Communion, and familiarity, of close conjunction and union with him?) of pious joy in consideration of the ex­cellent privileges herein impar­ted, and of the blessed Fruits [Page 258] accruing to us from his gracious performances; in a comfortable hope of obtaining and enjoy­ing the benefits of his obedience and passion, by the assistance of his Grace; in steady Faith, and full persuasion of mind, that he is (supposing our dutiful com­pliance) ready to bestow up­on us all the blessings then ex­hibited; in attentively fixing the eyes of our Mind, and all the powers of our Soul (our Understanding, Will, Memory, Fancy, Affection) upon him, as willingly pouring forth his Life for our Salvation; lastly, in motions of enlarged good­will and charity toward all our Brethren for his sake, in obedi­ence to his Will, and in imitation of him; such-like Duties should attend our participation of this holy Sacrament.

[Page 259] 3. The effects of having du­ly performed which, should ap­pear in the practice of those Duties, which are consequent thereon; being such as these; An increase of all pious inclina­tions and affections, expressing themselves in a real amendment of our lives, and producing more goodly fruits of obedi­ence; the thorough digestion of that spiritual nourishment by our becoming more fastly knit to our Saviour by higher de­grees of Faith and Love; the maintaining a more lively sense of his superabundant goodness; the cherishing those influences of Grace, which descend upon our hearts in this Communion, and improving them to nearer degrees of perfection in all piety and vertue; a watchful care, and endeavour in our lives to [Page 260] approve our selves in some mea­sure worthy of that great ho­nour and favour, which God hath vouchsafed us in admitting us to so near approaches to himself; an earnest pursuance of the Resolutions, performance of the Vows, making good the Engagements, which in so so­lemn a manner, upon so great an occasion we made, and of­fered up unto our God and Sa­viour; finally, the considering, that by the breach of such Re­solutions, by the violation of such Engagements, our sins re­ceiving so mighty aggravation of vain inconstancy and wicked perfidiousness, our guilt will hugely be increased; our Souls relapsing into so grievous distem­per, our spiritual strength will be exceedingly impaired; con­sequently hence our true Com­forts will be abated, our best [Page 261] hopes will be shaken; our eter­nal state will be desperately en­dangered.

There is one Duty which I should not forbear to touch, concerning this Sacrament, that is, Our gladly embracing any opportunity presented of com­municating therein; the doing so, being not only our Duty, but a great aid and instrument of Piety; the neglecting it a grievous sin, and productive of great mischiefs to us.

The Primitive Christians did very frequently use it, partaking therein, as it seems at every time of their meeting for God's Service; it is said of them, by S. Luke, Acts 2. 42. that They continued sted­fastly in the Apostles Doctrine, and Communion, and in breaking of Bread, and in Prayers; and, [Page 262] when you meet together, it is not (as according to the intent and duty of meeting it should be) to eat the Lord's Supper, 1 Cor. 10. 20. saith S. Paul: And Just. Martyr in his second Apologie, describing the religious Service of God in their Assemblies, mention­eth it as a constant part thereof; and Epiphanius reporteth it as a Custom in the Church, derived from Apostolical Institution, to celebrate the Eucharist thrice every week, that is, so often as they did meet to pray and praise God; which practice may well be conceived, a great means of kindling and preserving in them that holy fervour of Piety, which they so illustriously ex­pressed in their Conversation, and in their gladsome suffering for Christ's sake: and the remit­ting of that frequency, as it is certainly a sign and an effect, so in part it may possibly be [Page 263] reckoned a cause of the dege­neracy of Christian Practice, in­to that great coldness and slack­ness which afterward did seize upon it, and now doth appa­rently keep it in a languishing and half-dying state.

The rarer occasions therefore we now have of performing this Duty, (the which indeed was always esteemed the principal Office of God's Service) of en­joying this Benefit, (the being deprived whereof, was also deemed the greatest punishment and infelicity that could arrive to a Christian) the more ready we should be to embrace them. If we dread God's Displeasure, if we value our Lord and his Benefits, if we tender the life, health, and welfare of our Souls, we shall not neglect it; for how can we but extreamly offend God by so extream rudeness, [Page 264] that when he kindly invites us to his Table, we are averse from coming thither, or utterly re­fuse it? That when he calleth us into his Presence, we run from him; that when he, with his own hand, offereth us inestimable Mercies and Blessings, we reject them? It is not only the breach of God's Command, who en­joined us to do this, but a direct contempt of his Favour and Goodness, most clearly and largely exhibited in this Office. And how can we bear any re­gard to our Lord, or be any wise sensible of his gracious Per­formances in our behalf, if we are unwilling to join in thank­ful and joyful commemoration of them? How little do we love our own Souls, if we suffer them to pine and starve for want of that Food, which God here dispenseth for its Sustenance [Page 265] and Comfort; if we bereave them of enjoying so high a Privilege, so inestimable a Bene­fit, so incomparable Pleasures as are to be found and felt in this Service, or do spring and flow from it? What reasonable ex­cuse can we frame for such neglect? are we otherwise em­ployed? What Business can there be more important, than serving God, and saying our own Souls? Is it wisdom, in pursu­ance of any the greatest Affair here, to disregard the principal Concern of our Souls? Do we think our selves unfit and un­worthy to appear in God's Pre­sence? But is any man unwor­thy to obey God's Commands? Is any Man unfit to implore and partake of God's Mercy, if he be not unwilling to do it? What unworthiness should hin­der us from remembring our [Page 266] Lord's excessive Charity towards us, and thanking him for it? from praying for his Grace; from resolving to amend our lives? Must we, because we are unworthy, continue so still, by shunning the means of cor­recting and curing us? Must we encrease our unworthiness, by transgressing our Duty? If we esteem things well, the consci­ence of our sinfulness should rather drive us to it, as to our Medicine, than detain us from it. There is no man indeed, who must not conceive and con­fess himself unworthy; there­fore must no man come thither at God's Call? If we have a sense of our sins, and a mind to leave them; if we have a sense of God's goodness, and a heart to thank him for it; we are so worthy, that we shall be kindly received there, and gra­ciously [Page 267] rewarded. If we will not take a little care to work these dispositions in us, we are indeed unworthy; but the be­ing so, from our own perverse negligence, is a bad excuse for the neglect of our Duty. In fine, I dare say, that he, who with an honest meaning (altho with an imperfect devotion) doth address himself to the per­formance of this Duty, is far more excusable, than he that up­on whatever score declineth it; no scrupulous shiness can ward us from blame; what then shall we say, if supine sloth, or pro­phane contempt, are the causes of such neglect?

[...],Mens deficit, quam non re­cepta Eucha­ristia erigit & accendit. Cyp. Ep. 54. [...] [Page 268] [...]. Chrys. in 1 Cor. Or. 24.

Thus having briefly dispatched the Considerations that offered themselves upon these Subjects, I shall conclude all with Prayer to Almighty God, that we by his grace and help believing rightly, strongly, constantly, and finally; being frequent and fervent in Prayer, and all pious devotion, sincerely obeying all God's Com­mandments; continuing order­ly, dutiful, and worthy Members of Christ's Church, growing con­tinually in Grace, by the worthy participation of the Holy Sacra­ments, may obtain the end of our Faith, the success of our Prayers, the reward of our O­bedience, the continuance in that Holy Society, the perfect consummation of Grace in the [Page 269] possession of eternal Joy, Glo­ry, and Bliss; which God in his infinite Mercy grant to us, for our blessed Saviour's sake; to whom be all glory and praise for ever and ever. Amen.


Books writ by the Learned Dr. Isaac Barrow, and printed for Brabazon Ayl­mer, at the Three Pigeons over against the Royal Exchange in Cornhill.

TWelve Sermons preached upon Several Occasions: In Octavo, being the First Volume.

Ten Sermons against Evil Speaking, In Octavo, being the Second Volume.

Eight Sermons of the Love of God and our Neighbour: In Octavo, being the Third Volume.

The Duty and Reward of Bounty to the Poor: In a Ser­mon, much enlarged, preached at the Spittal upon Wednesday in Easter Week, Anno Dom. 1671. In Octavo.

[Page] A Sermon upon the Passion of our Blessed Saviour: Preached at Guild-Hall Chappel, on Good-Friday, the 13th day of April, 1677. In Octavo.

A Learned Treatise of the Pope's Supremacy. To which is added a Discourse concerning the Unity of the Church. In Quarto.

The said Discourse concerning the Unity of the Church, is also printed alone: In Octavo.

An Exposition of the Lord's Prayer; of the Ten Command­ments. And the Doctrine of the Sacraments: In Octavo.

All the said Books of the Lear­ned Dr. Isaac Barrow, (except the Sermon of Bounty to the Poor) are since the Author's death Pub­lished by Dr. Tillotson Dean of Canterbury.

The true and lively Effigies of Dr. Isaac Barrow, in a large Print; Ingraven (from the Life) by the excellent Artist D. Loggan: Price without Frame six pence.

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