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Of the Decalogue.
ATTERS had a quite different appearance under Moses. What was spoken here and there, and delivered only by word of mouth, was now enlarged with very many additions, digested into one system, and, at the command of God, consigned to unperishing records; which neither the rage of enemies, nor fire, nor sword, nor all-consuming time, shall be able to abolish. But neither the nature of our design, nor our intended brevity, will permit us to prosecute every thing at large, that comes under this head. In this chapter we shall treat concerning the giving of the law, and the covenant of God with the Israelites founded on that law.
II. It was the peculiar privilege of the people of Israel above other nations, that to them pertained the covenants and the giving of the law, Rom. ix. 4. Now, the laws given them, were of several kinds; of which there are only three mentioned by divines. The moral, VOL. III.
or the decalogue, the ceremonial, and the political, or
1. As rational creatures, depend-
3. As a peculiar people, who had a polity or government, suited to their genius and disposition, in the land of Canaan : A republic constituted not so much according to those forms which philosophers have delineated, but which was, in a peculiar manner, a theocracy, as Josephus significantly calls it, God himself holding the reins of government therein, Judg. viii. 23. Under that view God prescribed them political laws.
III. We are first to speak of the decalogue and its promulgation. Moses has accurately described it Exod. xix. & xx. The Largiver, or if you
will the Legislator, is God himself. The one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy, Jam. iv. 12. who has a right of dominion over the consciences of men : who, as the supreme reason or cause, is the rule of all reasonable creatures ; and as the supreme Lord, is the Ruler of all, and, by taking Israel to himself for a people, in an especial manner shewed himself to be their God. In the first words of the law, he asserts his own Divinity, proclaiming, I am Jehovah thy God.
IV. But we judge it criminal for any to doubt, that this is to be understood of the whole undivided Trinity, whose equal majesty in one Deity we are all bound to acknowledge and worship. Nevertheless, as the Son of God was then, in a certain peculiar respect, the King of the people of Israel, and of the church at that time; the giving of the law is also, in a singular manner, ascribed to him. For Stephen, in express words, declares, Acts vii. 38. compared with ver, 35. that it was an angel, who spoke with Moses and the fathers on mount Sinai, even that very àngel, who appeared to Moses in the bush, and said, that he was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now, no Christian will deny, that this was Christ. And Christ certainly is he roho ascended on high, &c. Psal. Ixviii. 18. compared with Eph. iv. 8: But he himself rvent forth before his people in the wilderness, when the earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God; 'even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel, that is, at the giving of the law, Psal. lxviii. 7, 8. Certainly the apostle, Heb. xii. 26. says, that he toho spoke from hedven, and whose voice then (namely, at the giving of the law) shook the earth, was our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom we are now also to hearken ; as Zanchius has learnedly observed, tom. iv. lib. 1. c. 12; who professedly and at large proves, that he who promulgated the law, was the Son of God, de tribus Elohim, lib. 2. c. 3.
V. What the celebrated Jac. Altingius has observed on Deut. v. 6. from a catechism of the ancient Jews, very much deserves our notice. The Jews say, “Three ispirits are united in one ; the lowest spirit, which is called the holy spirit : the middle spirit, which is the intermediate, and called wisdom and intelligence; and this is the spirit which proceeds from the midst of the most consummate beauty, with fire and water : the su
preme spirit, which is absolutely in silence, in whom all the holy spirits, and all the bright persons consist," Rahanat. fol. 132. col. 3. They also say, that I, and
, thou, and he, are names of God, denoting three persons, and, at the feast of tabernacles, they all profess it in their
prayers : I and he, save, I pray. Moreover, they say, that, when the law was promulgated, there were two persons. For, quite to the end of the second commandment, the discourse runs in the first person, I the Lord thy God, &c. For I the Lord God, &c. of those that hate me, &c. of those that love me, &c. In the third and following commandments, God is mentioned in the third person : Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God, &c. The sabbath of the Lord thy God. Which having observed, they proceed thus : “ That the two first words or commandments, were spoke by the supreme spirit; but the other words, by his glory, called EL SCHADDAI, known to the fathers, by whom the prophets prophesied, who is called Jah, in whom is the name of God, the beloved of God who dwelt in the temple, and the mouth of God, and the face of God, and the rock, and that goodness which Moses saw, when he could not see God,” Bechai, fol. 88. col. 3, 4. Elsewhere they call him the Schechinah, “ by whom there is access to God, by whom prayers are poured out to God: who is that angel, who has the name of God in him, who also himself is called God and Jehovah.” I inquire not now, how solid these reasonings of the Jews are. It is sufficient to have mentioned these remarkable records of an ancient cate, chism concerning the plurality of the divine persons; of which there are also indications in the decalogue itself.
VI. Angels were present, as ministers, at the giving of the law by the Lord Christ. Whence Stephen says,