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mount unto the people, and sanctified the people ; and they 15 washed their clothes. And he said unto the people, Be
ready against the third day : come not at (your) wives ; abstain even from lawful enjoyments, that your minds may be
wholly intent upon this solemn busine88. 16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that
there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, out of which the lighinings came, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud ; the angel, by whosc disposition
the law was delivered, made a sound like a loud trumpet; so that 17 all the people that (was] in the camp trembled. And Moses
brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God : 18 and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount
Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire : and the smoke thereof ascended as the
smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. 19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed
louder and louder, (the Hebrew is very emphatical, and signi. fies, when it exceeded itself) then Moses spake, as mediator,
and God answered him by a voice, by plain, distinct, audible 20 words, so that the people might hear, v. 9.* And the LORD
came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount ; and the LORD called Moses, to encourage him, [up] to the top of the mount ; and Moses went up. This was a remarkable in
stance of resolution, a great triumph of faith in God, and showed 21 a full persuasion of his mission. And the LORD said unto Mo
ses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish. (How
much tenderness and compassion does God mingle with all his 22 glory and majesty.) And let the priests, also, the firstborn, or
some illustrious princes, or heads of tribes, who might officiate on this occasion, which come near to the Lord, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them. And Meses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai : for thon charge ist us, saving, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it. They had been already sufficiently ad.
monished, but God knowing their dulness and hardness of heart, 24 saw it necessary to repeat it again. And the LORD said unto
him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and • Aaron with thee, who is soon to be constituted high priest; and
this will prove his mission, and secure the respect of the people to him : but let not the priests and the people break through
to come up unto the Lord, lest he break forth upon them. 25 So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them,
stayed with them, or near enough within the bounds to speak to them, while God declared the law, as in the next chapter.
What a voice must this be, that six hundred thousand men, beside women and chil. dren, should hear it so plainly! No wonder it threw them into the greatest consternation. The people trembled before at the sound, but now Moses said, I exceedingly fear and gitałce
1. T E T us admire and adore the majesty of God, thus so re
U markably displayed. The Son of God, being vested with divine authority, and acting as the ambassador and representative of the Father, came down with such pomp and splendor, to publish the law. The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels : the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, the holy place. Psalm lxviii. 17. Let us reverence the Son of God, who hath such honour conferred upon him ; and learn, if Jehovah's representative was so attended on this occasion, how glori. ous must Jehovah himself be, who dwells in light inaccessible ! Justly may we ask with the Psalmist, What ailed thee, O Sinai, that thou trembledst? Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams ? And ye little hills, like lambs ? And justly may we reply, Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob.
2. How terrible will the punishment of those be, who violate the law which was given with such solemnity ! He that despised Moses' law, died without mercy; he that came near the mount, was put to death. How awful is God in his judgments, and how careful to maintain the honour of his law ! When we consider the breadth and extent of the commands which he now delivered, and which, being of a moral nature, are binding upon us, let us be afraid of his righteous judgments, and labour to continue in all things written in the buok of the law, to do them.
3. We should adore the condescension and goodness of God in taking the Jews to be his peculiar people, when all the earth was the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. He had little reason to choose them, for they were a perverse and rebellious people. Let us be thankful, that christians are admitted to the same privileges ; that the Gentiles are taken in ; that we, in this distant land, are so highly favoured, when all the earth is his. We enjoy nobler privileges than the Jews, are made kings and priests to God, and are brought nigh by the blood of Christ. Let us attend to the apostle's inference from this thought; But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of him, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light, 1 Pet. ii. 9.
4. Let us consider the obligations which the goodness of God tay us under, to receive the law at his mouth. He hath delivered us from spiritual enemies, out of Egyptian darkness and tyranny. He bears us, as it were on eagles' wings ; hath exercised his power and care toward us, and raised us to exalted privileges and hopes. It is therefore reasonable we should say, as Israel did, v. 8. . All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.
5. Let us all be solicitous to sanctify ourselves, and prepare for the solemn seasons of approaching to God. We come every sabbath to hear his law ; God speaks to us in his word, as plainly as he did on Sinai. Let us be thankful that such favours are conferred upon us, that we are admitted near to God ; and therefore cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. He that would profitably worship the gods,' saith an heathen philosopher, must not worship them by the bye, but with previous thought.' We should maintain such a reverent sense of his presence, and of our relation to him, that we may offer a reasonable sacrifice whenever we approach to him. God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of his saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that come nigh unto him.
The ten commandments are given ; the terror of the people, and the address of Moses to them, on that occasion; with some particular cautions and directions about divine worship. 1 A ND God spake all these words immediately by himself ;
11 spake with a voice, which, Paul tells us, shook the earth; this numerous assembly of near two millions of people* heard it, 2 saying, I, the almighty, selfexistent, immutable Jehovah, (am)
the Lord thy God and king, and stand in a peculiar relation to thee ; which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out
of the house of bondage, and therefore thou art in gratitude 3 bound to obey me. Thou shalt have no other gods before me ;
thou shalt believe in no other, and worship no other god; prefer none other to me, nor set up any in comparison with me, not even
in thy heart ; for as all is naked and open before me, I shall see 4 it, and be highly displeased at it. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness (of any thing) that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth. Thou shalt make no like
ness of God, or angels, or beasts, or fishes, to worship them.t 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them ;
for I the LORD thy God (am) a jealous God, tender of my honour, and will bear no rival, nor give my glory to another, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the
• Including men, women and children.
+ The first command forbidls all feigned gods, this second forbids all feigned service of the true God; all representations of him, or worshipping him by images. This was a neces sary caution, bec.vuse the Egyptians worshipped beasts and fishes. This also forbids any pretended medium of worship, any worship of God through images, saints, or angels.
Here is a remarkable gradition. Thou shalt not make them thyself, nor bow to them in other places, though made by other persons; thou shalt not pay them any kind of respect, much less worship them and ofer sacrifices to them,
third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me ; all idolaters do 80, whatever they pretend; I know it, and will punish them for it : and these judgments shall affect their children to the
third and fourth generation, if they continue in the sins of their 6 fathers : And showing mercy unto thousands of generations 7 of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Thou
shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; shalt not swear by it falsely, nor use it irreverently ; thou shalt not trifle with it in worship, nor in common discourse ; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain ; whatever men do, however magistrates may overlook it, be assured that God will punish it. It is impossible that men
should always discover perjury, or fraud, or hypocrisy ; but I 8 know it, and will severely punish it. Remember* the sabbath
day, to keep it holy. Remember it, consider it well, lay it to heart, and so order all thy affairs, as not to hinder the observation of it. Remember it, to keep it holy ; by careful abstinence from servile works, and worldly businesses, and by diligently employing it in holy thoughts, words, and works ; in the worship of God, both public and private, and in furthering your own 9 and others sanctification and salvation. Six days shalt thou 11 labour, and do all thy work : But the seventh day [is] the
sabbath of the LORD thy God, is set apart by him from the beginning, and is consecrated to his service and honour ; [in it) thou shalt not do any work, any common worldly business, or take unnecessary journeys, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man servant, nor thy maid servant, nor thy cattle,
nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates, the Gentiles that 11 sojourn with thee : For [in] six days the LORD made heaven
and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is,] and rested the seventh day, from works of creation, though not of providence and grate : wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day,t and hallowed it: He blessed it, that is, made it a day of blessing, when men should enjoy his favour, reflect on his goodness, and have the means of the highest happines8 : he separated it from
the rest of the days, and from all common employments, and con12 secrated it to his own holy service, and to man's holy use.t Hon
our thy father and thy mother, honour them in thy heart ; rev. erence, fear, and love them ; honour them in thy actions, by obedience to their instructions ; supplying their wants, covering
The word remember, shows that the sabbath was instituted before this time; it is the
ing of an old law.
+ Not the seventh dav from the creation, but the day of religious rest. whether the Jewish or christian sabbath ; and the change thereof s«eins to be bereby intimated These tommands relate to God and his worship ; what follow, relate to our neighbour; and they are called the second table.
See Orton's Religious Exercises Recommented: or, Discourses on Serret and Family Worship, an the Religious Observation of the Lord', Day. with two Discourses on the Heavenly State, considered under the Hea of a Sabbath. The second edition, price 3 A book, says an eminent divine of the Church of England, which well deserves the frcqueat and attentive perusal of every serious christian. VOL. I.
their infirmities, and showing all respect and duty to them
that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy 13 God giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill ; Thou shalt forlear all
revengeful, angry thoughts (Mat. v. 21, 22. 1 John iii. 15.)
and do all thou canst to preserve thy own life, and the lives of 14 others. Thou shalt not commit adultery ;t thou shalt shun
all means, occasions, and appearances of uneleanness ; and ex
ercise chastity in thought, affection, words, attire, and gesture. 15 Thou shalt not steal, not take away another man's goods by de
ceit or violence, or without his knowledge and consent : nor use
any fraudulent dealing, (1 Thess. iv. 6.) but give every one his 16 due. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour, 17 nor speak an untruth upon any occasion whatsoever. 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 ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's ; not give way to the inward motions of thy heart toward that which is evil, (Rom. vii. 7.) particularly not to an inordinate desire of thai which is thy neighbour's; but be fully con
tent with thy own condition, Heb. xiii. 5.1 18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings,
and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking ;
and when the people saw [it,) they removed, and stood afar off. 19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will
hear : but let not God speak with us, lest we die. The terror
of the sound overwhelmed them, and they feared lest the fire, out 20 of which the voice came, should consume them. And Moses
said unto the people, Fear not, no harm shall come unto you : for God is come to prove you, to see whether this appearance will influence your minds, and impress you with a sense of his
majesty, as the best foundation of obedience ; and that his fear 21 may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people
stood afar off, and Moses, full of faith and confidence in God,
drew near unto the thick darkness where God (was.] 22 And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto
the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with
you from heaven ; ye have heard my voice, but ye have seen no 23 shape or appearance of me ; therefore, Ye shall not make with : me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of 24 gold, to worship me by, or together with me. An altar of earth
It refers primarily to our parents, and includes all superiors in authority, whether in the family, the church, or the state, and all superiors in age, in gifts, or grace. This is the first command with a promise, which was peculiarly suited to th
pocularly suited to the Jews, and directed their views toward Canaan.
+ Only one species of uncleanness is mentioned, because that was peculiarly abominable, but it includes all others.
This is a key to open the meaning of all the other commands, and shows that God regards the teinper of mind, as well as the outward action. It will be proper to read here our Lord's sermon on the mount, to observe how he illustrates and explains these precepts, and by what arguments he enforces them; for he came not to destroy this law, but to fulfil and establish it,