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we must take and measure our inward obedience to all the other commandments contained in the second table of God's law. For the Lawgiver having in the rest of the commandments dealt with those sins especially which stand in deeds, and are done of purpose, or with an advised consent of will, (although there is no doubt but that the law of restraining concupiscence is implied and included in all the former commandments.) Now last of all, in this last commandment he deals with those sins which are called only concupiscences, and do contain all inward stirring and conceit in the understanding and affections against every commandment of the law, and are, as it were, rivers boiling out of the fountain of that original sin; for to covet, in this place, signifies to have a motion of the heart without any settled consent. Briefly, then, in this commandment is forbidden, not only the evil act and evil thought settled, and with full and deliberate consent of will, as in the former commandments, but here also is forbidden the very first motions and inclinations to every evil that is forbidden in any of the former commandments, as it is evident, Rom. vii. 7; and xiii. 9; for it is not said in this commandment, Thou shalt not consent to Just, but, “ Thou shalt not lust.” It does not only command the the binding of lust, but it also forbids the being of Inst; which being so, who sees not that in this commandment is contained the perfect obedience to the whole law ? for how comes it to pass, that we sin against every commandment, but because this corrupt concupiscence is in us, without which we should of our accord, with our whole mind and body, be apt to do the only good without any thought or desire at all to the contrary? And this is all I have to say touching the negative part of this commandment.
Neo. Well then, sir, I pray you to proceed to the affirmative, and tell us what the Lord requires in this commandment ?
Evan. Why, original justice or righteousness is required in this commandment, which is a disposition and an inclination and a desire to perform unto God, and to our neighbour, for God's sake, all the duties which are contained both in the first and second table of the law; whence it does evidently appear, that it is not sufficient, though we forbear the evil, and do the good which is contained in every commandment, except we do it readily and willingly, and for the Lord's sake. As for example, to give you a few instances, it is not sufficient though we abstain from making images, or worshipping God by an image ; no, though we perform all the parts of his true worship, as praying, reading, hearing, receiving the sacraments, and the like, if we do it unwillingly or in obedience to any Jaw or commandment of man, and not for the Lord's sake. Neither is it sufficient though we abstain from the works of our callings on the Lord's day, and perform never so many religious exercises, if it be unwillingly, and for form and custom's sake, or iu mere obedience to any superior, and not for the Lord's sake. Neither is it sufficient, though a child show never so much honour, love and respect to his parents, if he do it by constraint and unwillingly, or to gain the praise of men, and not for the Lord's sake. Neither is it sufficient though a servant do his duty, and carry himself never so well, if it be for fear of correction, or for his own profit and gain, and not for the Lord's sake. Neither is it sufficient though a wife carry herself nerer so dutifully and respectfully towards her husband, both in word and deed, if it be unwillingly for fear of his frowns, or to gain the applause of them that behold it, and not for the Lord's sake. Neither is it sufficient, though a husband show much love and respect to his wife, if it be because she is amiable or profitable, or to gain the praise of men, and not for the Lord's sake. In a word, it is not sufficient, though any man or woman do all their duties, in all their relations, if they do them merely for their own sake, and not for the Lord's sake.
Neither is it sufficient, though a man abstain from killing, yea, and from striking, if it be for fear of the law, and not for the Lord's sake. Neither is it sufficient, though he bridle his anger, and abstain from speaking any wrath, if it be because he would be counted a patient man, and not for the Lord's sake. Neither is it sufficient, though a man visit the sick, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, or in never so many ways seek to preserve the life of his neighour, if it be for the praise of men, and not for the Lord's sake. Neither is it sufficient, though a man abstain from committing adultery, if it be for fear of the shame or punishment that will follow, and not for the Lord's sake. Nor though he also abstain from idleness, gluttony, and drunkenness, if it be for our own gain's sake, and not for the Lord's sake. Neither is it sufficient, though we abstain from stealing, and labour dilligently in our callings, if it be for fear of shame or punishment, or for the praise of men. Neither is it sufficient, though we have abstained from false witness-bearing, and have spoken the truth, if it have been for fear of shame, or merely to do our neighbour a curtsey, and not because the Lord requires it.
Thus might I have instanced in divers other particulars, wherein, though we have done that which is required, and avoided that which is forbidden, yet if it have been for our own ends, in any of the particulars before mentioned ; yea, or if it have been merely or chiefly to escape hell and to obtain heaven, and not for the love we bear to God, and for the desire we have to please him, we have therein
transgressed the Lord's commandments. And now, neighbour Nomologista, I pray you consider, whether you have gone near to the keeping of all the commandments perfectly or no ?
Nom. But, sir, are you sure that the Lord requires that every man should keep all the ten commandments according as you have now expounded them?
THE USE OF THE LAW. Evan. Yea, indeed he does; and if you make any question of it, I pray you, consider further, that one asking our Saviour, which is the “great commandment in the law ?” he answered, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” “This," says he, “is the first and great commandment; and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” Matt. xxii. 6—9.
Whereupon, says a famous spiritual expositor, "God will have the whole heart;" all the powers of our souls must be beat towards him, he will have himself to be acknowledged and reckoned as our sovereign and supreme gɔod; our love to him must be perfect and absolute: he requires, that there be not found in us the least thought, inclination, or appetite of any thing which may displease him; and that we direct all our actions to this very end, that he alone may be glorified by us: and that for the love we bear unto God, we must do well unto our neighbour, according to the commandments of God. Coosider also, I pray you, that it is said, Deut. xxvii. 26; Gal. iii. 10, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Now, if you do consider these things well, you shall
perceive that the Lord requires that every man do keep all the ten commandments perfectly according as I have expounded them, and concludes all those under the curse that do not so keep them.
Vom. Surely, sir, you did mistake in saying that the Lord requires that every man do keep the law of the ten commandments perfectly; for I suppose you would have said, the Lord requires that every man do endeavour to keep them perfectly.
Evan. No, neighbour Nomologista, I did not mistake, for I say it again, that the Lord requires of every man, perfect obedience to all the ten commandments, and concludes all those under the curse that do not yield it; for it is not said, Cursed is every man that does not endeavour to continue in all things, but, “ Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things,” &c.
Nom. But, sir, do you think that any man continues in all things as you have expounded them?
Evan. No, no; it is impossible that any man should.
Evan. To be under the curse, as Luther and Perkins do well agree, is to be under sin, the wrath of God, and everlasting death.
Nom. But, sir, I pray you, how can this stand with the justice of God, to require man to do that which is impossible, and yet to conclude him under the curse for not doing it ?
Evan. You shall perceive that it does well stand with the justice of God, to deal so with man, if you consider, that this law of God, or these ten commandments, which we have now expounded, are, as Ursipus' Catechism truly says, “A doctrine agreeing with the eternal and immortal wisdom and justice that is in God;" wherein says Calvin, “God hath so painted out his own nature, that it doth in a manner express the very image of God.” And we read, Gen. i. 27. that man at the first was created in the image or likeness of God; whence it must needs follow that this law was written in his heart, that is to say, God did engrave in man's heart such wisdom and knowledge of his will and works, and such integrity in his soul, and such a fitness in all the powers thereof, that his mind was able to conceive, and his heart was able to desire, and his body was able to put in execution, any thing that was acceptable to God; so that in very deed he was able to keep all the ten commandments perfectly.
And therefore though God do require of man impossible things, yet is he not anjust, neither does he injure us in so doing, because he commanded them when they were possible, and though we have now lost our ability of performance, yet it being by our voluntary falling from the state of innocence in which we were at first created, God has not lost his right of requiring that of us which he once gave us.
Nom. But, sir, you know it was our first parents only that did fall away from God in eating the forbidden fruit, and none of their posterity; how then can it be truly said, that we have lost that power through our own default?
Evan. For answer to this, I pray you consider that Adam by God's appointment, was not to stand or fall as a single person only, but as a common public person, representing all mankind which were to come to him; and therefore, as in case if he had been obedient, and not eaten the forbidden fruit, he had retained and kept that power which he had by creation, as well for all mankind as for himself; even so by disobedience in eating that forbidden fruit, he was disrobed of God's image, and so lost that power, as well for all mankind as for himself.
Nom. Why then, sir, it should seem that all mankind are under sin, wrath, and eternal death?
Evan. Yea, indeed by nature they are 80,
“ for we know,” says the apostle, “that whatsoever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God," Rom. iii. 19; and again says he,
“ We have proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin,” Rom. iii. 9. And in another place he says, were by nature children of wrath even as well as others,” Eph. ii. 3; and, lastly, he
says, “So death passed upon all men, for that all have signed,” Rom. v. 12.
Nom. But, sir, I pray you tell me whether you think that any regenerate man keeps the commandments perfectly, according as you have expounded them?
Evan. No, not the most sanctified man in the world.
Nom. Why then, sir, it should seem, that not only natural men, but regenerate men also, are under the curse of the law. For if every one that keepeth not the law perfectly be concluded under the curse, and if regenerate men do not keep the law perfectly, then they also must needs be under the curse.
Evan. The conclusion of your argument is not true; for if by regenerate meu you mean true believers, then they have fulfilled the law perfectly in Christ, or rather Christ has perfectly fulfilled the law in them, and was made a curse for them, and so has redeemed them from the curse of the law, as you may see, Gal. iii. 13.
Nom. Well, sir, now I understand you, and have ever been of your judgment in that point, for I have ever concluded this, that either a man himself, or Christ for him, must keep the law perfectly, or else God will not accept of him, and therefore have I endeavoured to do the best I could to keep the law perfectly, and wherein I have failed and come short, I have believed that Christ has done it for me.
Evan. The apostle says, Gal. iii. 10. “So many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse.” And truly, neighbour Nomologista, if I may speak it without offence, I fear me you are still of the works of the law, and therefore still under the curse.
Nom. Why, sir, I pray you what is it to be of the works of the law ?
Evan. To be of the works of the law, is for a man to look for, or hope to be justified or accepted in the sight of God, for his own obedience to the law.
Nom. But surely, sir, I never did so; for though by reason of my being ignorant of what is required and forbidden in every commandment, I had a conceit that I came very near the perfect fulfilling of the law, yet I never thought I did do all things that are contained VOL. VII.