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1. First, I say, this revelation was not general; SERM. not directed to, or intended for to instruct and oblige mankind itself expressly affirms so much; the whole tenor and frame thereof shews it; so do all the circumstances of its rise and progress. That it was intended peculiarly for that small nation, possessing a very inconsiderable portion of the earth; distinguished, and indeed, as it were, concealed from the rest of mankind both on purpose and in effect; for it so remained for many ages (till the Macedonian first, and afterward the Roman conquests opened the world, and disclosed them) hid in a solitary obscurity; even so far as to scape the observation of the most inquisitive surveyors of the earth, the most curious searchers into the customs of all people, (as of Herodotus for instance, who, nicely describing the places and manners of the people all about them, could not discern them, and takes no notice of them, although for their peculiar manners otherwise most remarkable, and deserving his mention ;) appears by express passages in their law and holy writings; He Ps. cxlvii. sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his 19, 20. judgments unto Israel; he hath not dealt so with any nation; and his judgments they have not known them. It is plainly affirmed that God did make that discovery of his will and mind peculiarly to that people, and to no other; I the Lord am holy, and Lev. xx. 26. have severed you from other people, that ye should xxxiii. 16. be mine, saith God to the Jews; So shall we be se- not to marparated, I and thy people, from all the people that ry, not to are upon the face of the earth, saith Moses in his converse, address to God; Thou art a holy people unto Lord thy God; The Lord hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that
the Grot. in
BARROW, VOL. v.
Evang. p. 130.
SERM. are upon the face of the earth, saith Moses to that XV. people which passages (together with divers others Deut. vii. 6. of the same import) being used to engage and en
courage a singular obedience, do plainly say, that God transacted with that people singly and separately from all other; taking them on purpose, as it were, into a corner, at a good distance, and beyond hearing of others, that he might there signify alone to them his pleasure, peculiarly concerning them. Yea to this purpose, of maintaining a distance and distinction from the rest of mankind, divers of their laws were appointed; as not only the nature of such laws doth imply, but words annexed Lev. xx. 24. to them sometimes express; I am the Lord your God, which have separated you from other people; ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean. Whence St. Paul calls their Eph. ii. 14. law μeótoixov Opayμcũ, a partition wall, that fenced that nation, and severed it from others; and an enmity, being framed to set them in distance and variance from the rest of men. That whole business also of this constitution is frequently styled a coDeut.iv.13. venant, made, not between God and mankind, but between God and that single nation; a covenant in formal terms mentioning them, and them only; sealed with marks and characters peculiar to them; requiring conditions and duties possible or proper only for them to perform; exhibiting promises only suitable to them; propounding rewards which they only were capable to receive, and punishments which Deut. iv. 1. they only could undergo. Hear, O Israel, is the v. I. vi. 3, usual style, according to which those laws are diPs. lxxxi. 8. rected; I am the Lord thy God, which brought
xxix. 14, 25, &c.
thee out of the land of Egypt, is the introduction
Deut. xvi. 1.
xiv. 21, &c.
to the Decalogue itself, (which among all parts of SERM. that law looks fairest toward a general importance and obligation; which yet is so specially directed, and is indeed peculiarly called the covenant between God and that people; viz. synecdochically, as being Deut. iv.13. the principal part directive of their duty.) In the xxxiv. 28. body of the laws itself, there is often made a distinction between them who were bound to observe it, and others that were not; between brethren and Deut. xvii. strangers; between Hebrews and aliens; with Exod. xxv. duties suited and limited in regard to that distinc- Deut. xv. tion, (as in the cases of remitting debts, releasing 3, 12. servants, exacting use, and the like:) there are en- 47, &c. joined duties, which others could not properly or de- 16. cently perform; such as observation of feasts in com- Exod. xxiii. memoration and thankfulness for mercies vouchsafed 19, &c. to that nation; as also others which could not be observed by all men with any possibility or convenience; such as those of repairing thrice a year to one certain place, established for God's worship; of bringing tithes and oblations thither, and the like; neither was the number of Priests and Levites, set apart for God's service, proportioned otherwise, than in respect to that one people. The encouragements also and rewards promised to obedience do incommunicably pertain to them, as also the discouragements from, and punishments for, disobedience; a long and prosperous enjoyment of the land of Canaan was the meed set before them, if they should obey and make good their part of the covenant; a dispossession thereof, or affliction in it, was the punishment threatened, if they should presume to disobey and violate those engagements; Ye shall walk in Deut. v. 33. all the laws, which the Lord your God hath com- Moses no
vi. 3, &c.
SERM. manded you; that ye may live, and that it may be XV. well with you; and that ye may prolong your days contrarios in the land which ye possess. Hear therefore, O mortalibus Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well indidit. with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as Cætera in- the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee,
istra, fœda in the land that floweth with milk and honey. Such
were the promises exciting to obedience; and the threatenings deterring from disobedience were answerable, as every where in their law and story is visible.
I may also hereto add, that as the laws and rites of this religion were designed only for this people, as they did only agree to their circumstances; so they were only suited to their inclinations and their capacities; their inclinations, which were very stubborn and perverse; their capacities, which were very low and gross, as their own prophets do upon many occasions affirm and complain; being dissentaneous and repugnant to the common humour and genius of mankind: so experience discovered them to be, when they became more apparent and observable; Judaorum mos absurdus, sordidusque; (The Jewish way of life is uncouth and sordid, was Tacitus his censure; Hist. v. 5.) and, They run counter to all men, was St. Paul's imputation on that people, 1 Thess. ii. 15; to which the general conceit of men concerning them did agree; so little plausible or probable was their way, so liable to dislike and contempt: which argues it unfit to be commended by the God of wisdom to the generality of mankind.
By which and many other like considerations obvious enough may appear, that this dispensation was not (either according to its nature or in its design)
general, or such as respected the main body of man- SERM. kind, but rather very particular and restrained; designedly restrained to the obligation and use of one place or people, if compared to the world of men, inconsiderably narrow and small; (the fewest of all people God himself says they were.) That, in fine, Deut. vii. 7. this constitution had only the nature of a municipal law, imposing burdens and indulging privileges upon one city or territory; not of a common civil sanction, established for the obligation, use, and benefit of the whole commonwealth, or empire subject to the Almighty King.
in Acts x. 34.
It is not therefore in reason to be taken for such a revelation, as we argued needful for us, and to be expected from him, who, as the Psalmist, as reason, as experience tells us, is good to all, and whose ten- Ps. cxlv. 8. der mercies are over all his works; from him, who is the common Father of all, and, as St. Paul expresseth it, hath made of one blood пãv čtvos àvoρúv, Acts xvii. the whole nation and commonwealth of mankind; King of the from him, who cannot be in affection anywise fond or world, the partial, a respecter of persons or of nations, as St. the earth. Paul in the second to the Romans, and St. Peter the Acts also implies. From him, who is not only 10. ii. 4. the Maker, but, as our apostle also styles him, the Saviour of all men; and, as even the Hebrew Wise 2 Pet. iii. 9. Man asserts, careth for all alike; being desirous that all men should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth; not willing that any should perish, but that all men should come to repentance. From him, who is not only φιλεβραῖος, or φιλέλλην, (a lover of Jews, or of Greeks ;) but pixávoρwños, a lover Tit. iii. 4. of men; and piñówvxos, a lover of souls; who, lastly, is not the God of the Jews only, but of the Gen- Rom.iii.29.
1 Tim. iv.
Wisd. vi. 7,
11, 23, &c.