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delivered at Sinai, the grounds of which two, is wholly with a view to compen. are either so obvious as not to require sate the mutilation by leaving the nonparticular exposition, or are sufficiently inal integrity of the code unimpaired. unfolded in the course of the enguing that such a disjunction of the parts of notes; so that a precise explication of the tenth commandment is wholly un. them may at present be waved. authorized and violent, will be evident
upon a comparison of the text as it 2. Classification of the Precepts of the stands in the chapter before us and in Law.
Deut. 5. 21. In the present passage the In all ages of the church it has been coveting of a “house' occurs before the admitted that the Moral Law was com-coveting of a wife;' whereas in the prised in ten distinct commandments. other passage the order is reversed and Of these again a very ancient and gen- ' house' occurs after 6 wife. If then the erally recognized division is into two Papal division were well founded, the tables; the first embracing the first four, ninth commandment according to the the second the last six, of the pre- one reading would be, 'Thou shall not cepts; the first containing, in a general covet thy neighbor's house,' and accord. way, the duties we owe to God, the se. ing to the other, “Thou shall not covet cond, those which we owe to our fel. thy neighbor's wife. Such a diversi. low-men. This division, which is very ty it appears from Hallett's Notes on natural, is warranted by the express Scripture Texts (vol. 3. p. 55.) actually words of the Savior, Mat. 22. 37–40, exists in some of the Catechisins and who divides the Law into two great com- Manuals of the Roman church. But mandments, “Thou shall love the Lord suppose, with Protestants, that "house' thy God with all thy heart, &c. This and wife' belong to the same precept, is the first and great commandment; and the change in collocation is a matand the second is like unto it, Thou ter of no moment. shall love thy neighbor as thyself.' A difference occurs also between the
In the numerical arrangement and dis- Heb. and the Gr. copies in regard to the tinction of the several precepts of the collocation of the sixth and seventh comdecalogue, it is well known that the Ro- mandments. The Gr. places our seventh manists differ essentially from Protest before the sixth, and this order is fol. ants. Following the authority of Au- | lowed by such of the early Christian gustin, the Roman Church makes but Fathers as used the translation of the one commandment of the two first, while Seventy, as also by Philo among the in order to keep good the number ten, Jews. The Gr., however, preserves they divide the tenth into two, making the usual order of the Heb. text in Deut. the first sentence of that commandment 5. 17, 18. In the New Testament a siin. the ninth. The consequence has been ilar diversity obtains. In Mark, 10. 19, that in many professed recitals of the and Luke, 18. 20, the prohibition of ten commandments in books of devo- |'adultery' comes before that of killing;' tion, what we term the second, forbid while in Mat. 19. 18, the Heb. arrangeding idolatry, is entirely omitted. The ment is observed. The inference is fair motive for thus abstracting the second from this that provided the integrity of commandment from the Decalogue is the Decalogue be preserved, and there very easily imagined on the part of a be no addition to nor subtraction from church which gives so much countenance the true number, the precise order of to image. worship; and it is equally ob- enumeration is not a matter of any great vious that the partition of the tenth into Imoment.
3. Nature and Scope of the Law. livery, therefore, were intended to be in It is too obvious to require proof that keeping with its character. Being a man was formed to be a creature of transcript of the divine perfections, it law. At his very creation, the law of was to be so promulgated as to impress God was written on his heart. Those di- those who heard it, and those who vine fingers which so curiously wrought I should hear of it, with a just sense of the physical fabric of his body, inter- the greatness, majesty, glory, and ter. wove also the precepts of this law with ribleness of that Be from whom it the interior frame-work of his soul. emanated. It was designed to work a Nor are we to suppose that man had deep conviction of the fearfulness of been utterly destitute of all external Jehovah's displeasure, and to inspire notices of this law from the creation to alarnı by awaking a sense of sin. Acthe present time. Though not previously cordingly, as it was attended with the so expressly and formally revealed, yet terrors of Sinai in its proclamation, so as sin was in the world from Adain to it comes into the conscience with the Moses, so we cannot doubt that that dread of God's wrath. As the mountain law, by the knowledge of which is the shook, as the people trembled, as Moknowledge of sin, was also in the world. ses himself said, 'I exceedingly fear But nothing is more certain than that in and quake,' so the soul when it becomes process of time all flesh had corrupted convinced of sin, is filled with dismay, its way, and the traces of the moral code Fearfulness and trembling come upon were nearly obliterated among men. it; it shakes with violent apprehensions The great fundamental truths of religion of woe, and looks for instant destruc. were lost and buried in the abound-tion. Such is the necessary conseing idolatry and immorality that every quence. Whenever a man obtains a where prevailed. In these circumstances, correct view of the Law, and feels that when it pleased God to separate to him he has broken it; when he sees that the self a peculiar people, who should know Law is spiritual, and that he is carnal, his will, and be the depositaries of his sold under sin ; when he perceives that truth, he saw fit to republish this law, he is condemned, and every monient and so to record it as to give it a per. liable to the curse ; he cannot but expemanent establishment in the world; rience the same kind of inward emotions and in order to convey a more suitable and perturbations as the Israelites eximpression of its spirit and design, it perienced when they saw the fires of was to be delivered in circumstances of Sinai, heard its thunders, and felt its the greatest imaginable pomp and ter- shaking. Thus one main object of the ror. The intrinsic propriety of this will giving of the Law was attained—the bebe seen at once on considering the cha- getting a sense of native sinfulness, of racter of the Law. As contrasted with distance from God, of exposedlness to the Gospel it was a dispensation of wrath. But this would lead directly to wrath, a ministration of condemnation another of equal importance--the ne. and death. "Cursed be every one that cessity of a Mediator. And this effect
ontinueth not in all things that are was very decidedly wrought on the written in the book of the law to do present occasion. They were conscious them, is its inexorable language. It that they could not approach to God was a 'fiery law,' denouncing judgment without some kind of intervention. Acwithout mercy for every offence, and cordingly, they who but just before had not knowing either abatement, or inter- been with difficulty restrained from inission, or compromise of its stern de- breaking through the bounds that had mands. The circumstances of its de- I been assigned them, were now alarm
ed that they drew back from their sta With this view of the essential na. tion, and entreated that God would no ture and genius of the Law before us, longer deliver his commands to them in we cannot easily fall into the error that way, lest they should die. They against which the apostle Paul has se desired that Moses might act as a me- anxiously warned us, of supposing that diator between God and them, and that it was given in order to man's being all future intimations of the divine will saved by his living up to its demands. should be given through that medium. It was not given to give life. "By the They were not perhaps aware of the deeds of the law shall no flesh living be full meaning of their own request, nor justified. It was rather designed as a of how much a greater mediator than divine revelation of man's religious and Moses they stood in need. But God moral duties, as a persect standard and approved of their request, and not only rule of obedience, and one too of per. complied with it, but promised another petual and universal obligation. For Mediator at a future period, who should as every precept of it flows directly resemble Moses, and whom the people from the unchangeable persections of were required, under the highest penal. God, it must for ever make the same ty, to obey. For it was on this occa- uncompromising demand upon the obe. sion that the promise contained Deut. dience of its subjects. The ceremonial 18. 15—19, was given, “The Lord thy statutes might serve a temporary end God will raise up unto thee a Prophet and be abolished. But of the Moral Law from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, our Savior says,'Heaven and earth shall like unto me; unto him ye shall heark- pass away, but one jot or one tittle en. According to all that thou desir- shall in no wise pass from the law till edst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in all be fulfilled.' It must necessarily the day of the assembly, saying, Letenter into the Christian dispensation, me not hear again the voice of the Lord and pervade it through every period of my God, neither let me see this great its existence. It will even pass into fire any more, that I die not. And the heaven itself and there be the delight Lord said unto me, They have well and govern the service of every glorified spoken that which they have spoken. spirit and ministering angel. This will I will raise them up a Prophet froin be more evident if we consider that it among their brethren, like unto thee, is the universal law of love. God is and will put my words in his mouth: love, and his Law inculcates love. A and he shall speak unto them all that I compend of the whole Law is embraced shall command him. And it shall come in the 7 rept, 'Thou shalt love the to pass, that whosoever will not hearken Lord thy God with all thy heart and all unto my words which he shall speak in thy mind and all thy strength, and thy my name, I will require it of him.' The neighbor as thyself. On these two agency of Moses, therefore, throughout commandments hang all the law and the whole transaction, passing to and the prophets.' Love therefore must be fro between God and the people, now of universal and eternal obligation, im. ascending the mount and entering the mutable as the nature of God himself. cloud, and now again coming forth, re. God cannot divest himself of love, nor turning to the camp, and delivering his even abrogate the Law which requires it. messages, was expressly designed as a From all this we perceive the great lively type of the mediatorship of Christ ends which were to be answered by the in effecting our acceptance and salvation. promulgation of the Law of the ten And thus it serves, as the apostle says, commandments, and for the same rea(as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.? sons we can see why it was that such a Vol. I
scene was chosen for the purpose. The beyond all question that the Law, propgenius of the Law was severe, rigid, erly understood, lays its demands and dark, fearsul, terrific. In accordance with its prohibitions upon the inward actings this the people of Israel were led into of the spirit, and not merely upon the a dreary, desolate wilderness, a region outward conduct. If we are taught by of barren rocks and thirsty sands, where this supreme authority to regard cher all nature appeared in its most wild, ished lust as adultery, and harbored and rugged, and desert aspect. There, hate as murder, how can we avoid the amidst bleak mountainous masses of inference that all the commandments granite, separated by narrow ravines, are equally extensive in their import, in which only here and there little and address themselves directly to the patches of herbage, and scattered trees heart as the fountain of action and the hle jound, the Law of Sinai was pro criterion of character ? To the same cla.nied, as if it were especially intend conclusion are we irresistibly brought ed 10 lach them that that dispensation, by the language of Paul in his reason. wompa:td with the gospel, was like the ings upon the Law in the Epistle to włost desert and forbidding locality on the Romans. It was only when he he earth's surface contrasted with the came to understand fully the spiritual nost blooning and luxuriant paradise nature of the Law and the sternness and which the hands of nature and art ever universality of its requirements, that conspired to Le.zutify. This view of he became convinced of sin, and, as it the event beforu us will no doubt be- were, slain by its killing power. The come more and indre striking, in pro same view of the character of this portion as the gejiogical and topo- deeply searching moral code is undoubt. graphical features of that region are edly maintained throughout the whole more fully disclosea, as they are in a tenor of the Scriptures, so that we canfair way to be, in cuequence of the not well hesitate to admit the justness growing influx of travel to that mem- of the canon laid down in the Assem. orable and interesting si arter of the bly's Catechism, for interpreting the globe.
demands of the Law, that it binds
every one to full conformity in the whole 4. Principles of Inter, ilation.
man,, unto the righteousness thereof, 'Thy commandment,' says David, 'is and to entire obedience for ever; so as exceeding broad ;' in which we read a to require the utmost perfection in clear intimation of the exteri and spirit- every duty, and to forbid the least deuality of the divine requiruinents, as gree of every sin.' Accordingly, in putreaching beyond the outwaru actions, ting a due sense upon the several pre. and taking cognizance of ine inmost cepts, we must admit that “when a par. thoughts and intentions of une heart. ticular duty is commanded, the contrary With so important a portion of revela- sin is forbidden, with all the causes, oc. tion, therefore, before us, it is evidently casions, and temptations which might a matter of great moment tu rix upon lead to it; and when a sin is forbidden, correct principles of interpretucion, and the contrary duty is commanded, to. in coming at these, nothing is more ob. gether with all the requisite means to vious than that the mode of interpreta- its performance.' tion adopted by Christ and luis apostles It may also be remarked in regard is to be a directory for us in putting to the distinction of the precepts into our constructions upon the precepts of affirmative and negative, that there is the Decalogue. Referring then to our ground for it in the consideration that Lord's sermon on the plount, it is clear what God forbids is at no time to be
done; what he commands is always our place of theu encampment and took its duty, yet every particular duty is not position on the mountain. Here it as. to be done at all times. Moreover, it sumed, in the first instance, a hue of must be perceived that in the negative dense and pitchy darkness, which would mode of injunction, there is something cor trast more strongly with the fiery more emphatic, and that leaves less splendors that were ere long to burst room for evasion. Thus, had the first out of its bosom, and together with the commandment, “Thou shalt have no earthquake, and the thunder, and the other gods, &c.,' been propounded af. trumpet-blast, to clothe the scene with firmatively, “Thou shalt worship one a grandeur utterly unparalleled on earth. God, the Samaritans, for instance, It is true, the Shekinah is here premight still have contended that they sented in aspect different from any in kept this commandment, though they which we have yet contemplated it. mixed the worship of other gods with We have hitherto be held it in connexion that of the true.
with an audible voice-as a fire burning On the whole, it is obvious that this in but not consuming the bushy thicket momentous and immutable Law is -as an illuminated pillar of cloud frained with the utmost wisdom of its but no where else have we seen it with divine author, and that if its deep spirit. the accompaniment of thunders and uality, its rigid and uncompromising de- lightnings and the voice of a trumpet, mands, ils perpetual authority, and its and all the fearful array of Mount Sinai. awful sanctions, were duly appreciated, Still that this was an actual exhibition it would awaken and keep alive every of the Shekinah the narrative leaves us where the slumbering consciousness of no room to doubt. The ancient versions sin, and at once lead to and endear the plainly confirm this view. Of these one atonement of Christ, who was made a of the Chaldee Targums renders the accurse for us that he might redeem us count in the 19th chapter ;-Moses led from the curse of the violated Law. the people out of the camp to meet
the Shekinah of Jehovah ;' another, 'to 5. Ministry of Angels in the Delivery meet the Word of the Lord; and the of the Law.
Arab, to meet ihe Angel of the Lord.' No attentive reader of the Scriptures Now it is to be recollected that we have can fail to have been struck with the previously shown that the visible Shefact, that in several passages, both of kinah is repeatedly termed the “Angel the Old and New Testament, the pres. of the Lord, and that this is the true ence and the agency of angels is ex- object which is to be brought before the pressly recognized on the occasion of the mind whenever in the books of Moses giving of the law. A somewhat extend the title 'Angel of the Lord' occurs. ed and minute examination, therefore, The Shekinah was so called because of the circumstances attending this re- it was the ordinary medium or organ Inarkable event will here be proper, in through which the Most High manisest. order to obtain, if possible, the true clue ed his presence and evinced his favor jo the language employed by the sacred or disfavor towards the chosen people. writers in describing it. It will be Bearing this fact in mind, let us turn to evident, if we mistake not, from the Acts, 7. 37, 38, where in the speech of Cenor of our annotations on the preced- Stephen it is said, “This is that Moses ing chapter, that the pillar of cloud, wbich said unto the children of Israel, the sublime Shekinah, which had hither. A Prophet shall the Lord your Grd raise to directed the journeyings of the Israel up unto you of your brethren like unto itei, now removed itself from over the me: him shall ye hear. This is he the t