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2 promile of mercy in the general, and that not particularly to thofe that keep that command, but all the commandments.
2. But does the law promife any thing but to perfect keeping of its commands? and if fo, what are we the better?
Anf. We muft diftinguish betwixt the law as a covenant of works, and the law as in the hand of Chrift for a rule of life to believers. As it is a covenant of works, nothing lefs than perfect obedience can intereft men in the promife; for the leaft failure knocks off the man's fingers from the promife by virtue of the curfe, Gal. iii. 10. Curfed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. So that we can be nothing the better of this promife. But Chrift being the Surety of the better covenant, having made a new covenant of grace in his blood, he takes the fame law in his hands, and gives out the commands of it as a rule of life to his covenanted people, and renews the promises of it to their fincere obedience of them, 1 Tim. iv. 8. Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promife of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. As for the curfe of it, they hear of it no more, he having borne it away himfelf. And fo he crowns the fruits of his own grace in them with bleffed rewards. And as all thefe promifes are yea and amen in him; fo for his fake, through faith in his blood, they are obtained.
In the words we may confider thiefe three things; the blefling promifed, the place where it is to be enjoyed, and the regard the Lord allows his people to have to that blefling to further them in obedi
FIRST, The bleffing promifed; that is, long life; that thy days may be long. It is a temporal mercy, a mercy much defired ordinarily by all men, and
promied to them that keep this commandment. There are four things here to be confidered.
Frt. What is meant by mens days being long. I denies two things.
2. Lag He, Prov. iv. 10. The years of thy life Are mar. Death in its beft colours has fomeding figtual about it. It is a diffolution of Feline body, which nature shivers at. But there is ac ering of it; all muft die; they must go
cera chat dark valley to their eternal ftaie. But the bed that can be made of it is promifed here, is that fuch fhall be full of days, and not be tkm away till they be ripe for the fickle.
Property to accompany that life; for non ement, of valde, vita eft. Long life in miferies is censued death rather than life. So that the na
e of the thing teaches us, that a profperous long re is here promited. It is a good old age, Gen. a. s. And thus the apostle explains it, Eph. vi. 2. That it may be well with thee, and thou mayst live wn in the earth.
Szy. That long life is in itself a mercy, and Derecoce is promifed. There are many things that
a mortify mens defires of long life. Old age is crdinarily accompanied with a train of miferies; and the longer the godly live, they are the longer ke out of heaven. Yet there are four things that make this long and profperous life here promised to the godly's keeping of this command, a great
t. A good old age is an honourable thing, Prov. what the beary head is a crown of glory, if it be and in the way of righteoufness. God commands a puttular reverence to be given to old men, Lev. A. Thou shalt rife up before the hoary head, and Doma the face of the old man. It is true, fin and wickednets tpoils the greateft glory, and no man is
pre like the devil than a wicked old man, lf. lxv, wo 4de jitner seing an hundred years old, fhall be ac
cursed But it is an honourable character which the Spirit of God puts on Mnafon, Acts xxi. 16. an old diJaple And old godly men are most like God, Dan. vii. 9. Rev. i. 14:
2. It is profitable for the exercise of godliness, in forfar as it makes them proof againft many temptations which youth often carries men headlong unto, 2 Tim ii. 22. The frothiness and fire of youth dying out thro' time, their grace is the better it wants them. Young people's grace may be more bulky, but old people's grace, though of lefs bulk, is more worth, because it is more folid. Though new liquor may work and fwell up more, the old is better. John was the longest lived of the apoftles, and wrote laft of them. In his younger years he could have burnt whole towns for Chrift, Luke ix. 54.; but if ye will look to his epiftles written in his older days, they breathe nothing but love, and meek nefs, and folid godliness.
3. Long life makes way for the more proofs and experiences of the goodness of God on the earth, johnii 13. The young foldier may be more mettled and venturous; but the old foldier is more to be trufted, because of his experience and skill. It is no fmall advantage to have been an eye-wit nefs of the several appearances God has made for his church, and of feveral ftorms that have gone over her head.
34 Lastly, They have the larger opportunity of glorifying God here, and being ferviceable in their generation, the longer they live on earth; and therefore fhall have a larger measure of glory hereafter, as they have been more ferviceable for God, than others, 2 Cor. ix. 6. How many are cut off in their early days, while they were juft budding for the honour of God and the fervice of the church & It is better for themfelves, that they are foon taken away but the church is lefs the better of them, Phil. i. 23. 24. The Spirit of God takes VOL. III.
abroad their own fhame in fpeaking to the difcredit of their relatives; contempt of and defpifing one another, All these are quite oppofite to conjugal love
12. Against that faithfulness they owe to one another in respect of their bodies, is infidelity in the grofs breach of the marriage-contract, deferting and leaving one another, and defrauding one another. In refpect of their means is all idlenefs, mifmanagement, and waftery. And in refpect of their fouls, is unconcernednefs about them, being at no pains to inftruct, admonish, and watch over one another; and if at any time they tell them of their faults, it is to their reproach, being before others, or in their paffion, fo that it can do no good. And much more then whey become fnares and hinderances to one another instead of meet helps, leading and provoking their relatives to fin againft God, and ruin their own fouls.
Wives particularly fin against their husbands, by cafting off all reverence to them, carrying themfelves imperioully towards them, being difobedient, wilful, and intractable, and like Vahti, Efth. i. 10. 11. 12. who would not come to the king, when fent for by him, will not go an inch by their own will to pleate them. It is not their honour to command, whose province God has made it to obey, Ezek. xvi. 3o. E Eph. V. ult.
Hufbands fin against their wives in dealing untenderly with them, tyrannifing and domineering over them in a masterful way, not protecting them from the infults of others, nor providing for them; giving them that are their wives no truft, but making them like Nabal accountable to the utmot farthing, nor encouraging and praifing them when they do well; moft of all in beating them, in ute only with furious or mad men, Eph. v. 25. 29.
Secondly, As to parents and children :
1. Children fin againft their parents by difobedience to them. Such are in the midft of the black roll, Rom. i. 30. and are in a near way to ruin, Prov. xxx,
17. So do they by all irreverence to them, and flighting and difhonouring them in word and deed, Deuts xxvii. 16. and much more by curling of them, Exod. xxi. 17. Many again fin against God and their pi rents, being unteachable, and will not hearkens to their inftruction, Prov. v. 7.; they will not take a harp word from them, but their hearts rife against them and it too, Prov. xiii. 18.; and others, though they will bear with words, yet they are ftubborn, and will not fubmit to correction, Deut. xxi. 18: 19. And what will we fay of thofe that like curfed Ham make a jeft of their parents infirmities, wafte their fubftance, and prove unnatural and hard-hearted to them when they are old and in diftrefs? Prov. xix. 26. Finally, they in by difpofing of themfelves to callings or in marriage without confent of their parents, Gen. xxvi, 34-35
2. Parents fin against their children many ways, while they are not concerned for them while infants but many are carelefs as to the bringing up of their children to fome honelt employment, but by encou raging them in idlenefs, prove a fnare to them. Moft men, if they bring their children to be able to fhift for a livelihood to themfelves, think they have done enough, while they have been at pains to bring them up for God. Many will learn them to work that will not learn them to read, pray, &c. What fallwe fay of thofe that will learn them to ban, fwear, lie, pick and fieal, and encourage them in fuch things? Some kill their children by cockering of them; they indulge them fondly to their ruin. And how indifcreetly will parents dote on one child by another, where it is not grace but mere fancy that makes the difference? Gen. xxv. 28. Some, on the other hand, are wofully harsh to their children, and break theig fpirits, by holding them fo fhort by the head that they are driven to extremitics, ufing them as drudges rather than as children, immoderately beating them when they are in a fault, and inveighing against them