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3-7, “ I appeared unto Abraham, Isaac, &c. And I have also eftablished my Covenant with them, to give them the Land of Canaan. I have also heard the Groaning of the Children of Israel, and I have remembered my Covenant, and will take you to me for a People, and I will be to you a God." Deut. vii. 8. Psal. cv. 8, 9, 10, “ He hath remembered his Covenant for ever, the Word which he commanded to a thousand Generations. Which Covenant he made with Abraham, and his Oath unto Isaac: And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a Law, and to Israel for an everlasting Covenant.Jer. xi. s. Ezek. xvi. 8. xx. 5.

64. But what most of all deserves our Attention is this; that the Jewish Constitution was a Scheme for promoting Virtue, true Religion, or a good and pious Life. In all the forementioned Instances they were very happy : But were they to rest in them? Because these Blessings were the Gift of Love and Mercy, without Respect to their Righteoulness, or Obedience, was it therefore needless for them to be obedient? Or were they, purely on Account of Benefits already received, secure of the Favour and Blessing of God for ever? By no Means. And, that I may explain this important Point more clearly, I shall distinguish their Blellings into antecedent and consequent, and shew, from the Scriptures, how both stand in Relation to their Duty.

65. Antecedent Blessings are all the Benefits hitherto mentioned, which were given by the mere Grace of God, antecedently to their Obe. dience, and without Respect to it: But yet so, that they were intended to be Motives to Obedience. Which Effect if they produced, then their Election, Redemption and Calling were confirmed ; and they were entitled to all the Blessings promised in the Covenant; which Bleslıngs I therefore call consequent, because they were given only in consequence of their Obedience. But, on the other Hand, if the Antecedent Blessings did not produce Obedience to the Will of God; if his Chosen People, his Children did not obey his Voice, then they forfeited all their Privileges, all their Honours and Relations to God, all his Favours and Promises, and fell under the severeit Threatnings of his Wrath and Displeasure (*).

66. And that this was the very End and Design of the Dispensation of God's extraordinary Favours to the Jews; namely, to engage them to Duty and Obedience; or that it was a Scheme for promoting Vira tue, is clear beyond all Dispute from every part of the Old Testament. Note, I shall make Ant. Itand for Antecedent Love, or Motives ; Conf. for Consequent Love, or Reward ; and Thr. for Threatning.

. (Ant.] Gen. xvii. 1, “I am God All-sufficient, (Duty] Walk thou be. fore me, and be thou perfect.” Ver. 4-8,[Ant.] “ I will be a God unto thee, and thy Seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and unto thy seed the Land of Canaan,and I will be their God.” Ver. 9, [Duty]

“ Thou

.(*) Thus Life itself may be distinguished into I. Antecedent; which God gives freely to all his Creatures, of his mere Good-will and Liberality, before they can have done any thing to deserve it. II. Consequent Life; which is the Continuance of Life in happy Circumstances, and has Relation to the good Conduct of a rational Creature. As he improves Life Antecedeni, lo he thall, through the Favour of God, enjoy Life Consequeat.

“ Thou shalt keep my Covenant therefore, thou and thy Seed after thee.” Gen. xxii. 16, 18, [Duty]—" Because thou hast done this Thing, and hast not withheld thy Son, thine only Son; because thou haft obeyed my Voice,” Ver. 16, 17, [Conf.] “ By myself have I sworn, faith the Lord, that in Blessing I will bless thee, and in Multiplying, I will multiply thy Seed, as the Stars of Heaven; and thy Seed fhall pofless the Gate of his Enemies, and in thy Seed shall all the Nations of the Earth be blessed." . 67. [Here let it be noted; that the same Blessings may be both Consequent and Antecedent with Regard to different Persons. With Regard to Abraham the Bleflings promised in this Place (Gen. xxii. 16, 17, 18.) are Consequent, as they were the Reward of his Obedience. “ Because thou hast obeyed my Voice.” But with Regard to his Posterity these same Blessings were of the Antecedent Kind, because, though they had Respect to Abraham's Obedience, yet, with Regard to the Jews, they were given freely, or antecedently to any Obedience they had performed. So the Blessings of Redemption, with Regard to our Lord's Obedience, are Consequent; but with Regard to us, they are of free Grace, and Antecedent; not owing to any Obedience of ours, though granted in Confequence of Christ's Obedience. Phil. ii. 8, 9, &c. Eph. i. 7. Heb. v. 8, 9. Nor doth the Donation of Bleslings upon many, in Consequence of the Obedience of one, at all diminish the Grace, but very much recommends the Wifelom, that bestows them.

68. Isai. xliii. 7, 21, [Ant.] “This People have I made [17] for my. felf, [Duty] they shall shew forth my Praise.” Jer. xiii. 11. Lev. xx. 7, 8, [Ant.] “I am the Lord your God. I am the Lord which sanctify [43] you. (Duty] Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye Holy. And ye thall keep my Statutes and do them.” Deut. iv. 7, 8, [Ant.] “ What Nation is there fo great, who hath God so nigh them, as the Lord our God is ?--And what Nation is there so great, that hath Statutes and Judgments so righteous," &c. Ver. 9, (Duty] “ Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy Soul diligently, left thou forget the Things which thine Eyes have seen.” Ver. 20, CÁrit.] “The Lord hath taken you forth out of the Iron Furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a People of Inheritance, [53] as ye are at this Day.” Ver. 23; [Duty] " Take heed unto yourselves, lett ye forget the Covenant of the Lord your God.”_Ver. 24, [Thr.] “ For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire." Ver. 25, “When ye shall corrupt yourselves,--and shall do Evil in the Sight of the Lord thy God.” --Ver. 26. “I call Heaven and Earth to witness, that ye shall loon utterly perilh from off the Land.”—Ver. 34, [Ant.] “ Hath God essayed to go, and take him a Nation from the Midlt of another Nation, by Signs and Wonders," &c. &c. Ver. 39, [Duty “ Know therefore this Day, and consider it in thy Heart, that the Lord he is God in Heaven above, &c. Thou shalt keep therefore his Satutes, and his Commandments,-[Const-that it may go well with thee, and with thy Children after thee," &c. Deut. v. 6, s Ant. 7 “ I am the Lord in God, [29] which brought thce out of the Land of Egypt, from the Houis of Bondage." Ver. 7, [Duty] “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me," &c. Ver. 29, “O that there were such an Heart in them, that they would fear me and keep all my Commandments, always(Conf.}-ha it might be well with them and with their Children for ever.” Ver: 33:

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[Duty] “ You shall walk in all the Ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you,-[Cons.)—that ye may live, and that it may be well with you," &c. Chap. vi. 21, [Ant.]"We were Pharaoh's Bondmen, and the Lord brought us out of Egypt,” &c. Ver. 24, [Duty] “ And the Lord commanded us to do all these Statutes, to fear the Lord our God, [Cons:]—for our Good always, that he might preserve us alive," &c. Chap. vii. 6, 7, 8, [Ant.] “ Thou art a Holy [46] People unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special People (51] unto himself,--the Lord loved you,—and redeemed you out of the House of Bondmen.” Ver. 9, [Duty] “Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God," &c. Ver. 11, “ Thou shalt therefore keep the Commandments, and the Statutes, and the Judgments, which I command thee this Day, to do them.” Ver. 12, 13, &c. [Conf.] “Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them; that the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the Covenant and the Mercy which he swore unto thy Fathers. And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee,” &c. Chap. viii. 2, [Ant.] “Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee,” &c. Ver. 5, “ Thou thalt also consider in thy Heart, that as a Man chasteneth his Son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee.” Ver. 6, [Duty] “ Therefore thou shalt keep the Commandments of the Lord thy God, to walk in his Ways, and to fear him.” Ver. 11, “ Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God," &c. Ver. 19, [Thr.] “ And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other Gods,-) testify against you this Day, that ye shall surely perish." Chap. X. 15, [Ant.] “ The Lord hath a Delight in thy Fathers to love them, [57] and he chose [11] their Seed after them, even you above all People.” Ver. 12, 16, [Duty] “ Circumcise therefore the Forelkin of your Heart," &c. Ver. 22, [Ant.] "Thy Fathers went down into Egypt, with threescore and ten Persons; and now the Lord thy God hath made thee as the Stars of Heaven for Multitude." Chap. xi. 1, [Duty] “ Therefore shalt thou love the Lord thy God, and kecp his Charge," &c. Ver. 13, “ And it shall come to país, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my Commandments," &c. Ver. 14, [Cons.] “ That I will give you the Rain of your Land,” &c. Ver. 26. “Behold, I set before you this Day a Blessing and a Curse. A Blefling if you obey the Commandments of the Lord, and a Curse if ye will not obey,” &c. Chap. xii. 28, [Doty] “ Observe and hear all these Words which I command thee, Conf:]--that it inay go well with thee and thy Children after thee for ever, when thou hast done that which is Good and Right in the Sight of the Lord thy God.” Chap. xiii. 17, 18. XV. 4, 5. xxvii. 9, [Ant. ] Take heed, and hearken, O Israel, this Day thou art become the People [29] of the Lord thy God.” Ver. 10,[Duty]

Thou shalt therefore obey the Voice of the Lord thy God, and do his Commandments," &c. Chap. xxviii. I, “ And it Thall come to pass, if thou hearken diligently unto the Voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do his Commandments [Conf. ] that the Lord will set thee on High above all Nations of the Earth. And all these Blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the Voice of the Lord thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city," &c. Ver. 15, [Thr.]

But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the Voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his Commandments, and his

Statutes, Statutes,--that all these Curses shall come upon thee and overtake thee," &c. Ver. 45, “ Moreover, all these Curses shall come upon thee,-till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenelt not unto the Voice of the Lord thy God." Chap. xxix. 2. to 10. xxx. 15-18, [Duty] “ See I have fet before you this Day Life and Good, and Death and Evil : In that I command thee this Day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his Ways, and to keep his Commandments and his Statutes, and his Judgments, [Conf:] that thou mayest live and multiply: And the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the Land whither thou goeft to pofless it. [Thr.] But if thine Heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other Gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this Day, that ye shall surely perish.”

69. Whoever peruses the first fixteen, and the 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st, and 32d Chapters of Deuteronomy will most clearly see, that all the Privileges, Honours, Instructions, Protections, &c. which were given them as a select Body of Men, were intended as Motives to Obedience ; which, if thus wisely improved, would bring upon them still further Blessings. Thus God drew them to Duty and Virtue by his Lovingkindnefs, Jer. xxxi. 3. He “ drew them with Cords of a Man,” such Confiderations as are apt to influence the rational Nature, “and with the Bands of Love,” Hof. xi. 4. But if they were disobedient, and did not make a right Use of God's Benefits and Favours, then they were subjected to a Curse, and should perish. And this is so evident, from this single Book, that I shall not need to heap together the numerous Quotations, which might be collected from other Parts of Scripture, particularly the Prophetic Writings. Only I may further establish this point by observing; that, in Fact, though all the Israelites in the Wilderness were the People, Children, and the Chosen of God; all intitled to the Divine Blessing, and Partakers of the several Instances of his Goodness; yet, notwithstanding all their Advantages and Honours, when they were dilobedient to his Will, distrustful of his Power and Providence, or revolted to the Worship of Idol-Gods, great Numbers of them fell under the Divine Vengeance, Exod. xxxii. 8, 27, 28. Num. xi. 4, 5, 6, 33. XVI. 2, 3, 32, 35, 41, 49. xxi. 5, 6. And, though they had all a Promile of entering into the Land of Canaan, yet the then Generation, from twenty Years old and upwards, for their Unbelief, were, by the righteous Judg; ment of God, excluded from the Renefit of that Promise ; they forfeited their Inheritance, and died in the Wilderness, Num. xiv. 28–36. Heb. . 7, &c.

70. From all this it appears; that all the High Privileges of the Jews, before-mentioned, and all the fingular Relations, in which they stood to, God, as they were saved, bought, redeemed by him ; as they were his called and elect; as they were his Children, whom he begot, created, made, and formed, his Sons and Daughters born to him ; his Heritage, Church, Hohl! and Kingdom ; his Saints, whom he fanétified ; his Vine or Vineyard, which he planted ; his Sheep and Flock : I say, there, and such like Honours, Ad vantages and Relations, as they are alligned to the whole Body do not import an absolute final State of Happiness and Favour of any kind; but are to be considered as Displays, Instances and Descriptions of Gooi Love and Goodness to them, which were to operate as a Mean?. moral Mean, upon their Hearts. They were in Truth Motives. to oblig,

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and excite to Obedience; and only, when so improved, became final and permanent Blessings : but neglected, or misimproved they were en- · joyed in vain, they vanished and came to nothing; and wicked Ifraelites were no more the Objects of God's Favour, than wicked Heathens. Amos ix. 7, speaking of corrupt Jews, “ Are ye not as Children of the Ethiopians unto me, 0 Children of Israel ? faith the Lord.”

71. And, upon the whole, we may from the clearest Evidence cons clude; that the selecting the Jewish Nation from the rest of the World, and taking them into a peculiar Relation to God, was a Scheme for proa moting true Religion and Virtue in all its Principles and Branches, upon Motives adapted to rational Nature : Which Principles and Branches of true Religion are particularly specified in their Law. And to this End, no doubt, every Part of their Conftitution, even the Ceremonial, was wisely adapted, considering their Circumstances, and the then State of the World.

72. And observe; the Motives did not run thus; ye are still in Egypt, still in Bondage and Slavery, still in a wretched, miserable Condition, under the Wrath and Displeasure of God; therefore believe, and reform, and love God, that ye may be redeemed and saved ; that the Lord may become your God and Father, and that you may be of the Number of his Children, his Elect, and taken into his Covenant. But plainly thus, you are actually delivered, saved, redeemed; God is al. ready your Father, who has elected, begotten and created you; who has loved you, established his Covenant with you, and has given you Promises of further and continued Happiness; therefore be induced by his Goodness to love and obey him. The Love of God, as it was the Foundation and Original of this Scheme, so it was the prime Motive in it. God begun the Work of Salvation among them, antecedently to any thing which they might do, on their Part, to engage his Goodness. They did not first love God; but God first loved them : Their Obedience did not first advance towards God; but his Mercy first advanced towards them, and saved, bought, redeemed them, took them for his People, and gave them a Part in the Blessings of his Covenant. And as for his Displeasure, they were under that, only consequentially; or after they had neglected his Goodness, and abused the Mercy and Means, the Privileges and Honours which they enjoyed. This, I think, must appear very evident to any one, who closely and maturely deliberates upon the true State of the Jewish Church.

Thus, and for those Ends, not excluding others before or afterwards mentioned, the Jewish Constitution was erected.

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