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no where meddles with the Civil Rights
SERM. of Government, but only bids us be obe
VII. dient to the higher Powers, without determining the higher Powers in any other Sense than the Powers in Being; which one might reasonably expect itshould do, had it intended to have them appointed, not according to the different Constitutions of different Nations, but according to some other Rule.
But to proceed: Should the Gospel make void the Law, i' would not only make void itself, as going contrary to its own Rule, but it would also make void the great Law of Nature ; and so cut off likewise the only Rule of the Gentiles, by abrogating that Law, which God gave both Fews and Gentiles, to enable them to diftinguish between Right and Wrong. And what sort of Religion must that be, that tends to destroy human Nature, and rase out all Footsteps of Good and Evil ? Not that which comes from above certainly ; and yet it must be the Religion of those, who make void the Law thro' Faith "Twere much better after this Rate to be
SERM. left to a State of Nature, than to be cheated
out of our Morality under the Pretence of
II. Having proved that the Gospel does
thought He came into the World to be a SERM. temporal Prince; and therefore entertained
VII. little else in their Minds but Pride and Ambition, grounded upon their Expectations of a conquering Messiah, who should free them from the Bondage of the Roman Yoke, and make them Masters of the World, (which Thoughts must have been founded upon a Supposition, that they were to be dispensed with, as to their Obligation to the Duties of the Moral Law) I say he tells them, in order to root out all Thoughts of that kind, that He was not come to destroy the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfil them.
Our Saviour was so great an Encourager of the Moral Law, that almost
every thing he said had a Tendency to advance it, but not in the least to exclude, or make it void. If under the Gospel-Dispensation the Law is not only preserved entire, but improved, and carried to a greater Height, and made more perfect than it was before; if the Gospel takes off the thin Cloathing of the Letter, and explains it in a Sense more worthy the Divine Legislator, and more agreeable even to it felf, than the
SERM. Interpretations of the Jewish Doctors VII. would admit of, then it is plain, that the
Gospel does not only not make void the Law, but establish and confirm it. It comes not to us indeed, like Bernice and Agrippa, in great Pompand Magnificence; as before; but when we have examined what Improvements the Gospel has made upon it, we shall see it in the more beautiful Garments of Holiness and Purity.
In the first Commandment, the Jews aro taught to have the Lord for their God, and to have none other befides Him. The Gospel teaches us the same, but adds mightily to it, by informing us, that the
putting too great a Value upon the things of this Life is a having other Gods besides Him; and therefore the giving up our selves to the Love of Riches is called the serving of Mammon, which we can't do, and obey God at the fame time, because it is a putting that Truft in Mammon, that is due only to the true God; and is as much a setting up of other Gods, as that was, when the Israelites worshipped Baalim and Ashtaroth, and the Gods of
SERM, Aram and Sidon Hence it is, that the
VII. Apostle calls Covetousness, Idolatry.
The Second Commandment teaches them what they are to observe, as to the Manner of worshipping God; that they should not do it under any Representation whatsoever. This too is much improved by the Gospel, which teaches us that it must not be done in a ritual figurative Manner, which after all was the greatest Pitch of Worship they could attain to under the Law, but in Spirit, and in Truth; and gives us a clearer Notion of the Divine Being, and of his wonderful Love to his Creatures, discovered in the furprizing Method of our Redemption.
The Third Commandment teaches them not to take the Name of the Lord their God in vain; and is much established and improved by the Gospel, when it teaches us, not only not to take the Name of God in vain by fwearing falsely by him, but that in our ordinary Communication we should not swear at all; nay we are not fo much as to fwear by Heaven, for it is God's Throne, nor by the Earth, for it is his Footstool. And we are further told