« AnteriorContinuar »
EXODUS XX. 1, 2, 3.
And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
IN my last Lecture I gave you an account of God's calling Abraham. I told you, that all the Jews are descended from Abraham, and that God, intending to have one people on the earth true to him, while the rest were false, fixed on the family of Abraham for this purpose. Abraham was a religious and a good man. He had a true faith in God. He believed all that God told him, and did all that God bid him to do.
Therefore God blessed him, and made him to prosper. Isaac was his son; and he too, was a worshipper of the true God, while the rest of the world worshipped idols, that is, images of wood and stone. Jacob was the son of Isaac, and was also a worshipper of the true God. Jacob had twelve sons, who are called in the Bible the twelve patriarchs. Now from these patriarchs the nation of the Jews are sprung. This nation was divided into twelve tribes, or classes, according to the number of the twelve patriarchs. Each patriarch was the head of a tribe or class. After various misfortunes, this people, namely, the Jews, as they are now called, but they were then called Israelites, this people, I say, was on their journey to their own land, the land of Canaan, as it was named. It was afterwards named Judea; and now goes by the name of Palestine, or the Holy Land. I have told you before, that God wished to keep this people true to him. He intended that Jesus Christ,
his only Son, should be born of this people, when the time should come for sending him into the world. God was, therefore, pleased to make a covenant with them. You know that a covenant is the same thing as a bargain, in which two persons or parties agree on a certain thing. God was to be their king, their master, and their protector: and they promised to serve him as his people. Moses was the person, whom God appointed to carry all commands or orders to this people. Moses is often spoken of in the Bible. He was greatly favoured of God Almighty, because he always obeyed God, and was ready to do what God commanded him. To him God delivered the ten commandments to be written on two tables of stone, which he faithfully did. These ten commandments I now read to you every Sunday evening. And as, at the time when they were given, the Israelites were very ignorant, knew perhaps little more than yourselves, I think that they must be very useful to you,
and I hope that, as you hear them every Sunday evening, you will at length learn them very perfectly. I shall therefore speak to you about these ten commandments more at large, so as to make you understand them better, if I can, whenever you hear them read.
The first commandment is, Thou shalt have none other Gods but me. You know it is God who speaks: he spake them to the Israelites in the midst of thunderings and lightnings, and from a smoking mountain, smoking and burning with fire. God thought it necessary to give this command to the Israelites, and so it was. For at that time the wicked people around them worshipped a great many Gods, and forgot the one true God. They worshipped the sun, the moon, the stars: they worshipped dead men. Now you have been told, that the Israelites were to be the chosen people of God, and were to continue to be so, till Christ came, who was to make all the peo
ple of the earth, God's people. It was necessary therefore to command them in the first place to have no other God but And our Saviour in speaking of this commandment says, "the first and great commandment is, the Lord our God is one Lord, and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength." You are therefore, my brethren, bound by this commandment to worship God only, and to worship him with all your hearts. He made you. To him you owe your lives, and all that you enjoy, or hope to enjoy. He gives you health: he has formed the medicines which heal your sickness. "Without faith," the Bible informs us, "it is impossible to please God: for he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them who diligently seek him." You see then that the first truth in religion is, to believe that there is a God, and the first duty to