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He had need be a Divine Lawgiver, who takes

upon him to impose such pre. cepts; and control those workings of the soul, which are invisible to mortal can be tried before no human tribunal.

eye, and

We find no such injunction as this, I conceive, in the appointments of Lycurgus or Solon, in the Laws of the twelzie tables, or the Institutes of the Roman Emperor. Content with the regulation of the external act, and the imposition of some restraint on the tongue, they presume not to proceed further ; but decently and prudently stop, being arrived at the limits of their authority.

But the Supreme Lord has no bounds set to his Empire; which both reaches throughout infinity, and penetrates to

the inmost recesses : his dominion is uni. Ephes . iv. verfal, and complete. He is above all, and

through all, and in you all. The thoughts and intents of the heart, make indeed



the principal subject of his inspection and government: to desire, and wish only to

exempt from his authority, is already to have rebelled against Him.


Exhortations others may have used, or given their counsel, in the capacity of wife men or Philosophers, for the benefit of such citizens as would aspire to perfection: but here is a Law in all it's forms, fet forth with the most folemn, nay, even with a miraculous pomp, in terms the most precise and peremptory, and in company with the other fundamental institutions of the common wealth.

Thou shalt do no murder.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Thou shall not steal.

Thou shalt not bear false witness.

Thou shalt not covet.



xxii. 5.

To what purpose this last prohibition?
If I steal, or bear false witness, I know

the penalty : of the best of his own field or Deut.xix. vineyard, shall he make restitution ; - Ye

Shall do unto him, as he thought to have done
unto his brother. If I commit murder, my
life is answerable for the transgression :
the punishment is fixed, and the witnesses
ready to lay their hand upon my head.


But what if I commit no murder, but only desire and wish to do it? Suppose I do not steal with my hands, but covet only in my heart, the poffeffions of my neighbour : what is the penalty of this transgression? or who shall undertake to be the witness? Is it not superfluous and triling, to issue out proclamations that must be of no force, and edicts that can never be executed? What is a Law, without a sanction? or what are both these, where there can be no proof of the offence? Is not this rather to sport with the majesty of laws; and co debase and


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expose to ridicule, what is most important and facred? The dignity and wisdom of the great Lawgiver of the Jews, forbid us to ascribe to him a conduct so plainly inconsistent and unmeaning.

I 2.


What then can we infer, but that he knew, his laws had an authority inore than human; that they only passed through his hands; but were indeed enacted by one, who was also able to see them executed ? Him, who is a discerner of the thoughts and Hebr. iv. intents of the heart; and can bring every Ecclus xii. work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or evil: and who, he knew, would do it; would interpose even in this present world, so far as should be necessary for the honour of his government, and the completion of his promises; leaving however, we may well allow, a more full and perfect, a more distinguished and universal display of his attributes, and vindication of his providence, for


the final revelation by his Son, and the judgment of the world to come.

Gal. iii. 24.

It is written - The law was our Schoolmaster to bring us unto Chrift. In this command especially, Thou shalt not covet, it breaches the spirit of the Christian difpensation; teaching men to practise it's

precepts from an inward principle, and Rom. ii. to shew the work of the Law, written in

their hearts.

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There is somewhere an account, fabulous I allow, but yet instructive, of an Almond Tree, of a particular species, endowed, it seems, with this fingular property; whatever mark you shall inscribe upon the kernel of the nut, when it is planted, the same will be found vifibly delineated on all the leaves and fruit of the tree that springs from it. The stone being opened at first, and the intended character once carefully drawn,


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