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law, instruct their own children; and yet as they increased, so doubtless they had, besides the law of nature, many precepts from God, before the law written. But now at length, forasmuch as the law of nature did not define all kinds of good and evil; nor condemn every sin in particular ; nor sufficiently terrify the consciences of offenders; nor so expound divine worship, as for those after-ages was required, who gave every day less authority than other to the natural law; in these respects it was necessary that the law should be written, and set before the eyes of all men ; which before they might, but would not read in their own consciences. The schoolmen, and the fathers before them, enlarge the causes and necessity why the law was written, whereof these are the chiefest.
The first, for restraining of sin, directly grounded upon this place of David ; The law of the Lord is undefiled, converting souls ; the testimonies of the Lord are faithful, giving wisdom to children. For the human law, saith St. Augustine, meeteth not with all offences, either by way of prohibition or punishment; seeing thereby it might take away something seeming necessary, and hinder common profit; but the divine law written, forbiddeth every evil, and therefore by David it is called undefiled.
Secondly, It serveth for the direction of our minds. For the laws of men can only take knowledge of outward actions, but not of internal motions, or of our disposition and will; and yet it is required, that we be no less clean in the one than in the other. And therefore were the words converting our souls added by David ; wherein are all our outward acts first generated, according to the cabalists : Actiones hominum nullæ essent, nisi prius in mente dicerentur ; “ The actions of men,” say they, “ would be none at all,
were they not first conceived in the mind.”
Thirdly, It leadeth us to the knowledge of truth, which, by reason of diversity of opinion, and difference of peculiar laws among sundry nations, we cannot be assured of; but the law of God bindeth all men, and is without error; and
RALEGH, HIST. WORLD. VOL. II.
therefore also said David, That the testimony of the law of God is faithful; giving wisdom to children.
Of the unwritten law of God, given to the patriarchs by tradition.
NOW, that in all this long tract of time, between the creation and the written law, the world and people of God were left altogether to the law of reason and nature, it doth not appear.
For the patriarchs of the first age received many precepts from God himself, and whatsoever was first imposed by Adam, the same was observed by Seth, who instructed Enos; from whom it descended to Noah, Sem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses. Yea many particular commandments afterwards written, were formerly imposed and delivered over by tradition ; which kind of teaching the Jews afterwards called cabala, or receptio, precepts received from the mouth of their priests and elders; to which the Jews, after the law written, added the interpretation of secret mysteries, reserved in the bosoms of their priests, and unlawful to be uttered to the people. But the true cabala was not to be concealed from any; as being indeed the divine law revealed to the patriarchs, and from them delivered to the posterity, when as yet it was unwrit
The commandments which God gave unto Adam in the beginning, were, that he should impose names to all beasts, according to their natures; to whose perfection of understanding they were sufficiently known. For finding the reason of his own name Adam, of adamah, earth, or red clay, he gave other names significant, not only to beasts, but to his children and nephews, which afterwards his issues imitated ; as the name of Seth signifieth, as some take it, one that was laid for the ground or foundation of the church, or rather, one given in recompense for Abel that was slain ; and Enosh signifieth man, or miserable, &c. Further, God commanded Adam to till the ground, and to live by the labour thereof; God also gave him the choice of all fruits, but the forbidden ; and in Adam also was mar
riage first instituted; all men thenceafter being commanded to cohabit with their wives, rather than with their father and mother.
That murder and cruelty was also forbidden both before the law written, and before the flood itself, it is manifest; God himself making it appear, that it was one of the greatest causes of the destruction of mankind by the general flood. For God said unto Noah, An end of all flesh is come before me ; for the earth is filled with cruelty through them; and behold I will destroy them from the earth. That offence therefore, for which all perished, could not be unknown to all that perished ; God's mercy and justice interposing between the untaught and revenge.
· This commandment God repeated to Noah, after the waters were dried up from the earth. e Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed for in the image of God hath he made man.
Also the law of honouring and reverencing our parents was observed among the faithful, and the contrary punished by the father's curse; as, fCursed be Canaan ; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. Again, we find that the unnatural sin of the Sodomites was punished in the highest degree, as with fire from heaven. The sin of adultery and ravishment was before the law no less detested than the rest, as appeareth by that revenge taken for 8 Dinah's forcing ; and by the judgment which hJudah gave against Tamar, That she should be burnt; and by the repentance of Pharaoh and Abimelech, against whom this sentence was pronounced, Thou art but dead, because of the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife. To these we may add the ordinance of sacrifice, of distinction of clean and unclean beasts, of circumcision, of the brother to raise
. The common reading is cum terra: but God did not destroy the earth; and why may not this preposition in this place have the same force which it lath, according to Junius, Gen. iv, 1. item xliv. 4. and Deut. xxxiv. 1. especially seeing
these words are but a repetition of
e Gen. ix. 6.
up seed to his brother, that left a widow childless, and divers other constitutions, partly moral and partly ceremonial, which being delivered before the written law, were after by it confirmed. So that this divine law imposed, of which the law of Moses containeth that which is called the Old Testament, may be said, not only to have been written in the hearts of men, before it was engraven in stone, but also in substance, to have been given in precept to the pa- .. triarchs. For as St. Paul witnesseth of himself, I knew not sin, but by the law; so the law ever naturally preceded and went before offences, though written after offences committed.
It is true, that all the creatures of God were directed by some kind of unwritten law; the angels intuitively; men by reason; beasts by sense and instinct, without discourse ; plants by their vegetative powers; and things inanimate by their necessary motions, without sense or perception.
SECT. IX. Of the moral, judicial, and ceremonial law, with a note prefixed,
How the scripture speaketh not always in one sense, when it nameth the law of Moses.
NOW as the word law in general, as is aforesaid, hath divers significations, and is taken for all doctrine which doth prescribe and restrain ; so this law, called the law of Moses in particular, is taken by St. Paul diversely; as sometimes for all the Old Testament, as, i Now we know whatsoever the law saith, it saith to them which are under the law.
When it is opposed, or differenced from the prophets and psalms, it is there taken for the five books of Moses. For so St. Luke hath distinguished them; as, k All must be fulfilled, which are written of me in the law, in the prophets, and in the psalms.
When it is opposed to the gospel, then it is taken for the law moral, ceremonial, and judicial; as, ' Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the works of the law.
i Rom. iii. 19.
k Luke xxiv. 44.
I Rom. iii. 28.
When it is opposed to grace, it signifieth the declaration of God's wrath, and our guilt of condemnation; or the extremity of law, and summum jus ; as, m For ye are not under the law, but under grace.
When it is opposed to the truth, namely, where the ceremonies or signs are taken for the things signified; as the sacrifice for Christ, and the like; then it signifieth but shadows and figures ; as, " The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Lastly, When it is opposed to the time of Christ's coming, it signifieth the whole policy of the Jews' commonweal ; as, . Before faith came, we were kept under the lar, &c. or the law of the order and institution of the Aaronical priesthood; as, All the prophets, and the law, or the priests, prophesied unto John. P And if the priesthood be changed, the law also, to wit, of the priesthood, must needs be changed.
The word law is sometimes also taken by the figure metonymia, for interest, authority, and empire, or for constraining force; as, 9 The law of the Spirit of life, the law or the force of sin and death, the enforcements of concupiscence, &c.
But the written law of Moses, or the law of the Old Testament, of which we now speak, is thus defined ; The law is a doctrine, which was first put into the minds of men by God, and afterwards written by Moses, or by him repeated, commanding holiness and justice, promising eternal life conditionally, that is, to the observers of the law, and threatening death to those which break the law in the least. For, according to St. James, "Whosoever shall keep the whole, and faileth in one point, is guilty of all. The definition used by the schoolmen, in which both the old and new law are comprehended, is thus given : Lex divina est divinum decretum, hominibus prescribens modum necessarium ut apte pervenire possint ad supernaturalem beatitudinem, quæ est ultimus humanæ vitæ finis ; “ The divine law," say they, “ is
m Rom. vi. 14. Gal. jii. 18.
John i. 17.
p Heb. vii. 12. and x. 1.
James ii. 10.
Gal. iii. 23. Luke xvi. 16.