And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.—Isaiah 37.31.

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The Super-Excellent Law

Of the Lord Almighty

Set forth in a Sermon

Declaring the Perfect Holiness

Of the Divine Law, as well as

Its Sufficient Ability

To Make us Wise, to Unite us to our God, and

To Abide Forever a Doctrine for his People.

By John Calvin.


Romans 7.12: Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

Psalm 19.7,8,9: The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

Excerpted From:

The

Sermons

Of M. Iohn Calvin

Vpon the fifth booke of

Moses called Deuteronomie.

[1555.06.07.]

The xxx. Sermon, which is the twelfth upon the fourth Chapter,

and the first upon the fifth Chapter.

44.  This is the Lawe which Moſes did ſet before the children of Iſrael.

45  Theſe are the Couenants, Ordinances, and Lawes, which Moſes ſhewed to the children of Iſrael, after they were come out of Egypt,

46  Beyond Iordan in the valley againſt Bethphogor, in the Lande of Sehon King of the Amorrhytes which dwelt in Heſebon, whom Moſes and the children of Iſrael smote, after they were come out of Egypt,

47  And poſſeſſed his land, and the land of Og King of Baſan, two kings of the Amorrhytes which were beyond Iordan towards the Sunriſing:

48  From Aroer which is vpon the banke of the riuer Arnon, vnto the Hill of Sehon, which is Hermon:

49  And all the plaine beyond Iordan Eaſtwarde, vnto the Sea that is in the plaine vnder Aſdoth Phaſga.

The fifth Chapter.

AND Moſes called all Iſrael and ſaid vnto them. Heare O Iſrael the ordinances and Lawes which I ſet before you this day, that ye may learne them and keepe them in deede.

2  The Lord our God made a couenant with vs in Horeb.

3  The Lorde our God made not this couenant with our fathers, but with vs which are all here aliue at this day.

FOr as much as it is hard to keep men in ſubiectió to GOD: therefore after he had chosen him a people, he vouchsafed to rule them, not for once and away, {176:B} but even so long time till they ought to have been well inured [used, accustomed] to his yoke. And after the same manner doth he deal daily with his Church. One word ought to be enough to make us understand the truth of our God. But forasmuch as we believe not so speedily as were requisite: & when we have begun, we start away again: and finally forget the things that he had taught us: therefore he thinketh it not enough to have told us once what is needful for our salvation, but he doth also put us oft in mind of it, & printeth it in our hearts as much as is possible. That is the cause why Moses rehearseth in this {177:A} text, that he not only delivered them the law in Horeb, but also taught it them new again, after he had gone about with them a forty years or fast upon it; yea and ceased not of all that time to set the things continually before them which GOD had earst [before] commanded him to utter unto them, as hath been touched already heretofore. But the diligence of Moses is not superfluous in that he saith, that being come to the side of Jordan, and having vanquished Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og the king of Bashan his neighbour, he did still put the people in mind of God's laws and ordinances, that they might stand to them and put them in use, and that if they had not had sufficient teaching already, they might at leastwise even then know God's truth and stick to it. That is the matter which Moses meant by this text. And here he setteth down expressly: the Laws, Covenants, Statutes, and ordinances, to express the better (as I have told you heretofore) that God taught not his people by halves, nor gave them a doctrine that was dark, short, or unperfect: but such a law as comprehended all that was for their benefit & welfare, so as if they sticked thereunto, they should not need to seek any further, for they should have wherewith to direct themselves in all points and all respects. Yea verily, for the law is a full doctrine accordingly also as the word hath his original thereof.  Again there are Covenants: which is as much to say, as that God covenanteth and indenteth with men, so as he neither forgetteth nor leaveth any thing out, that may make for the maintenance of the covenant betwixt him and us, in that it hath pleased him to adopt us for his children and Church, to take us to himself. Whatsoever concerneth the spiritual alliance between him and us, is comprehended under the word Covenant, because they be articles. For when men intend to covenant, they set down articles as well on the one side as on the other. We see then how God protesteth here, that the Law hath enough to teach men withal, so [long as] they hold themselves to it.  Afterward follow Statutes and Ordinances. It is a wonder to see how painful [laborious] GOD is in teaching of us, and how he telleth us that he hath not omitted any thing: and yet for all that, our wits are so fugitive, that we still covet some better thing than we find in God's word. This devilish curiosity hath reigned at all times in the world. And we see that even at this day, do what we can, this cursed desire cannot be overmastered, but that men will still needs be wiser than God would have them to be. And why? For when his word is preached unto us, there is no cause for us to find fault that he hath not shewed us all that is for our behoof. Yet notwithstanding, we be ticklish still, and would fain have this and that, besides that which God hath shewed us. Seeing then that such faultiness bewrayeth itself in us: it standeth us so much the more on hand to remember the counsel that is given us here: that is [to] wit, that if we will suffer God to be our master, we shall find all perfection of wisdom in his school. For his law is of sufficient ability to make us wise. {177:B} And again, (as I have said heretofore) it containeth all the points that serve to unite us unto our GOD: wherein consisteth our whole happiness and glory. [Col. 1.28; Deut. 6.]  Moreover it sheweth us the rule of well-doing, so as we need not to seek anywhere else what GOD alloweth, for we have there his statutes and ordinances. Then may we well know and assure ourselves that our life shall please GOD, when we pass not the bounds that he hath set us.  But if we add anything at all to it, let us not think that GOD alloweth that as righteousness or as a good thing: for he forgat not any thing that was necessary or behooveful.  And these two points are well worthy to be noted. For they serve to make us to set the more store by the doctrine that is daily set forth to us in the name of GOD. Sith [since] we see it is the perfect wisdom, ought we not to apply all our wits to it, and to hold us to it? Sith we see that GOD foresloweth not, but continueth to teach us daily: ought not we also on our side to be attentive and diligent to profit under him? And though we be not so well given to it at the first as were meet we should: ought we not to inforce ourselves all our life long to know God's will still more and more, till we be quite rid of all ignorance, which shall be when we be taken out of this world, and not before? [1 Cor. 1.9,10,12.]  Surely that which Moses did, ought to serve us for a rule and example at this day.  For he did it not at all adventure.  And besides that, GOD ordained him to be as a lookingglass to all prophets, and to all such as have charge to teach in God's Church.  Let us understand therefore that GOD will not have us to learn his truth in one day, as though one lesson were enough for us: but he will have the things often rehearsed to us which we have heard, that they may tarry with us and be so rooted in our hearts, as we may no more allege in excuse of ourselves, "O, I have not yet been well instructed."  God then on his part is always ready, so as we cannot err except we do it wittingly, willingly, and wilfully as it were.

But here is express mention made of: the Temple of Pheor [Beth-peor, verse 46], to shew that although the people had an eyesore there to turn them away to superstition: yet had they a remedy for it also, inasmuch as GOD called earnestly upon them by his word, that they should not meddle with the idolatries of the heathen.  Indeed it was a hard chastisement for them, to be driven to have the temple of an idol continually in their sight.  It was as if God meaning to have spited them, should have said, "I have called you to possess a land that is allotted to my service, where ye should have seen nothing that should have offended you: for my Sanctuary should have been set up among you, I should have been worshiped purely, according to my law, the land should not have been defiled with old superstitions, all such things should have been wiped out, so as ye should have heard nothing sound in your ears but my prayers. But now ye be here in a corner of a country, where ye behold the {178:A} temple of an idol, and where shameful abominations are committed.  Therefore it is as a vengeance which ye be fain to suffer for your sins, because ye be not worthy to enter into the land that I promised you."  Thus ye see how it was God's will to chastise his people, when he did let them dwell by the temple of Pheor. Likewise if we in these days be mingled with idolaters, so as we be fain to look upon the filthiness which they commit, and upon their perverting of all religion: let us understand that by that means God punisheth us, or at leastwise humbleth us because of our sins.  And we ought to be sorry, not only for the offences that are committed by the unbelievers, but also because we may well perceive that we be not worthy to see the whole world reformed, so as there might be one accord and consent of harmony in religion, and GOD be purely worshipped everywhere: I say we be not worthy to see it. Now then if superstitions be near us, and we be driven to behold the marks of them, or to hear any piece of them: Let us impute it to our own sins.

But yet howsoever the world went, GOD failed not to give the people of Israel a good remedy:  For when the law was taught them so by Moses: it was as if GOD had separated those that were his, from the blind wretches that went astray in their superstitions.  And hereupon we have to note, that although the whole world be perverted, and great confusion is to be seen, and all is full of error and corruption: yet notwithstanding we must take God's word for our guide, and that must strengthen us to defy all superstitions and idolatries. And if we be so full of vanity, as to fleet to and fro after that God hath given us his word: there will be no excuse for us. For as I have said afore, God's declaring of his will unto us, ought to be a sufficient bridle for us. Though all the world went the contrary way, and one sort followed their own fancies, and another sort had some likelihood of religion: yet ought none of those things to weigh with us, when we have once heard the voice of our GOD, and thereby gotten knowledge of his will. And therefore let us learn to make this certain and infallible doctrine available [availing], that it may draw us from all wicked opinions, from all errors, and from the things which the devil hath forged and men invented in the world.  Thus ye see what we have to remember, when Moses maketh mention here of Pheor's temple.

Now herewithal he addeth also, that this [was done] after their overcoming of the two kings, Og king of Bashan, and Sihon king of the Amorites or of Heshbon. And this circumstance served to blame the people, if they yielded not themselves obedient unto God. We know that the more favor GOD sheweth us, the more ought we to be provoked to love and fear him.  God hath shewed himself beneficial to us: now ought not the same to draw us the more unto him? Yes. For if we bind a mortal man unto us by our well-doing: he shall be taken and {178:B} deemed unthankful, if he acknowledge not the good that we have done him: and how much less are we to be excused, if we do not so to the living God? Then let us beare in mind that Moses maketh express mention here, of the two kings that had been overcome: to the intent that the people should have considered thus with themselves: "Go to, we have had here two excellent victories. Heretofore when we would have attempted it against the forbidding of our GOD, we were stoutly beaten back; there was no strength nor courage in us, our enemies came like Wasps or Hornets to sting out our eyes," according to the similitude which hath been set down heretofore. "But now are two strong and mighty kings overcome, without any cost of ours,—So as GOD hath given them into our hands. Who was the cause of these two victories? was it not God, who directed and ruled all? Seeing then that he hath pitied us, and begun to perform the promise which he made to our fathers, and given us so good a hansel [token] of it already: ought we not to endeavour to give ourselves in such wise unto him, as we may be wholly at his commandment? Should we not put ourselves into his hand, which he hath shewed to be so mighty for the love of us?" Behold (say I) how Moses meant the things that he rehearseth concerning the discomfiture of Sihon and Og: namely to blame the people for their unthankfulness, if they yielded not themselves quietly to the service of their God, which had bound them so greatly unto him.

But now must we also apply this doctrine to our use. Whensoever we perceive any sloth, or coldness, or rebelliousness in ourselves, so as our flesh falleth to striving, and we labor not to Godward with so cheerful mind and lusty courage as were expedient: we must enter into account of the benefits that we have received at his hand, [and think thus with our selves:] "wretched creature how happeneth it that thou art so loth to stick to thy GOD, seeing he hath shewed thee his will? consider what thou hast of him, bethink thee of the benefits which he hath bestowed upon thee unto this hour." Let every man examine himself how much he is bound unto GOD, that we may be the more inflamed to serve him.  And let us understand, not only generally that he hath created us: but also that besides his redeeming of us by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, as he redeemed the Israelites out of Egypt: and besides his drawing of us unto him by his grace: we have also had the doctrine of the Gospel, which was all one as to take us under his protection, and he sheweth it us daily by effect.  How many helps and succours have we had in our infirmities? Should not Satan have overcome us a thousand times, if our God had not reached out his hand to rescue us? Surely we should be utterly overthrown. Yea we should not only be borne down with temptations, but we should also be utterly overwhelmed, if it were not for such rescue as I speak of. Seeing then that our Lord ceaseth not to confirm {179:A} us daily in his grace: Let us on our side look that we take occasion thereby, to serve him the more earnestly, as we see is spoken of here.

Now proceeding herewith, Moses addeth that he spake thus to the people of Israel, saying: Hearken to the Law which the Lord hath caused to be set before ye, that ye may learn it & keep it. Here again Moses rehearseth the preface which we have seen heretofore: that is to wit, that God's law was not given, only to the end that men should hear it & know what it is: but to the end we should be reformed, & that God might have proof of the subjection that we yield unto him. To be short, we see that God's doctrine consisteth in practice, & that we must shew by our deeds that we have not been taught it in vain. Here Moses saith first of all, Hear the Law which I set forth to you in your ears to learn it. As if he should say, "God's meaning is not that the doctrine which is preached unto us in his name & by his commission, should fall to the ground: but that we should receive it diligently, & set our whole minds upon it." For what is the cause why we profit so slenderly in God's word, but for that we busy ourselves too much about worldly matters? If we come to a Sermon, or if we read the holy Scripture, it is but as it were for fashion's sake, we endeavour not to do as we ought to do, that we might observe the things that are told us. Wherefore let us see that we become diligent scholars, while God is so gracious to us as to teach us by his word.  And for the same cause doth Moses say, that he setteth it forth in their ears.  Indeed, this manner of speech were harsh in our tongue: nevertheless it importeth, that God speaketh not to us in a dark or strange language: but that he uttereth himself familiarly, so far forth as is requisite. Seeing then that God cometh down to us, to the end we might have his will familiarly uttered unto us: what excuse will there be for us, if his word be lost, or if it slip away, or if we take not hold of it to fare the better by it?  True it is that forasmuch as we be gross and ignorant, we shall ever find much darkness in God's word, so as it shall be too high & profound for us: but who is to blame for it? Let us mark then that all such as complain that God's word is an unknown speech unto them, are here rebuked of lying: & they do God wrong in slandering him, forasmuch as they deny and despise the grace which Moses protesteth to have been offered to the Israelites in the setting forth of the law. For he saith that at that time God spake to the people's ears by the mouth of him. Sith it is so: the doctrine ought to have been familiar enough to them. And much less cause have we nowadays to allege this shift, that we understand not the things that are contained in the Holy Scripture. For God speaketh merrily enough and familiarly enough unto us. It is long of none but ourselves that we have not our ears bored to hear him. And so let us mark well, that there remaineth nothing for us to do, but to be attentive that we may profit by the doctrine.

But yet herewithal we must resort to that which I have touched afore, namely, that it must be kept and throughly followed, for if we do no more but only like well of God's word, & yield record {179:B} unto it that it is good, true, and holy [Rom. 7.12,14]: shall God be greatly beholden to us for that?  What is to be done then? Behold, God will try whether he be our master or no. For the thing whereby to rule our life, is not only to inquire what he saith unto us: but also to give over our own desires and affections, and to desire nothing else but to please him, and to be governed by him and by his righteousness. When we be at that point, then is it a good proof that God hath such authority over us as he deserveth.  But until we be come to that point, we shall never know what it is to have profited in the doctrine. Therefore let this word Do or Perform run always in their minds which hear the word of God.  How now, let them say? Behold God hath granted us the grace to be taught. And to what end? not to the end we should but only hearken to it to say, yea marry, that is well said, that is good: but to the end that our whole life should be reformed, and that forasmuch as it is a good and sure rule, we should no more go astray as we have done, and as the ignorant wretches do, which are wandered out of the right way, and have not the teaching that we have, whom the doctrine ought so to mortify, as God may reign over us, and we be subject unto him.  Thus ye see in effect what Moses meant by protesting to the people in this preface, that his setting forth of the Law unto them, was not to the intent they should but only hear it and have their ears beaten with it: but to the intent they should also embrace it and keep it.

And for confirmation hereof he allegeth, that God made his covenant with the people in Mount Horeb, the better to bring them to fear, and to obey him for ever.  For if GOD should but only exact his due of us: yet were we sufficiently bound to cleave to him, and to stick to his commandments. But now seeing it hath pleased him of his infinite goodness, to come as it were to a common treaty, and to bind himself interchangeably unto us, whereas there is no cause why he should be bound: so as he covenanteth to be our father and Saviour, and to receive us into his flock, to be his inheritance, that we may live under his protection, and he setteth the everlasting life before us: Seeing he doth all these things for us, ought not our hearts to yield, though they were of stone? Seeing that the creatures do see that the living God abaseth himself so far, as to vouchsafe to enter into treaty with them, as if he should say, Go to, let us see at what point we be: indeed there is an infinite distance betwixt you and me, I might command you what I think good without having any further to do with you, neither are you worthy to come nigh me, or to have any acquaintance with him that can command you what he listeth [pleases], without making any other protestation than only this, This will I have ye do, this is my mind: & yet for all that, I forbear mine own right, I offer my self to you to be your leader & saviour, I am willing to govern you, & you shall be my little household; I will be your king {180:A} if you will be contented with my word: and besides this, think not that my making of my covenant with your fathers, was of purpose to gain any thing at your hands: for I have no need nor want of any thing, and if I had, what could ye do for me? but I seek your welfare and your salvation: and therefore I am here ready to enter into covenant with you, and to bind myself to you for mine own part: Seeing that the living God stoopeth so low, I pray you, must we not needs be too too unthankful, if we yield not to humble ourselves under him, and forbear all pride and stateliness? So then, it is not without cause that Moses speaketh here, of the covenant that God made with his people, to the end that his goodness and grace might be chiefly known. And if this took place in the time of the Law, there is much greater reason it should take place at this day. For our Lord's covenanting was not only with the Jews, nor for that one time only: but when he sent his only son, then did he shew himself much more fully to be our father and Saviour than he had done afore, and he did it after as sweet and friendly a manner as could be, so as it is all one as if he had even opened his bowels unto us. Seeing then that God hath given us his own heart in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we hear how Christ protesteth that he will not henceforth call us his servants but his friends, [John 15.15,] because he hath imparted himself unto us so familiarly: I pray you must not the devil needs have bewitched us, if we be not moved to yield ourselves wholly unto him, and to forsake ourselves and all our own affections? Therefore when we feel any naughtiness in us that keepeth us back from serving God, if we find any slothfulness in us, if we be fallen too fast asleep in this world: then to waken us up, and to cause us to magnify God, let us call to mind the covenant which our Lord hath made with us.

Now hereupon Moses addeth, It was not with your fathers that God made the covenant, but with us, even with us that are all alive at this day.  This sentence may have a double understanding.  For it may be taken as though Moses made a comparison, to shew the better that the people which lived at that time, might have been the more inflamed to serve God, because they had received more grace than their fathers. And for the same purpose also doth he say in Exodus [6.3,] I have not imparted this name of mine to your fathers. God speaking there to Moses, telleth him that he had not manifested himself so plainly to be God, unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as he did command to be done by Moses. Hereby he meaneth that the people ought to be the more attentive as now, because God revealed himself to them after an unaccustomed manner. And so the meaning of this text might be that God made not the like covenant with our fathers.  True it is that God spake to his servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and instructed them sufficiently. And it is said expressly in the eighteenth [chapter] of Genesis [verses 17,19,] Shall I hide {180:B} from my servant Abraham, what I intend to do upon Sodom and Gomorrah? No: for I know he will teach his household my decrees, ordinances, judgments, and laws.  Ye see here that Abraham did sufficiently instruct his household and that not after a slender fashion, but in God's judgments, statutes, and ordinances, so as it must needs be said that he had God's laws well printed in his heart. But yet for all that, it was a benefit not to be held scorn of, when God sent his Law to the people in two tables, and vouchsafed that there should be [that] wherewith to instruct them continually, and also that the same things should be recorded for us likewise. The thing therefore which we may gather upon this text is this protestation which Moses maketh to the people, as if he should say: "My friends, consider the benefit which God bestoweth upon you this day, which (verily) he bestowed not upon our fathers. For he gave not them the law in writing as he hath done to us, neither uttered he things unto them by piecemeal. True it is that he taught them sufficiently and as much as was requisite for their salvation: but behold, we all this day are come a step higher than they were: and therefore ought we to come the nearer unto him, seeing that he is so come down unto us." That is Moses' meaning if we take the text after the foresaid manner.

Likewise might a man say to us at this day, that God hath not dealt with our fathers as he hath dealt with us. And so meant our Lord Jesus Christ when he said to his disciples, "Many kings & prophets have desired to see the things that you see, and to hear the things that are preached unto you, and yet have not had their wish." [Matt. 13.17; Luke 10.24] Seeing then that God of his infinite mercy hath vouchsafed to prefer us before the Patriarchs and prophets: according also as it is said, that the Prophets served more for our times, than for their own, [1 Pet. 1.12]: thereby we ought to learn to resort unto him, & to give ourselves wholly to his doctrine.

Howbeit if all things be well considered: although the matter before rehearsed be very profitable, and that the same exhortation be oftentimes made in the Holy Scripture: yet if all the words be well weighed, Moses meant that God made not his covenant with those that had heard the Law at the first giving of it forth, that is to say, not only with them: but also with those that outlived them, and succeeded in their place after their decease.  So to be short, Moses intended to shew here, that the Law was not mortal, to continue only during the lives of such as had the first hearing of it: but that it was a doctrine which should continue in force and authority for ever.  The Lord our God (saith he) made not his covenant with our fathers: that is to say, he meant not that only our fathers should be his people, and so to bind himself in such sort unto them, that his law should serve for a forty or fifty years: but he hath made his covenant likewise with us, and with those that were yet unborn when the law was {181:A} given forth.  Although then that ye were not at mount Horeb, nor saw the fire upon the hill: yet notwithstanding assure yourselves that your God did adopt you at the same time unto himself, and comprised you likewise in the covenant that he made. Therefore it behooveth you to keep his law, because it was set forth to last for ever, and to continue from age to age, and to be preached unto the world's end. That is the true and proper meaning of Moses. And hereof we may gather a good lesson: which is, that although we were not at the first setting abroad of the Gospel, nor saw the things that are reported to us of the law: yet must not God's word forgo his authority with us. And why? True it is that God's raising up of Moses was a special prerogative to the people that lived in that time: but yet must not the authority of the Law be impeached for all that: for it containeth God's truth, which endureth for ever, and is not variable nor transitory after the manner of men. It is said that men are like a flower or as the grass that withereth and drieth away out of hand: but God's truth endureth for ever. [Isa. 40.6-8; 1 Pet. 1.24,25; 103.15-17; 117.2; 119.90, 152, 160.] And this truth which is unchangeable and unvariable, is contained in the Law. [Psalm 119.142; 146.6.] True it is that the Law as concerning the ceremonies is quite abolished [2 Cor. 3.11; Eph. 2.15; Col. 2.14; Heb. 9.10,11; Heb. 8.8,9,13]: but as concerning the substance of it, & the doctrine that is contained in it, it keepeth his force for ever and never decayeth. [Matt. 5.17,18.] Now let us mark that although we were not in the time of Moses, yet is it not for us to despise the things that are reported to have been done [at that time,] or which are contained in the law.  And why? For he spake them to us. He spake not only to the multitude that was assembled at mount Horeb: but also generally to the whole world. Now if this be verified of the law: much more reason is it that it should be so of the Gospel. For as I said, the law, as concerning the shadow and figures, is gone to decay: but in the Gospel there is no such like thing. For here our God maketh his new and everlasting covenant: it is a covenant that endureth from age to age [without ceasing.] [Heb. 8.8-10.] What is to be done then, when the Gospel is preached? We must assure ourselves that the Son of GOD is come into the world [Matt. 17.5]: not only to teach those with whom he was conversant when he was a mortal man: but also to purchase them unto God his father [Acts 20.28,] and to call the world to salvation, by giving his Apostles commission to sound forth their voices through the whole world, that even those might be made partakers of his doctrine which never heard them [Matt. 28.19; Mark 16.15,16]: which doctrine we also must receive still at this day, as if Jesus Christ himself were still among us, or as if the Apostles spake to us with their own mouths. That (say I) is the thing which we have to remember upon this place. And therefore let us not make any alteration in God's Church, or attempt to innovate anything in his word, forasmuch as we know that he will have it to hold on continually in one equal course and train.  For seeing he hath given us his Gospel, and stablished a certain government {181:B} in the time of the Apostles and in the primitive Church: it behooveth us to come to the same, and to stay there.  If we do otherwise, it is all one as if we would make God's word mortal and corruptible as we ourselves are.  Wherefore let us learn, that although the world be variable, so as there be turns and returns every day, and there is not any of us all which hath not a number of opinions running in his head: yet must we not look to have the liberty to do now one thing and now another.  Why so? For God hath not made his covenant with our fathers, but with us that are alive this day.  Then let us understand that as long as we be in this world, God governeth us here and sheweth us the way, to the end we should not be as wandering Pilgrims roaming up and down, to gad after our own lusts: but be guided as it were by his hand.  To be short, whereas Moses saith here, us that are all alive this day: it serveth to shew that men must not of all their life long invent any new law, nor have one today and another tomorrow. For why? Our life dependeth upon God's Law, and that ought to content us: therefore let us but only profit in that, and have an eye to the things that tend thereunto. [Lev. 18.5; Ezek. 20.11; Rom. 10.5; Gal. 3.12.]

Furthermore, no doubt but that Moses upbraideth the people here with their unthankfulness, if they should not dedicate their lives to the service of GOD.  As if he should say, By what means live we? Is it not because our Lord hath placed us in this world? Again, seeing that the life which we have cometh of him, ought we not to bestow it in his service? Ought it not to be wholly consecrated unto his will? Thus then ye see how Moses taunteth all such as run astray and follow not God's word. But yet herewithal we must bear in mind the thing which I have touched afore: that is to wit, that we have not a doctrine of two or three days continuance: but that we must be confirmed in it as long as we live.  When we have once received the things that are contained in the Holy Scripture, we must endeavour to profit in them: and to go forward still in such wise, as we may still grow in them until God take us out of the world [Phil. 3.12; Eph. 4.15]: assuring ourselves that he will keep covenant with us, so as he for his part will not be unfaithful nor unconstant, but steadfast in his purpose.  Seeing that he is so, let us be the like, and so long as we live, let us have none other respect but to stick to him, even in such wise as he sheweth us by his word. For we must not go about to knit and link ourselves to our GOD by our own fancies: but look as he cometh to us, so must we go to him, and when we be there, we must beware that we keep us there.  Thus ye see what we have to gather upon this text, that we may be the better disposed to receive the instruction that shall be given us hereafter, concerning God's Law and commandments.

Now let us kneel down in the presence of our good GOD with acknowledgment of {182:A} our faults, praying him to make us feel them better than we have done, so as our whole seeking may be to submit ourselves unto him, and he may vouchsafe to reach us his hand, not suffering us to be any more given to our own fancies and affections, but that we may magnify his goodness which he useth towards us, and fare the better by it by yielding him the obedience that he deserveth: specially because {182:B} he hath vouchsafed to bring us his law and declare it to us, and hath not only shewed us the way how to live well, but also vouchsafed to adopt us to be his children, and to shew himself to be our father and Saviour for our Lord Jesus Christ's sake.  That it may please him to grant this grace not only to us, but also to all people, &c.