Ye shall keep my statutes
Those which follow, and which are of a different sort from what are last mentioned, of a moral nature, and are planted in the heart, as Aben Ezra says; are agreeably to the law and light of nature, and part of the work of the law written on the heart, as the apostle calls it, ( Romans 2:15 ) ; but the following are of positive institution, and depend upon the will of the lawgiver, the reasons of which are not so apparent and manifest; and therefore Jarchi calls them the decree of the king, who gives no reason for it; ordinances and appointments of a ceremonial kind, which, though there is a meaning in them, and a reason for them, yet not clear and plain: thou shall not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind;
or "cause [them] to gender" F5 for cattle do not usually of themselves gender with a diverse kind, unless directed and solicited to it, as a male of one kind with a female of another; for instance, an horse with a she ass, or an he ass with a mare, and even creatures that were like one another, yet of different kinds, were not to mix together; as a wolf and a dog, a hound and a fox, goats and roebucks, goats and sheep, a horse and a mule, a mule and an ass, an ass and a wild ass; for though they are like one another, they are of different kinds F6: a creature thus gendered was not forbidden to be used, as a mule; and if a clean creature and gendered of clean ones, though of a different kind, it might be eaten, as Maimonides F7 affirms; for not the creature gendered was unlawful for use, but the act of causing to gender is what is forbidden: the design was to preserve the order of beings, and the nature of creatures as they were at the first creation; that there might be no change among them, or anything taken from or added to what God had made; not to separate what God had joined, or join what God had separated, which to do must reflect upon his wisdom; as also, that men and women, as Philo F8 observes, might abstain from unlawful converse, from unnatural lusts and mixtures; and as Ainsworth thinks, this was to lead Israel to the simplicity and sincerity of religion, and of all the parts and doctrines of the law and Gospel in their distinct kinds, as faith and works, to mingle which together in our justification before God is forbidden; or rather to teach the saints not to mix with the men of the world, in evil conversation, or in superstitious worship; to which may be added, to show that spiritual regeneration is not partly of corruptible and partly of incorruptible seed, nor partly of the will of man, and partly of the will of God; nor partly of the power of man, and partly of the power of God, but wholly of the Spirit and grace of God: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed:
or seed of divers sorts, as wheat and barley, and which, according to the Jews F9, was not mingled unless there be two grains of wheat and one of barley, or one of wheat and two of barley; or wheat, and barley, and rye: they also include herbs and trees in this law, and make an graft of them a forbidden mixture; hence, they say F11, they do not ingraft one tree in another, nor one herb in another, nor a tree in an herb, nor an herb in a tree, of which they give instances: and there are various sorts of seeds, herbs, roots, and trees, which are and are not of divers kinds, and some that are alike and yet diverse; for they have a whole treatise of such like things, called "Celaim", or divers kinds: as to the mystical sense, the "field" may represent the church of God, which is not an open but an enclosed field, enclosed by the grace of God, and separated from others by it, well manured and cultivated by the Spirit of God, and through the word and ordinances, as means, in which manner of fruit and flowers grow, and is the property of Christ; see ( Song of Solomon 4:12-14 ) ( Matthew 13:44 ) ; the seed may signify the word or doctrine of the Gospel, sown by the ministers of it, skilfully and plentifully, which should be pure and unmixed, not contradictory, nor inconsistent, but all of a piece; the doctrines of it, as those of election, justification, peace, pardon, and salvation, are to be represented, not as partly of works and partly of grace, but as entirely of the grace of God through Christ: or good and bad men may be signified by the mingled seed; good men, who are made so by the grace of God, and are the good seed, or the good ground which receives it, which hear the word, understand it, and bring forth fruit; bad men, such as are of bad principles and practices, these are not to be mixed together in a church state; bad men are neither to be received nor retained: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee;
for, as Josephus F12 says, none but the priests were allowed to wear such a garment, and with which the Misnah F13 agrees; in which it is asserted, that the priests have no other clothing to minister in, in the sanctuary, but of woollen and linen; which seems to be a better reason of this prohibition than what Maimonides F14 gives, that it was on the account of idolatrous priests, who used to go clothed with such a garment, and a metal ring on their fingers: the Jewish tradition is, nothing is forbidden on account of divers kinds (i.e. in garments) but wool and flax; camels' wool, and sheep's wool, mixed together, if the greater part is camels', it is free, but if the greater part is sheep's wool, it is forbidden, if half and half, it is forbidden; and so flax and hemp mixed together; also that nothing is forbidden on such account but what is spun and wove F15: the design of this, as of the other, seems to be in general to caution against unnatural lusts and impure mixtures, and all communion of good and bad men, and particularly against joining the righteousness of Christ with the works of men, in the business of justification: Christ's righteousness is often compared to a garment, and sometimes to line linen, clean and white; and men's righteousness to filthy rags, ( Revelation 19:8 ) ( Isaiah 64:6 ) ; which are by no means to be put together in the said affair; such who believe in Christ are justified by the obedience of one and not of more, and by faith in that obedience and righteousness, without the works of the law, ( Romans 5:19 ) ( Romans 3:28 ) ( 4:6 ) ; to join them together is needless, disagreeable, and dangerous.