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On The Other Part, He enjoined them,
i'. To abstain from making a covenant with the inhabitants of Canaan, these nations which God had destined to utter destruction. There was a particular reason for this prohibition, even the divine declaration formerly given, announcing their certain and utter destruction: And also a reason of universal and perpetual force, specified in the text, "Lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee; and thou go a whoring after their gods, and tlo sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; and thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods*." How often have persons made a sacrifice of their religious professions out of complaisance unto their connections! At first, these professors meant only to comply for once, perhaps; but, having once set their feet into the down-hill path, they find it difficult, if not impossible, to make a decent retreat. They go on, from begun apoltacy, to down-right enmity.
2. To break down all monuments of idolatry: "But ye (hall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves j*." This commandment had been in the foregoing transaction, and was, for special purposes, repeated in this one *; namely; That their covenant-renovation might contain a teltimony, aimed directly against their idolatry hi making the golden calf, which had-been done in imitation of Egyptian idolatry. Accordingly, as often as Israel returned to the Lord, in aftertimes, by covenant-renovation, they broke down the monuments of idolatry.
* ExoJ. xxxiv. 12, i j, 16. J- Fxoil. xxxiv. 13.
3. If they might not suffer such monuments of idolatry, as had been framed by others, to abide in their land, much less might they "make unto themselves any molten gods +." Idols were absolutely unlawful j whether intended as the objects, or as the means of worship.
4. God enjoined them Of New, to celebrate their solemn feasts, and dedicate their first-born, and first-fruits, unto himself. These bore also a part in the foregoing transaction; and the commandment was given out at this time, that these feasts might be opposed to That Feast which they had proclaimed in honour of the golden calf.
5. God prescribed abstinence from SeethIng a kid in his mother's milk. Some of the enemies of religion have derided this precept,
• ExoJ. xsiii, 24. f Exod, xxxiv, 17.
as as trivial, and some of its friends have hesitated as to the reason of it; but there is no room either for derision or doubt. Such as have duly attended Unto the matter find, that the idolaters of ancient times seethed a kid in its mother's milk; and, in a superstitious manner, sprinkled their fields, orchards, and vineyards therewith, imagining, by these means, to fructify them against the next year *. Now, this prohibition was properly inserted in this covenant, as it was intended to be a testimony against all idolatry and superstition, then abounding, whatsoever.
THIRDLY, The Occasions of this Covenant deserve to be considered in the next place. The interval between this covenant and the last was not above four months: The incidents which filled it up, however, were various and important.
I. Immediately after the former covenant, Moses had been called up to the mount, for the purpose of receiving instructions as to the making of the tabernacle, and the office of the priesthood. Genuine covenanters put a blank into God's hand; and God took this method to fill it up. The space of time between Moses's being called up into the mount,
* Gregory's Obscrvat. cap. xix. apud Crit. Sac. Tom. ix.
and and his leaving Joshua, was six days: On the seventh day God called to Moses out of the cloud. This seventh day was probably the Sabbath; and the first of the forty days on which Moses fasted*. This is one of the particulars in which Moses prefigured our Lord Jesus Christ. One reason why both observed such a fast seems to have been a confirmation of the mission,—evidencing they were at once divinely upheld, and divinely authorised.
2. During Moses's abode on the mount, the congregation of Israel, impatient of his absence, despairing of his return, and swayed by the idolatrous taint of Egypt, too successfully solicited Aaron to Make them gods to go before them: Aaron, far from that firm- . ness which became his station, not only complied with their request, but also planned the execution of it. To satisfy their fond desires, and silence their clamours, he founded the Goldkn Calf. Thus, in the very place where they had expressly engaged Not To Make , Into Themselves Any Likeness Of Any Thing That Is In The Earth Beneath, did they change the glory of the incorruptible God into the likness of an ox. While the fire of his jealousy, which fenced this article, flamed about the mount, did the rage of idolatry flame in their hearts.
* Exod. xxidv. 18.
* T * 3' Their
3. Their idolatry involved in it a notable breach of covenant vrtth God, and provoked him to break oft from sinilhing; that system of ordinances which he was bestowing bv the miniilry of Moses; and to denounce his most dreadful indignation against them. The system was far advanced, indeed, before it was broken off. The ordinances of the tabernacle, and the regulations of the priesthood, were already finished; as also the writing of the ten commandments, on Tables of stone. These tables were the workmanship of God, both in point of preparation and inscription. He saw meet to write the substance of the former covenant on stone, to denote the perpetuity of the "ten commandments, as the rule of conduct and instruction to his children. The tables were broken, however, by Moses, wheniie came down from the mount. Some tax. Moles with rage and weakness in this step of his conduct; others endeavour to excuse him. But, whether he was culpable or not, his conduct was certainly emblematical of God's breaking off' from finishing the system of ordinances which he had begun ; and it was also a standing testimony against their breach of covenant with him. Hence, he denounced most terrible judgments against diem: "I have seen this people, and behold (said he) it is a stiff-necked people! Now, therefore, let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may