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people who within less than forty days haci beheld the terrors of his presence on Mount Sinai, had heard the law from his mouth, and had pledged themselves to sincere and stedfast obedience; now disregarded their promise, despised the unchangeable commandment, and were rioting in idolatrous festivities consecrated to the honour of the golden calf. Professing to be the votaries of Jehovah; for even this impious feast was named by Aaron a feast to the Lord; they were become the vassals of an idol. Forsaking the ordinances of the true God, that they might pursue their own devices ; and, under the pretence of worshipping him, polluting themselves with those very practices which he had recently pronounced to be abominations in his, fight : they clearly proved that, although they called themselves his people, their hearts were alienated from him ; that he was not the master whom they loved; that his will - was not the law to which they were solicitous to conform. It was time then that a distinc. tion should be made between the faithful servants of God, if such there were, and the unworthy multitudes who pretended to adore him. It was time for Moses, the ambassador of the Most High, to cry out in his name
to all the people ; Who is on the Lord's side It was time that the Levites, who alone had not partaken in the general idolatry, or now at length were struck with horror at their guilt, should fy with precipitation to their great leader, who summoned them to the standard of their God. Cast your eyes upon the Christian world : cast your eyes upon this your native country, in which Christianity is professed in its purest form : cast your eyes upon your own neighbourhood, upon the places where the prevalence or the deficiency of true religion is likely to be well known to you : and let your understandings and consciences pronounce, whether a scene too nearly resembling that which Moses beheld. in the camp of Israel be not presented to your view. Through the enlightening grace of God, this Protestant land is no longer overspread with worshippers of graven or molten images. But are there not numbers among those, who profess the Christian faith ; are there not numbers among those, with whose conduct and principles the ordinary transactions of life render you acquainted; whose hearts are fet upon their idols? The covetous man is declared in the Scriptures to be an idolater. Money is his god. How large a · VOL. I.
portion of mankind is comprehended among the worshippers of money! The Scriptures aver the glutton also to be an idolater. He worships the brutish appetite, by which he is enslaved. On the same authority, the man whose chief object is any sensual pleasure deserves the same denomination. That pleafure is his idol. He likewise whose chief pursuit is reputation, or honour, or power, is an idolater. Reputation, or honour, or power, is the object of his worship. In fhort, he who fets his heart on any worldly object, inftead of fixing it upon God, is confidered in the Scriptures, as partaking in the guilt of idolatry, as a slave to that object which he makes his principal pursuit, and as not on the fide of the Lord. Know ye not that to whom ze gield yourselves servants to obey, bis servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of fin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness (a)? When you survey multitudes among those who are denominated Christians, who were baptised in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, who profess to believe that the Son of God
died on the cross to purchase for them the : pardon of tin, the fanctifying influence of - .. . (d) Rom. vi. 16. ' .
the Holy Spirit, and the everlasting glories of the kingdom of heaven : when you survey multitudes of these nominal Christians, together with numbers who scarcely term them. felves Christians, yielding themselves with eagerness as servants to fin ; when you see * them giving up their whole hearts to things temporal instead of things eternal; when you fee them acting as the flaves of the world, the fleih, and the devil, instead of striving to become the children of the Most High': is it y not time for every minister of the gospel to
address his congregation in the words of Mofes ; to cry out to them, “ who among :55 you is on the Lord's fide?" Is it not time
for every one of you to put the question to
his own heart; “On whose Gide am I act.“ ing? Am I on the side of the Lord?" Is
it not time for every one of you, who is in fincerity and truth on the Lord's fide, to
stand forth and prove himself to be fo? Can s you remain for a fingle hour indifferent and with a quiet mind, without knowing whether you have ftronger reasons to hope that God
regards you as on his side, than to fear that - he looks upon you as his enemy? Are you
ignorant that he who is not with God is against him : that he, who does not receive
M 2 . God God as his master and love God as his supreme delight, is the servant of the devil, and the enemy of God? Do you forget that salvation through Christ will be bestowed on those only, who prove themselves to be on the Lord's side: and that for those, who are not on the side of the Lord, nothing will remain but tribulation and anguish and everlasting destruction, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed in flaming fire to take vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the Gospel ?
To say that we are on the side of the Lord is easy. The sacrifice of the lips is an offering that costeth nothing: and is therefore an offering which nearly all men are ready to make. But God requires from those who profess to be on his side not empty words, but evidences and deinonstrations of their sincerity. I fully trust that there are some, and I pray that there may be many, present in this assembly, who are thoroughly in earnest in religion: thoroughly and zealously desirous to give proof day by day that they are stedfastly on the side of the Lord; and prepared to receive with gladness any instructions or advice, which may contribute under the divine blessing to enable them faithfully