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image, a visible.emblem and; representation of the unseen God, to be carried at the head of tbe host. Aaron, fearing man more than the Lord, most wickedly gave way to their clamour and violence. He formed a golden calf, the image of an animal which he had been accustomed to see the object of worship in Egypt; built an altar before it; and proclaimed a feast in honour of Jehovah. Before that image the people bowed down in adoration; to that image they offered sacrifices; to tbat image they ascribed the glory of their deliverance from the land of bondage. This blind and daring idolatry of the Israelites God revealed to his servant who stood before him. Moses, having prevailed with his heavenly master, by the kindest and most disinterested intercession, to forbear from destroying the rebellious nation instantly and utterly; hastened down from the mountain. Arriving at the gate of the camp, and beholding the people occupied in idolatrous songs and dances and worssiip before the golden calf; he cried aloud, Who is on the Lord's Jlde? Let him come unto me. All the sons of Levi obeyed his voice. They gathered themselves together unto him: they declared themselves on the side of the Lord; and professed their
readiness to execute the commands, of his chosen minister. They were called to a painful trial of obedience. They were re-* quired to take their swords in their hands; to pass through the camp of Israel from one side to the other; and to flay every person, whether neighbour, companion, brother or son, whom they should sind engaged in paying reverence to the idol. The children of Levi did according to the "word of Moses * and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
In applying to our edification the portion of scriptural history which you have heard; I shall, in the first place, endeavour to convince you that, as Moses called upon the faithful among the Israelites, so the gospel calls upon us, to stand forth on the side of the Lord. And I (hall afterwards lay before you some observations respecting the faithful discharge of this duty. Let us unite in earnestly beseeching the Giver of grace to open our minds, that they may understand and embrace the truth.
I. The people of Israel; the peculiar people of God; the people who had experienced such extraordinary mercies at his hand; the
people who within less than forty days had 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 j 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 re-» cently 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 distinction 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'sfide? It was time that the Levites, who alone had Hot partaken in the general idolatry, or now at length were struck with horror at their guilt, should fly with precipitation- to theif 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 set upon their idols? The covetous man is declared in the Scriptures to be aft idolater. Money is his god. How large a Vol. I. M • portion portion of mankind is comprehended among the worshippers of money! The Scriptures aver the glutton also to he an idolater. He worships the brutish appetite, by which he is enslaved. On the same authority v the man whose chief object is any sensual pleasure deserves the fame denomination. That pleasure is his idol. He! likewise whose chief pursuit is reputation, or honour, or power, is an idolater. Reputation, or honour, or powers Is the object of his worship. In short, he who sets-his heart on any worldly object, instead of fixing it upon God, is considered in the Scriptures, as partaking in the guilt of idolatry, as a slave to *hat object which he makes his principal pursuit, and as :not'Qn-the side of the Lord. Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye arc 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 sin, the sanctifying influence of