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the holy city, the Jerusalem that is above, the new and living way which leads thither, which conducts into the holiest of all, is through the rent vail of the Redeemer's flesh. “ His blood be upon us and on our children, exclaimed the Jews, while they were crucifying the Lord of glory. Dreadful imprecation!
O Lord, require not our blood of our own hand, nor of every man at the hand of his brother. O Lord, let this man's blood be upon us and upon our children, not as an oppressive load, as it was on those who with wicked hands impiously shed it, but as an atonement for our șins, as a sacrifice of a sweet smelling savour, acceptable unto God; that “ being justified by faith, we may have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. By whom also we may have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Amen. Amen.
HISTORY OF MOSES.
And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come
down out of the mount, the people gathered them. selves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden ear-ring's which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden ear-rings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel
, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.-Exodus xxxii. l-4.
THE real instances of human foily and extrava. gance far exceed the conceptions of the most lively imagination. All history, and every day's experience, justify the mortifying account which the prophet gives of our corrupted nature-“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jer. xvii. 9. The partiality of self-love, and the charity of a kind disposition, would at times lead us to form a more favourable judgment both of ourselves and of others, than we deserve. The form of sin, seen in its nakedness, is so hideous, that we shrink from it
with horror; but'use familiarizes the spectre; and we are insensibly led to bear, to be, and to do that which once we abhorred. Could a prophet have foretold one half of the irregularities, the excesses, the enormities of our lives, we should have deemed the prediction a falsehood and an insult; and, with the resentment of conscious virtue, we should have been ready to exclaim in the words of Hazael, “Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?" Yet alas! the event has wofully verified the cruel imputation; and exhibited the man fallen from his excellency, become the very monster he justly detested; the man sunk into an object of pity, of scorn, or of detestation to himself and to mankind.
Many practices appear to us absurd and unnatural merely because we are not accustomed to them. Herodotus relates, that Darius, king of Persia, having assembled the Greeks who were under his command, demanded of them what bribe they would take to in. duce them to eat the dead bodies of their parents, as the Indians did? Being answered, that it was impossible for them ever to abandon themselves to so great inhumanity, the king, in the presence of the same Greeks, demanded of some Indians what consideration would prevail with them to burn the dead bodies of their
parents as the Greeks did? The Indians expressing the utmost horror, entreated the king to impose upon them any hardship rather than that. Among the Hottentots, the aged, so long as they are able to do any work, are treated with great tenderness and humani.. ty; but when they can no longer crawl about, they are thrust out of the society, and put in a solitary hut, there to die of hunger or age, or to be devoured of wild beasts. If you expostulate with them upon the savageness of this custom, they are astonished you should reckon it inhuman: “Is it not much greater cruelty," they ask, “to suffer persons to linger and languish out a miserable old age, and not put an end
to their wretchedness, by putting an end to their days?”
Idolatry is one of those practices, to our apprehension, so foolish and unreasonable, that we wonder how it ever obtained footing in the world; and with difficulty are we brought to believe the avidity with which whole nations have given into it. The particular circumstances of the Israelites in the wilderness, render their proneness to idol worship peculiarly monstrous and unaccountable. The chain of miracles which accompanied their deliverance from Egypt; that constant symbol of the divine presence which attended them, the pillar of fire and cloud; the daily miraculous supply of bread from heaven; the recent anathema pronounced against the worship of images from the dreadful glory of Mount Sinai; the scrupulous care employed, if we may use the expression, to exhibit no man. ner of similitude of the Deity in Horeb, to prevent the possibility of a pretence to use, themselves, or to transmit to posterity any sensible representation of the invisible God; all these, superadded to the plainest dictates of common sense and reason, clothe with a blackness and malignity not to be expressed, the strange conduct which is the subject of this chapter.
Moses, foreseeing the length of his absence in the mount, had wisely delegated his power to Aaron and Hur, that the operations of government and the ad. ministration of justice might suffer no interruption. God, the great God, was now vouchsafing to employ himself in prescribing a mode, and a ministry of worship for his Israel, which should possess all the pomp and splendor displayed by the nations in the service of their false gods, together with a sacredness and dig. nity peculiar to itself. He was preparing to gratify their very senses by external show, as their souls by heavenly wisdom. He was planning a tabernacle, establishing a priesthood, and appointing festivals and
sacrifices, whose magnificence should leave them nothing to regret in the glory which they had seen in Egypt; and, at that very time, they are employing themselves in devising and executing a plan of religious service, equally disrespectful to God and dishonourable to themselves.
Their guilt begins in sinful impatience and presumption. In matters both of life and religion men greatly err, when they take upon theni to carve for themselves. “ Vain men would be wise, though man be born like a wild asses colt,” Job xi. 12. The transition is so sudden that it seems incredible. Not many days are past since they had given the most solemn, explicit and unreserved consent to the whole of the divine law. « All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obe. dient,” Verse 7. The treaty had been but just ratified by a covenant, a sacrifice, and a feast, with a solemnity not easily to be forgotten. The noise of the mighty thunderings has scarcely ceased: the ineffable glory of the God of Israel is yet present to their eyes; they have not well recovered from the terror inspired by that voice which made heaven and earth to trem. ble. Yet even thus circumstanced, as one man they fly to the appointment, not of a new leader and commander, though that had been ingratitude without a parallel, but with an impiety the most shocking and confounding, to the creation of a new god. And the very first exercise of the power which was committed unto Aaron for the public good, is to be the leader, the abettor, and an example, in practising the abominations of that country from which they had been so happily delivered.
“ And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him,"