Page images
PDF
EPUB

in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone : for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.

EVENING. Exodus xxxii.

LORD.

6

And when the people saw 1 Take heed and beware, lest if your that Moses delayed to come prayers seem unanswered of God, down out of the mount, the you make to yourself an idol of the people gathered themselves world, and seek your answer there. 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 earrings 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 earrings 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. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the

And they rose up 6 Such are the effects of image early on the morrow, and worship. It alike degrades the reaoffered burnt offerings, and

son and corrupts the affections. brought peace offerings ; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves : they have tumed aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiffnecked people : now therefore let me alone,

my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them : and I will make of thee a great nation,

And Moses besought the 11 What a glorious encouragement LORD his God, and said, to the Church of Christ, to lift up Lord, why doth thy wrath unwearied hands for her people. wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out

that

11

of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand ? 12 Wherefore should

12 This appeal is a beautiful and the Egyptians speak, and affecting instance of united prudence say, For mischief did he bring and courage, faith and humility. them out, to slay them in the The Church adopts the spirit of it mountains, and to consume

when she prays blessing of God " for

his name and honour's sake.” them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall

14 God changeth not. He may be inherit it for ever. 14 And said to repent when men cease to the LORD repented of the sin. Sin causes his anger. Remove

the cause ; the effect ceases. evil which he thought to do unto his people. And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand : the tables were written on both their sides : on the one side and on the other were they 16 Mark well this. The word you written. 16 And the tables now hear is the word of the Al. were the work of God, and mighty. May it be graven on your the writing was the writing

heart. of God graven upon the tables. And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome : but the noise of them that sing do I hear. 19 And it came

19 Never be surprised that the mito pass, as soon as he came nister is zealous for the honour of nigh unto the camp, that he his God—the servant for his Master. saw the calf and the dancing : and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it. And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them ? And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. For they said unto me, 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.

24 Aaron's was a base policy. The 24 And I said unto them, Christian ruler rather meets con

Whosoever hath any gold, tumely from man, than lose the aplet them break it off. Só probation of his own heart, or comthey gave it me: then I cast promise the honour of his God.

25 When men lose virtue and hoit into the fire, and there nour, and the divine protection, they came out this calf. 24 And lose that which covereth shame. when Moses saw that the people were naked ; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies :) then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord's side ? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. * And the children of Levi 28 This awful retribution is recorded did according to the word of for our learning. Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves to day to the Lord, even every man upon bis son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day. And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin : and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. " And Moses returned 31 It is true policy in nations, as in unto the LORD, and said, individuals, to confess their sin unto Oh, this people have sinned a God. Moses palliates it not. great sin, and have made them 32 How affecting, how sublime this gods of gold. 32 Yet now,

pause! What heart fills it not up* ! if thou wilt forgive their sin-; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which 33 An instructive but gentle rebuke ; thou hast written. And intimating that no man is to dictate the LORD said unto Moses, to the Almighty what course He Whosoever hath sinned a

should pursue t. gainst me, him will I blot out of my book. Therefore now go,

33

Behold the true patriot. He had never yielded to the will of the people in their prosperity ; yet in their adversity he is ready to devote himself wholly to their service. His swelling heart, full to overflowing-his feelings too deep for utterance—he leaves his thoughts to God! So devoted to his people's welfare is he, that rather than they should not share the favour of Jehovah, he offers to resign it for himself. “ Blot pre out of thy book." Rev. xx. 12.

+ Moses is here reminded, that this just severity towards others is no ground for him to be reckless of his own welfare ; nor was it fitting, that his sympathy with the guilty sufferers should disturb his own serenity and peace, as the servant and friend of God.

lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them. And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.

St. Mark's Bay.
MORNING. ECCLESIASTICUS iv.

1 My son, defraud not the

1 How comforting to the poor and poor of his living, and make helpless to learn, that God so careth not the needy eyes to wait for them, that none can honour Hifi, long. Make not an hungry unless they also kindly regard then.

Verse 10. soul sorrowful; neither provoke a man in his distress. Add not more trouble to an heart that is vexed; and defer not to give to him that is in need. Reject not the supplication of the afflicted ; neither turn away thy face from a poor man. Turn not away thine eye

from the needy, and give him none occasion to curse thee: for if he curse thee in the bitterness of his soul, his prayer shall be heard of him that

7 Be courteous to all men ; and to made him. Get thyself the thy superiors give due honour. Such love of the congregation, and

is the conduct taught by the Gospel

of Christ. bow thy head to a great man. Let it not grieve thee to bow down thine ear to the poor, and give him a friendly answer 9 In standing up for the oppressed, with meekness. 9 Deliver there is often required a moral him that suffereth wrong from courage, which can be sustained only the hand of the oppressor ;

by remembering that we are acting

as unto God, not as unto man. and be not fainthearted when thou sittest in judgment. Be as a father unto the fatherless, and instead of an husband unto their mother: so shalt thou be as the son of the most High, and he shall love thee more than thy mother doth, " Wis- 11 Religion taketh by the hand, as dom exalteth her children, it were, and guideth safely those who and layeth hold of them that seek and will accept her guidance. seek her. He that loveth her loveth life; and they that seek to her early shall be filled with joy. He that holdeth her fast shall inherit glory; and wheresoever she entereth, the Lord will bless. They that serve her shall minister to the Holy One: and them that love her the Lord doth love. Whoso giveth ear unto her shall judge the nations: and he that attendeth unto her shall dwell securely. If a man commit

himself unto her, he shall inherit her; and his generation shall hold her in possession. " For

17 The way of religion is not only at the first she will walk with straight and narrow, but at first him by crooked ways, and difficult and irksome ; yet the influbring fear and dread upon him, ence and aid of God's Spirit will and torment him with her gradually reconcile all difficulties,

and make the rough places plain. discipline, until she may trust his soul, and try him by her laws. Then will she return the straight way unto him and comfort hirn, and shew him her secrets. 19 But if he go wrong, 19 Wretched they, whom God leaves she will forsake him, and give to the devices of their own hearts ! him over to his own ruin. Well may we all pray of God to Observe the opportunity, and

“ take not his Holy Spirit from us.” beware of evil; and be not ashamed when it concerneth thy soul. For there is a shame that bringeth sin; and there is a shame which is glory and grace. Accept no person against thy soul, and let not the reverence of any man cause thee to fall. And refrain not to speak, when there is occasion to do good, and hide not thy wisdom in her beauty.

For by speech wisdom shall be known: and learning by the word of

In no wise speak against the truth; but be abashed of the error of thy 26 False shame concealeth sin; true ignorance. 28 Be not ashamed shame confesseth and forsaketh it. to confess thy sins; and The attempt to conceal sin from God force not the course of the

and our own conscience, is as vain as

to try to stop the course of a river. river. Make not thyself an Conscience will set our offences beunderling to a foolish man ; fore us, and the Spirit will plague us neither accept the person of for them. the mighty. Strive for the truth unto death, and the Lord shall fight for thee. Be not hasty in thy tongue, and in thy deeds slack and remiss.

Be

30 Be not harsh and tyrannical in not as a lion in thy house, the government of thy family and nor frantick among thy ser

servants, knowing that thou also hast vants. Let not thine hand

a Master in heaven. be stretched out to receive, and shut when thou shouldest

the tongue.

30

repay.

EVENING. ECCLESIASTICUS v. "Set not thy heart upon thy · Lest God say to thee," thou fool, goods ; and say not, I have this night thy soul shall be required enough for my life. Follow

Follow of thee.” Luķe xii. 20. not thine own mind and thy strength, to walk in the ways of thy heart: and say not, Who shall controul me for my works? for the Lord will surely re- + Present impunity in sin, though venge thy pride.

Say not, it proves that a merciful God is very

« PreviousContinue »