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Are I xzu entom. W weter hath any gold, let him break
vf So they give it me: Then I cast it into the fire, muiere come out this eelt. Exodrs XXXII. 24.
THERS is a true account of Aaron's conduct respecting the golden cat, in the chapter which contains the text. He received the goal at the hand of the people. And he faward it with a graving tool, after he had made it a muntea cat - und wer ud. These be the gods 0 Israel, wat brought tre trom the land of Egypt. And when Aarva ww it be but an atar before it ; and Aaron matele preamana and sud. To-borow is a feast to We Loni* Yet wren be wss questicced by Voxes about tus euentues, ww expoed te whole nation of Israel to Briare deseruere Aarva attempted to excuse his wie by te worang statement in our tert. Such an atprape by sari a man piaces before us this doctrine, Wann nacuraly attempt to excuse their seful conduct.
it may be showu wcat a persoa's attempt to excuse bin wind clues impies
1. It pies wat be is coascious of what he has done. It be were mot Nous of his coaduet, when charmed with be would deny the charge and not attempt to extra battal
It Murple's be is susible buis conduet has been sinful. War werd a persa attempt to excuse his conduct, if he has the of les saruness! Ther, who have not Su can justu theneives and need no excuse for their CONNU
a tepsies he is inbe, that he cannot justify himself. Highteous evituet deserves no condemnation. It his only when a perxu is enable, that he deserves to be banned that he feels any occasion for a pretence to er euse bis wickerless
4. It implies that he is not willing to condemn himself for the sinful conduct, which he cannot justify. If a person were willing, directly and honestly, to acknowledge his sinfulness, he would never use, nor desire any excuse for his conduct.
II. It is to be shown, that mankind naturally attempt to excuse their sinful conduct.
1. This is evident from the nature of sin, which consists in selfishness. A selfish person attempts to exalt himself and is unwilling to see and confess his sin and guilt. They, who are selfish, refuse to abase themselves and submit to the dishonor and punishment, which they deserve. In the spirit of selfishness, Adam was not willing to condemn himself, but attempted to excuse himself by the conduct of Eve, and she attempted to excuse herself, by the deceitfulness of the Serpent. Such is the nature of sin and the influence of selfishness.
2. The doctrine is evident from the common conduct of sinners, who persist in impenitence. They are often reproved and rebuked for their transgressions ; and are conscious of their sinfulness and ill desert. And they are called and bound, by the most solemn motives, to confess and forsake their sins. But against their consciences, their duty, their honor, safety and happiness, they attempt to excuse themselves rather than condemn their conduct and be pardoned, saved and blessed forever.
3. It is evident from the conduct of real, but imperfect saints. Who could have believed, that Aaron, after what he had seen and heard in Egypt, at the Red Sea and at Mount Sinai and after what he had said and done, could have made the golden calf! and then, after he had made it and was called to an account for his conduct, in view of the broken tables and the wrath of God, could have said what he did say to excuse his sinful conduct? David, for a time, kept silence and refused to confess his sin and guilt. Jonah said to God, " I do well to be angry, even unto death.” So far as real Christians are inconstant and imperfect, they will attempt to excuse their unfaithful and unwise conduct. Surely, then, mankind have been poisoned by the old Serpent and have a heart, that is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. If it were not so, they would not attempt nor desire to excuse one sinful act, or word, or thought.
III. It is proposed to mention the effects of a person's attempt to excuse his sinful conduct.
While any persons attempt to excuse their sinful conduct,
1. They continue and increase their wickedness. They reject the light of truth, resist their own conscience and harden their hearts by their sinful and deceitful excuses. By such conduct their progress in sin is very rapid, and they hasten themselves in the way of delusion and destruction,
%. They, who attempt to excuse their sinful conduct, continue and increase the displeasure of God against themselves. God is able and ready to forgive and bless every sinner, who confesses and forsakes his sins. But they, who sin and attempt to excuse their conduct, reject his mercy and provoke his anger. In this way they treasure unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath. The doctrine before us suggests the following remarks.
1. Mankind are, by nature, exceedingly sinful. The account of their total, malignant and desperate wickedness, as it is given in the Bible, is proved and shown to be true by their conduct in all ages and nations. It is evident from the impenitence of every sinner and imperfection of every saint.
2. They are naturally disposed to resist the instructions of divine truth. Évery form and turn and change of error and sin, that ever have existed on earth, are so many perverse and obstinate instances of resistance to divine instruction. Truth exposes and condemns sin, which sinners attempt to conceal and excuse. If it were not so, the light of truth, which shines in the works and word of God above the brightness of the sun, would be seen and loved through the earth.
3. They who have sinned, will be pleased when they can find any apparent excuse for their conduct. If they could find any thing against God, or Jesus Christ, or the law, or the gospel, or the Bible, they would rejoice, as in a strong hold to defend themselves in their wickedness. If they find any thing in Christian ministers, or religious professors, in parents, or brothers, or sisters, or in themselves, that seems to be any kind, or degree of an excuse for their sinful conduct, they are ready to open their mouths in favor of themselves and refuse to plead guilty before man and God.
4. Sinners under genuine conviction will see, that their conduct is forever inexcusable. Their mouths will be shut.
5. When sinners are truly penitent, they will condemn themselves. Real penitents, in the kingdom of glory, will not boast in themselves over the most sinful and guilty and wretched sinners in hell. Aaron and David and Solomon and Peter and Paul and the whole redeemed family will
say, “ Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy and for thy truth's sake.” Amen.
Sanctify yourselves, therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the
Lord your God. And ye shall keep my statutes and do them: I am the Lord, who sanctify you. LEVITICUS Xx. 7, 8.
In these words God teaches his people their obligation to be holy, in its connection with their dependence upon him for holiness. The connection of their obligation with their dependence, in respect to sanctification, agrees with the whole system of divine truth, as it is contained in the scriptures and illustrated by the conduct of God towards his people and by their conduct towards him. From the words of our text, then, we may safely derive the following sentiment, — The people of God are bound to sanctify themselves, by their dependence upon him for sanctification.
I. On this subject it is to be shown what the sanctification of his people implies.
1. It implies the entire separation of themselves from every external transgression. Real holiness opposes whatever is sinful. So far as any person is holy, he cannot commit any sinful action; but he will withdraw and separate himself from every external expression of wickedness.
2. It implies the subjection of their mental powers to the divine requirements. Though the powers of the human mind are not, in themselves, either holy, or unholy,
are not of a moral nature, yet they must be employed for holy, or sinful purposes. Rational creatures are required to be holy to the extent of their natural ability. They, who are holy, subject their mental powers to the divine requirements, in the exercise and under the influence of holy affections.