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given:" ours from the manger, ours to the tomb. His days cut off in the midst; at that period of life when men are coming to their prime of vigour, beauty and usefulness. "A lamb without blemish." Those who love to fritter away the spirit and meaning of divine institutions in literal interpretation, have gone into a particular enumeration of the various kinds of blemishes which disqualified a sacrifice upon this occasion; and these they have multiplied to considerably above fifty. And what folly has taken pains to invent, superstition has been idle and weak enough to follow. The latter Rabbins tell us, that the lamb was set apart for four days before the sacrifice, in order to afford leisure and opportunity to inquire into its soundness and perfection; that if any unobserved spot should appear, there might be time to reject it, and to substitute another in its room. The law itself is plain and simple; and no good Israelite, of common sense, with the sacred character in his hand, could possibly mistake its meaning; which is simply to signify, that the good God is to be served with the choicest and best of every thing. But the law evidently looked further than to the mere corporal perfection or defects of a silly lamb; and we should but ill understand both the text and the commentary, did we not look through the whole type to HIM who is "without spot or blemish;" who though born of a sinful mother, "did no sin;" who lived many years in the "midst of a sinful and adulterous generation," without contracting any taint of moral pollution; in whom "the prince of this world, when he came, found nothing;" and whom his agents, Judas and Pontius Pilate, the instruments of his condemnation and death, were constrained to acquit. "I have sinned, and betrayed innocent blood," said the one. "Take ye him and crucify him, for I find no fault in him," said the other. "And when the centurion saw what was done he said, Surely this was the Son of God!"
The very act of selecting the one victim from among many, must have been an affecting office. Why should this innocent creature bleed and die, rather than another? Why should the notice of my eye, or his accidentally presenting himself the first of the flock, or his superior beauty and strength, or the determination of the lot, doom him, in preference, to the slaughter? But one must die. Here the choice is fixed; and pity must not spare what Heaven has demanded. These emotions of compassion must have been frequently excited during the four days of separation. The plaintive bleating, issuing from a tender, aching heart, robbed at once of its natural food, protection and comfort; feeling the bitterness of death in the deprivation of maternal care and tenderness; the mournfully pleasing employment of supplying the devoted victim with aliment, up to the appointed hour; the cherishing and sustaining with solicitude, that life to-day, which the strong hand of necessity must take away to-morrow; all these awakening a thousand undescribable feelings. How the heart is wrung, as often as the eye, or the ear, or the hand, is attracted to attend or to minister to the little trembling prisoner! At length the fatal moment is come; and the afflicting alternative presses, "This innocent, or my own first-born must suffer. If my heart relent, lo, the flaming sword of the destroying angel is within my habitation. My resolution is form ed. There is no room for deliberation. Die thou, that my son may live."
But the paschal victim could have no presentiment of its approaching fate. Happy in its ignorance, it could die but once. Christians, need your eyes be directed to your great gospel passover? Behold, your atonement deliberately chosen of God; fixed upon, in the maturity of eternal counsels; under the pressure of the great decree; voluntarily presenting and surrendering himself!-Behold him continually admonished of his approaching sufferings and death; by his
own divine presence, by the perpetual insults and violence of wicked men, by the descent of Moses and Elias to the mount of transfiguration. "The decease which he should accomplish at length at Jerusalem,' was continually assuming a blacker and a blacker complexion, from being foreseen, foreknown, and more keenly felt, as the hour drew nigh. Lo, he "treads the wine-press alone." The dreadful conflict is begun. What "strong crying with tears" do I hear? "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me."What "great drops of blood" do I see distilling from every pore, and "falling to the ground?" Ah! the unrelenting executioner has begun to perform his infernal task: and yet, the bleeding "Lamb opens not his mouth." What sigh is that which pierces my soul? What strange accents burst upon my astonished ear? "My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me? "The conflict is at an end. He bows his head, "It is finished." The victim has "poured out his soul unto death." He has given up the ghost. These things the angels desire to look into."
"O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and love of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" Who can "comprehend what is the breadth, and length, and height:" who "can know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge!" Amen.
HISTORY OF MOSES.
And it shall come to pass when your children shall say unto you, What mean you by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.-EXODUS xii. 26, 27.
WITH PSALM Xci. 5-8.
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noon-day. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
THE great JEHOVAH, in all the works of his hands, and in all the ways of his providence, is ever preparing still grander displays of his divine perfection than those which have been already submitted to our view. This visible creation, fair, and vast, and magnificent as it is, being composed of perishing materials,
and destined in the eternal plan, to a temporary duration, is passing away, to give place to "new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.' He who made all things at first saith, " Behold, I make all things new." The whole Jewish ceremony, "the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises:" the patriarchs and the prophets, with all they said, acted and wrote, were but " the preparation of the gospel of peace;" and all issue in Christ the Lord, “in whom all the promises are yea, and amen, to the glory of God the Father." And the kingdom of grace, under the great Redeemer, is only leading to the kingdom of glory.
It is both pleasant and useful, to observe the nature, the occasion and the design of sacred institutions. A closer inspection generally discovers much more than is apparent at first sight. The ordinance of the passover owes its institution to an event of considerable importance in the history of mankind; and its abrogation to a still greater. Its celebration commemorates the destruction of all the first-born in Egypt, and the redemption of Israel. Its abolition marks that most memorable cra, the death of God's own eternal Son, and the redemption of a lost world, by the shedding of his precious blood. It is not therefore to be wondered at, if in an ordinance which was intended to expire in the sacrifice of the great " Lamb of Atonement, slain from the foundation of the world," its divine Author should have thought proper to enjoin many particulars which figuratively and symbolically pointed out "good things to come," as well as literally expressed good things present.
Several of these significant circumstances, we took occasion to point out to you in the last Lecture. The commencement of the year was changed. The memory of nature's birth was sunk as it were in the memory of the church's deliverance; and a joyful ex