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ty and usefulness. "A lamb without blemish." Those who love to fritter away the fpirit and meaning of divine inftitutions in literal interpretation, have gone into a particular enumeration of the various kinds of blemishes which difqualified a facrifice upon this occafion; and these they have multiplied to confiderably above fifty. And what folly has taken pains to invent, fuperftition has been idle and weak enough to follow. The later Rabbins tell us, that the lamb was fet apart four days before the facrifice, in order to afford leifure and opportunity to inquire into its foundnefs and perfection; that if any unobferved fpot should appear, there might be time to reject it, and to fubftitute another in its room. law itself is plain and fimple; and no good Ifraelite, of common fenfe, with the facred charter in his hand, could poffibly mistake its meaning; which is fimply to fignify, that the good God is to be ferved with the choiceft and beft of every thing. But the law evidently looked further than to the mere corporal perfection or defects of a filly 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 fpot and blemish;" who, though born of a finful mother, " did no fin ;" who lived many years in the "midst of a finful 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 inftruments of his condemnation and death, were constrained to acquit. "I have finned, and betrayed innocent blood;" faid the one. "Take ye him, and crucify him, for I find no fault in him," faid the other. "And when the centurion faw what was done he faid, Surely this was the Son of God!"
The very act of felecting the one victim from among many, must have been an affecting office. Why fhould this innocent creature bleed and die,
rather than another? Why fhould the notice of my eye, or his accidentally presenting himself first of the flock, or his fuperior beauty and strength, or the determination of the lot, doom him, in preference, to the flaughter? But one must die. Here the choice is fixed; and pity muft not fpare what Heaven has demanded. These emotions of compaffion must have been frequently excited during the four days of feparation. The plaintive bleating, iffuing 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 fuftaining with folicitude,. that life to-day, which the ftrong hand of neceffity must take away to-morrow; all these awaken a thoufand undefcribable 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. prifoner! At length the fatal moment is come: and the afflicting alternative preffes, "This innocent, or my own first-born must fuffer. If my heart relent, lo, the flaming fword of the deftroying angel is within my habitation. My refolution is formed. There is no room for deliberation. Die thou, that my fon may live."
But the pafchal victim could have no prefentiment of its approaching fate. Happy in its ignorance, it could die but once. Chriftians, need your eyes be directed to your great gospel paffover? Behold, your atonement deliberately chofen of GOD; fixed upon, in the maturity of eternal counfels; under the preffure of the great decree; voluntarily prefenting and furrendering himfelf!--Behold him continually admonished of his approaching fufferings and death; by his own divine prefcience, by the perpetual infults and violence of wicked men, by the descent of Mofes and Elias to the mount of transfiguration. "The de
ceafe which he fhould accomplish" at length, at
"O the depth of the riches, both of the wifdom and love of God! How unfearchable are his judg ments, and his ways paft finding out!" Who can "comprehend what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height:" who "can know the love of Chrift, which paffeth knowledge!"
History of Moses.
EXODUS xii. 26, 27.
And it fhall come to pass, when your children fhall fay unto you, What mean you by this fervice? That ye fhall fay, It is the facrifice of the Lord's paffaver, who passed over the boufes of the children of Ifrael in Egypt, when he fmote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.
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 peftilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the deftruction that wasteth at noon-day. A thousand shall fall at thy fide, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it fhall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes fhalt thou behold, and fee 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 ftill grander displays of his divine perfection than those which have been already fubmitted to our view. This visible creation, fair, and vaft, and magnificent as it is, being compofed of perifhing materials, and destined, in the eternal plan, to a temporary duration, is paffing away, to give place to "new heavens, and a
new earth, wherein dwelleth righteoufnefs." He who made all things at firft faith, "Behold, I make all things new." The whole Jewish economy, "The adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the fervice of God, and the promifes:" The patriarchs and the prophets, with all they faid, acted and wrote, were but "the preparation of the gospel of peace;" and all iffue in Chrift 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, te obferve the nature, the occafion and the defign, of facred inftitutions. A clofer infpection generally discovers much more than is apparent at firft fight. The ordinance of the paffover owes its inftitution to an event of confiderable importance in the hiftory of mankind; and its abrogation to a ftill greater. Its celebration commemorates the deftruction of all the firft-born in Egypt, and the redemption of Ifrael. Its abolition marks that most memorable era, the death of God's own eternal Son, and the redemption of a loft world, by the fhedding of his precious blood. It is not therefore to be wondered at, if, in an ordinance which was intended to expire in the facrifice of the great " Lamb of Atonement," flain " from the foundation of the world," its divine Author fhould have thought proper to enjoin many particulars, which figuratively and fymbolically pointed out "good things to come," as well as literally expreffed good things prefent.
Several of these fignificant circumstances, we took occafion to point out to you in the last Lecture. The commencement of the year was changed. The memory of nature's birth was funk as it were in the memory of the church's deliverance; and a joyful expectation was excited of the gradual approach of "the fulness of time," the day, the new year's day of the world's redemption. In that facred festival was