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feen God drawing nigh to his Ifrael, in loving-kindnefs, tender mercy and faithfulnefs; and Ifrael drawing nigh to their God, in gratitude, love and obedience. The feast was prepared by the removal of all leaven, the emblem of "malice and wickedness ;" and eaten with unleavened bread, the emblem of " fincerity and truth." The victim was appointed to be a "lamb of the first year, without blemish," chofen from among the flock, fet apart and killed, to preferve the life of him who poured out, and fprinkled its blood; the figure of Him who was to come; "the Lamb of God, who beareth the fin of the world;" holy, harmlefs, gentle, patient; "delivered according to the determinate counfel and foreknowledge of God:" "fuffering, the juft, for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." We are now to continue the fubject.

All Ifrael was engaged in the fame fervice at the fame inftant of time, and for the felf-fame reason. All had defcended from the fame common stock, all were included within the bond of the fame covenant, all were involved in the fame general diftrefs, all were destined of Heaven to a participation in the fame falvation. They appear, in the pafchal folemnity, a beautiful and an inftructive reprefentation of the great, united, harmonious family of God: who are "one body, one fpirit, and are called in one hope of their calling" who have one Lord, one faith, one baptifm:-one GoD and Father of all, who is above all, through all, and in all." And they are all coming, "in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of GOD, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the ftature of the fulness of Chrift."*

As the church in general had one and the fame facrifice, a lamb of the defcription which has been mentioned; fo every particular family or neighbourhood, according to their number, had their own particular facrifice, and in that their particular protec

Eph. iv. 4, 5, 6, 13.

tion and repaft. The charity which comprehended the whole Ifrael of God, was thus invigorated and enlivened by being collected and concentered; and the facred fire of love, which was in danger of being extinguished by being difperfed too extenfively, being thus confined within a narrower circle, lighting on fewer and nearer objects, and aided by reciprocal fympathy and ardour, was blown, up into a purer flame. A happy prefiguration of the bleffed influence of the gospel, and of its facred inftitutions, to rectify, to rivet, and to improve the charities of private life; to fhed peace and joy upon every condition and relation; gradually to expand the heart, through the progreffive, continually enlarging circles of natural affection, friendship, love of country, love of mankind, love to ALL the creation of God.

What must it have been to an Ifraelitifh parent, ftanding with his children around him, to eat the Lord's paffover, to reflect, that while the arrows of the Almighty were falling thick upon the tents of Ham, his tabernacle was fecured from the stroke: that while all the first-born in Egypt were bleeding by the hand of the deftroying angel: of him, a holy and righteous God demanded no victim, but one from the flock; spared a darling fon, and accepted the blood of a lamb! What must have been the emotions of the Ifraelitifh firft-born themselves, at that awful hour, to reflect on the ftate of their unhappy neighbours, of the fame description with themfelves, and on their own condition, had juftice, untempered with mercy, ftruck the blow! Such as this, but fuperior, as the deliverance is greater, must be the joy of a truly christian family, which has hope in God, through Chrift Jefus the Lord, in reflecting on that

ace which has made a difference between them and their finful neighbours; which has feasonably warned them "to flee from the wrath that is to come;" which has " delivered their fouls from death, their eyes from tears, their feet from falling." What


must be the inexpreffible fatisfaction of every believer in Chrift Jefus, in the confidence of being sprinkled with the blood of atonement, of "being at peace with God, through our Lord Jefus Chrift," of being "paffed from death unto life?" What a happy community is the redeemed of the Lord! Whereever fcattered on the face of the whole earth; they are nevertheless gathered together in their glorious Head: feparated by oceans and mountains, but united in intereft and affection: hated, despised, perfecuted of the world; yet cherished, esteemed, protected of the Almighty!

The facrifices of the Mofaic difpenfation were many, because they were imperfect. The facrifice of the gofpel is ONE, because once offered it "forever perfects them that are fanctified by it." The ancient inftitution prescribed a whole lamb for every feveral family; the gofpel exhibits a whole and complete Saviour for every feveral elect finner: and that Saviour at once a teacher, an atonement, a ruler; "Wifdom, righteousness, fanctification and redemption."

The application of the blood of the destined victim in this inftitution is a moft remarkable circumstance. "They fhall take of the blood, and ftrike it on the two fide pofts, and on the upper door-poft of the houses wherein they fhall eat it." It must not be fpilt upon the ground as a worthlefs thing, nor sprinkled in the entering in of the door, to be trampled upon as an unholy thing; but above and on either fide; to be a covering to the head and a bulwark around. "When I fee the blood I will pafs over you." Could the all-difcerning eye of God stand in need of fuch a token, in order to judge between an Ifraelite and an Egyptian? No. But the diftinctions of God's love avail not them who wilfully and wickedly neglect the diftinctions of faith and obedienc.. The blood in the bafon is the fame with the blood on the door-poft; but, it is no protection till it be believingly applied. The virtue is dormant till fprinkling call it forth. Surely, this part of the ceremony speaks


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to the christian world for itself, Why is mention ftill made of blood, blood?" the fhedding of blood,' "the fprinkling of blood," " redemption through blood," and the like? It denotes the life, which confifts in the blood of the animal; and it inftructs us in this momentous doctrine, that life being forfeited by fin, the blood must be shed, that is, the life must be yielded up, before atonement to juftice can be made that the fubftitution and acceptance of one life in the room of another, muft depend upon the will and appointment of the offended lawgiver: that the blood of flain beafts, having no value nor virtue of its own to take away fin, muft derive all its efficacy from the appointment of Heaven, and from its relation to a victim of a higher order: and, that the blood or life of this ONE victim, yielded up to divine juftice, is, through its intrinfic worth and the decree of God, of virtue fufficient to take away the fins of the whole world,

But as, in the original institution, the blood of the lamb flain was no protection to the house, till it was fprinkled with a bunch of hyffop on the parts of the building, and in the manner directed, fo the fovereign balm appointed of the Moft High for the cure of the deadly plague of fin, the price of pardon to the guilty, the life of the dead, becomes effectual to the relief of the guilty, perishing sinner, by a particular application of it to his own "wounds, bruifes, putrefying fores." Faith, eyeing the commandment, the power of God and the grace of Chrift, is like the bunch of hyffop in the hand of the pafchal worshipper, fprinkling the blood of atonement upon "the upper door-post, and the two fide-pofts," the understanding, the heart, the life, the ruling and the governed powers of our nature, that the whole may be accepted through the Beloved.

I conclude this part of my fubject with quoting a paffage from the Targum of Jonathan, refpecting the fprinkling of the blood of the pafchal lamb, as it was performed by the children of Ifrael in Egypt, which


has ftruck myself as uncommonly beautiful and fublime.

"When the glory of the Lord was revealed in Egypt in the night of the paffover, and when he flew all the first-born of the Egyptians, he rode upon lightning. He furveyed the inmoft receffes of our habitations; he stopped hehind the walls of our houses; his eyes obferved the pofts of our doors: they pierced through the cafements. He perceived the blood of circumcifion, and the blood of the pafchal lamb, fprinkled upon us. He viewed his people from the heights of heaven, and faw them eating the paffover roafted with fire: he faw, and had compaffion upon us; he fpared, and fuffered not the deftroying angel

to hurt us.".

The inferior circumftances refpecting the facrifice are these. The flesh of the victim was to be eaten in the night feafon, not in a crude ftate, nor boiled in water, but roasted with fire; no bone of it was to be broken; no remnant of it left until the morning; or else the remains were to be confumed by fire. I am unwilling entirely to pass over thefe circumftances as if they were of no especial meaning or importance; for I am thoroughly convinced every iota and tittle relating to this ordinance, has a fpecific meaning and defign. But I frankly acknowledge I cannot difcern that defign in every particular; and am far from being fatisfied with the fanciful and unsupported illuftrations of fome commentators upon the paffage. Should I myself seem to any to have given too much into imagination and conjecture in my ideas of it, or in what is farther to be offered; the nature of the fubject, the filence of scripture, the confcioufnefs of honeftly aiming at your rational entertainment and religious inftruction, and the humble hope that these conjectures are and fhall be conformed to the analogy of faith, and if erroneous, innocently fo; thefe will, I am persuaded, fecure me a patient hearing, and a candid interpretation.


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