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The time of the feaft was the night season; the very juncture when the awful scene was acting, which marred the glory and blafted the ftrength of Egypt. Inconfiderate man muft have his attention roufed and fixed by ftrong and striking circumftances. The moment of execution, the hour of battle, and the like, are awfully interefting to a ferious, humane and public-fpirited perfon. Every fon of Ifrael knew, that at the very moment he was eating his unleavened cake with gladness, and the flesh of lambs with a merry heart, "Thousands were falling at his fide, and ten thousand at his right hand." What an alarming demonstration of divine juftice! What an encouraging display of goodness and mercy! Were the eye opened to fee God as he is, were the powers of an invisible world habitually felt, every creature, every feason, every event, would poffefs a quickening, an active, a constraining influence over us. But blind, ftupid, fluggish as we are, the midnight bell muft toll to roufe. us to reflection: death muft affume the complexion of fable night, and add artificial to natural horror, in order to force a way into our ftony hearts. And God, who knows what is in man, vouchfafes to inftruct his thoughtlessnefs and folly, by acting through the medium of powerful and awakening circumstances upon .our imagination and fenfes. Hence poffibly the injunction to eat the paffover by night.

It was to be "roafted with fire," not eaten raw, nor fodden with water. To eat flesh in a crude ftate is unnatural and unwholesome. And we never find the religious inftitutions of the living and true God doing violence to innocent natural propenfities and averfions, or encroaching on the health and life of his worshippers: for he faith, "I will have mercy and not facrifice." Why the one method of preparing it was commanded of God in preference to the other, we pretend not fatisfyingly to account for. Was it to fecure an uniformity of practice in the minutest ircumftances relating to his worship? Was it to


form his church and people to implicit obedience to his will, in points which they comprehend not, as in those which they well understand; in all cafes whatever, whether he be pleased to render or to withhold a reafon? Was it intended as a fymbolical reprefentation of their late condition; tried, and prepared, and refined in the fire of Egyptian oppreffion; purged, but not confumed by it? Was it a figurative view of the judgment of GOD then executing: Egypt fcorched with the flame; Ifrael enlightened, feasoned, purified by it? Did it look forward unto, and fignify fome particular circumftance in the perfon, the doctrine, or fufferings of the great evangelical facrifice? O Lord, thou knowest. "Secret things belong to thee, but things which are revealed belong unto us, and to our children." We thank thee for what thou haft condefcended to reveal to us, and would not prefume to " be wife above what is writ


"Not a bone" of the pafchal lamb was to "be broken." This, as well as fome of the foregoing circumftances, is by fundry commentators fuppofed to be intended as a contradiction to various Pagan fuperftitions, and particularly to the frantic behaviour of the votaries of Bacchus; who, in the fumes of intoxication or of religious frenzy, committed a thou- . fand abominations and extravagancies; they fell into violent agitations, the pretended inspiration of their GOD; they devoured the yet palpitating fiefh of the victims which they had juft killed, and broke all their bones to pieces. But, the idolatrous rites of the heathen nations were fo various and fo contradictory one to another, that we can hardly imagine the great JEHOVAH Would condefcend to exprefs any concern, whether the rites of his worship were, in every inftance, either conformed or oppofed to the usages of idolatry. A very famous critic* affigns a very filly reafon for this branch of the commandment. He al

*Bochart, Hieroz, par. i. lib. ii. cap. 1. fol. 609.


leges it was another indication of the extreme hafte with which the paffover was to be eaten. "Men in a hurry," fays he, "do not ftand to pick bones; much lefs do they take leisure to break them, for the fake of the juice or marrow." As if it required more time to fever the joints, and break the bones by violence, than to diffect and difunite the parts without a fracture. The fimple meaning of the precept feems to be, that what was once offered to God fhould not be unneceffarily disfigured and mangled. The blood must be shed, for that was the feal of God's covenant; the flesh might be eaten, for it was given for the fuftenance of man's life; but the bones, forming no part either of food or facrifice, were to be left in the ftate in which they were found, till confumed by fire with the remainder of the flefh, if any remained, the next morning. And is it not extremeby probable that God might intend, by certain arbitrary tokens, to describe the Meffiah; and that the prohibition to break the bones of the paschal lamb was defigned to be a type of a remarkable circumftance attending the crucifixion of our Saviour, which Providence watched over with fpecial attention, and brought about by a miracle? But when the foldiers came to Jefus, and faw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs."* And it is clear from what follows, that the evangelift confidered the precept of the law as a prophecy of Chrift; "For these things were done," fays he, "that the fcripture fhould be fulfilled, A bone of him fhall not be broken." In many cases it happens, that the prediction was either not attended to, or had not been underftood, till the event has explained it.

Nothing of it was to be "left until the morning. This circumftance was not peculiar to the sacrifice of the pafchal lamb, but common to almoft every other kind of oblation. This will appear if we confult the general laws refpecting facrifice. Thus the prefcrip


John xix. 33.

+ Verse 36.


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tion runs And the flesh of the facrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving fhall be eaten the fame day that it is offered; he fhall not leave any of it until the morning.' And again, "When a bullock, or a fheep, or a goat is brought forth, then it fhall be seven days under the dam, and from the eighth day and thenceforth it fhall be accepted for an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And whether

it be cow or ewe, ye fhall not kill it and her young both in one day. And when ye will offer a facrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will. On the fame day it fhall be eaten up; ye fhall leave none of it until the morrow: I am the LORD."t The folemn affix, "I am the LORD," feems to infinuate, that the reafon of the commandment was to be fought in the majesty and authority of the law-giver. And, independent of authority, decency feems to require, that what has once been devoted to a hallowed ufe fhould never afterwards appear in a mangled, impure or putrid state. Perhaps fuperftition was, by this precept, obliquely or intentionally reproved and repreffed; fuperftition, which loves to feed upon fcraps, and to hoard up relics, as if they were facred things; fuperftition, which gives to the fragments of the facrifice the veneration due only to the facrifice itfelf, and to the great Author of it.

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We must notice the remaining particulars of this fervice in the manner in which it was originally performed, "in haste,' ftanding," "with loins girded,” “with staff in hand," ready to depart. The lamb was to be eaten with bitter herbs." A reprefentation, perhaps, of the mixed nature of every fublunary enjoyment; and of the wholefome uses of unpalatable adverfity. The " ftanding" pofture, and the implements of travelling, fpeak a plain and diftinct language. "Arife ye, and depart, for this is not your reit." "Here we have no abiding city, but look for one to come." "Now we defire a better country,

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country, that is, an heavenly." "Arife, let us go hence." A provifion was gracioufly made for fuch as might be ceremonially unclean at the future feafons of celebration, and the door of mercy and communion was opened to ftrangers. Bleffed prefiguration of the remedy provided for the chief of finners; of the refuge opened for the reception of " aliens from the commonwealth of Ifrael;" of the liberal, condefcending, comprehenfive fpirit of the gofpel! Christians, ye "are no more ftrangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the faints, and of the household of God." "Those who were afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Chrift."

Men and brethren, the time is at hand, when a more fearful midnight cry shall be heard than even that which fmitten, groaning Egypt raised in the hour of vengeance. "The day of the Lord fhall come as a thief in the night." "Behold he cometh with clouds, and every eye fhall fee him, and they also which pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth fhall wail because of him." Behold, a carelefs, flumbering world, a world lying in wickednefs, is threatened with a death infinitely more dreadful than that which deftroyed the firft-born, with "the fecond death," a living death of everlafting banishment "from the prefence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. From that last plague there is no fecurity but one; that fecurity, of which the "blood of fprinkling" under the law was but a type. "Run to your ftrong hold, ye prifoners of hope." "Flee, flee for refuge; lay hold of the hope that is fet before you." "Behold now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of falvation." "If God be for us, who can be againft us ?" "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how fhall he not with him alfo freely give us all things? Who fhall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that juftifieth: Who is he that condemneth? It is Chrift that died, yea rather that is rifen again, who is VOL. III.



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