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may be saved.
SERM. with our hearts that God hath raised Him from the dead, we LXVIII.
But then let us consider what this means : believe with the heart; that is, so consider the importance of His resurrection, as that it holds forth to us an infallible instance and proof of God's power and decree to raise
all men from the dead; those that have done good, to endless glory; and such as have done evil, and have not repented and brought forth fruit meet for repentance, to misery everlasting
So that the belief of a resurrection, and a life to come, will easily be perceived to be of no manner of advantage to any man who does not order his life according to the laws of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
To those that do resolve, by God's gracious assistance, to do so; to all such, this article holds forth to them matter of great comfort. They are hereby assured, that if they want or suffer, or sometimes are under doubts and fears here, a time will come when all these shall be at an end, and they shall at last be comforted.
It was for this, and such-like reasons, that the Christian world has ever made the festival of our Saviour's resurrection a time of serious joy, and rejoicing. But, for such as have not any reason to rejoice in the knowledge of a resurrection, and yet do rejoice for company, is as unfit and thoughtless, as it would be for men, who live by robbery, to rejoice because the laws have made it death to do so.
Rather let us express our gratitude to God for His mercies to us in Jesus Christ, and shew forth our thankfulness for the same, by the way Jesus Christ Himself has appointed; obliging ourselves, by the blessed Sacrament we receive at
this good time, to live holy lives for the time to come. (Heb. 13. And may the God of peace, that brought again from the 20, 21.)
dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make us perfect in every good work, to do His will; working in us that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ! To Whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
THE DELIVERANCE OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL FROM THEIR
BONDAGE IN EGYPT, A TYPE OF THE REDEMPTION OF THE WORLD BY JESUS CHRIST.
Exodus xii. 26, 27.
And it shall come to pass,
say 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.
The Church has made choice of this twelfth chapter of Exodus, for part of the service for this day, with great reason. We have, in this chapter, an account of the greatest deliverance that ever people had from a bondage and slavery the most grievous and dreadful. And the way by which God brought this about was still more wonderful.
The Egyptians, who had oppressed the Israelites, and evil intreated them for a long time, paid dearly for it at last, and felt the displeasure of God in a number of the most remarkable plagues that ever nation had suffered. And when these would not do, God, to shew them their sin in their punishment,—for they had barbarously murdered all the male children of the Israelites,—God therefore resolved in one night to destroy all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both of man and beast; which sentence was accordingly executed: but that the Israelites might escape in this dreadful calamity, they were the evening before commanded to kill, every family, a lamb; and to sprinkle the blood upon the door-posts of their houses, that the destroying angel, seeing
SERM. the blood, might pass over them. This destruction was so
terrible and surprising to the Egyptians, that they entreated and even forced them to be gone, whom so lately they had held in subjection.
Thus was this deliverance wrought; and, that it might never be forgotten, God Himself ordained, that every year, upon that very day, for all generations to come, the people of Israel should keep the passover ; that is, that they should kill a lamb, sprinkle the blood upon the doors of their houses, eat it with bitter herbs, with their loins girded, and their staves in their hands, as men ready to take a journey.
All which was done for many great reasons, and particularly for this set down in the text; that when their children, in the ages to come, should ask them, what they mean by this service ? they might then give them an account of the bitter bondage they had suffered, of the manner and strangeness of their deliverance, of the great blessing of being under the immediate direction of God; to the end that they, and their posterity, having this great work of God every year represented to them after a manner so easy to be understood by the meanest Israelite, might learn to fear Him who had been so terrible to their enemies; and to serve Him faithfully all their days, who had been so good and kind to them.
And this service was deemed so necessary, to keep up the remembrance of these things, and to secure the favour of
God, that it was commanded by God Himself, under no less (Exod. 12. a penalty than this: “Whoever shall despise or neglect to 15.)
observe this service, that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel ;" that is, he shall be excommunicated.
And indeed an Israelite, when come to years of discretion, who did not give this testimony of his being within the covenant, had no right to the promises which God had made to Abraham and to his seed for ever.
Now, this deliverance being both a figure and prophecy of a much greater deliverance, which Jesus Christ was to work for them and for the whole world, this service was ordered to be observed and remembered by all their generations, for ever; that is, until God should by a new revelation alter it. And this prophecy was most exactly fulfilled; for Jesus Christ was crucified, and by His blood delivered us, the very same month, the very same day, and expired the very same hour, that the paschal lamb was killed.
But what is all this to us? Why, I will tell you : the bondage of the children of Israel in Egypt, their deliverance out of that slavery, their sojourning and rebellion in the wilderness forty years, their entrance into the land of Canaan, were all types (that is, figures and representations) of what God would afterwards bring to pass. Particularly, the paschal lamb was a representation of a greater sacrifice, and deliverance, which was to be wrought, not for one nation only, but for all the nations of the earth. Which great deliverance, in God's good time, was accomplished, when He sent His only Son into the world; who took our nature upon Him, made known to us the will of God, set us an example how we ought to walk and to please God, became a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world; and to give us the utmost proof and security that whatever He had said, or done, or taught, was well-pleasing to God, GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD; leaving all men without excuse, who shall know these things, and yet shall reject the counsel of God, and despise so great a mercy: a mercy so great, that the whole world cannot make us happy without it!
And therefore Jesus Christ, to keep up the memory of His precious death until His coming again, ordained the same solemn service, in effect, to be continued, which had been observed by the children of Israel ever since their deliverance out of Egypt; only instead of the PASCHAL LAMB, which was a type of His death to come, He appointed BREAD AND WINE, to represent the sacrifice, and preserve the remembrance, of His death now past.
And this, by the way, is the true reason why the Church requires it of all Christians, that, at this time especially, they should receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, this being the very time when their great deliverance was wrought, and when these memorials of it were appointed.
And though the penalty of not receiving the Sacrament is not expressed in the very words of the old institution, THAT SOUL SHALL BE CUT OFF; yet indeed the penalty is far greater; for such as refuse to keep up the remembrance of Christ's death, by the solemn service which He has or
SER M. dained, do in effect despise His death, and the favours He LXIX.
has thereby obtained for all His faithful servants. After all, I am sensible how difficult it is to possess our hearts with a just sense of this mercy.
The children of Israel, feeling the smart of their bitter bondage, no wonder that they rejoiced, from their very hearts, when they found themselves delivered from such a slavery.
It is true, we also rejoice upon every return of this season; but, God knows, with what insincere affections! And the very reason is, we do not know, nor feel, our misery; for if we did, our souls would be possessed with such a sincere joy, upon the sight of the means of our recovery from the power of Satan, and the bondage of corruption, that we should be able to convince others, who shall ask us the meaning of this service, with what good reason the whole Christian Church has ever observed it.
Whenever people begin to be seriously concerned for their eternal welfare, there are three things which never fail to give them great uneasiness of mind.
First ; the guilt of the sins they have already committed.
Secondly; the power of sin, which they feel themselves subject to.
And, Thirdly; the fear of death, and its consequences.
To know that I have transgressed the laws of God, and have thereby provoked Him to anger; to find myself so much under the dominion of sin as to love and obey it, even when I know it will be my ruin; lastly, to foresee that death which I cannot avoid, and, what is as tormenting, to fear what will become of me afterwards : verily, these are such evils, that a man, whose eyes are open, and whose conscience is awake, would choose to undergo all the hardships of an Egyptian slavery, provided he could but be delivered from this spiritual bondage.
And this is what Jesus Christ, by His death and resurrec
tion, has obtained for all that are disposed and willing [Acts 13. ceive the favour. For “through Him is preached forgiveness 38.)
of sins” to all such as repent, and resolve to forsake them; He has also procured for us such graces and helps as are necessary to secure us against all our spiritual enemies, and