Imágenes de páginas



"Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year, at the feast of the Passover; and wben He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.”-Luke ii. 41, 42.

The Saviour of the world was now I weeks, after the first day of unleavened twelve years of age. The Jewish doctors bread-(Exodus xxxiv. 22. Deut. xvi. say, at this age persons were obliged to 10–16); the feast of harvest, and also do the duties of adult church membership. I the day of first-fruits, because on this Jesus, therefore, would set an example today the Jews offered thanksgiving to other cbildren worthy of their imitation. God for the bounties of harvest, and The obedience of Jesus was perfect; “He presented to Him the first-fruits of fulfilled all righteousness." What a delight-the wheat harvest in bread baked of ful sight it would be, to see children at the the new corn-(Exodus xxiii. 16. Lord's table, whose age did not exceed Numbers xxviii. 26. Lev. xxiii. 14twelve years! And what is there to hinder 21). The form of thanksgiving for this them from making this public profession occasion is given us in Deuteronomy, of attachment to Christ? None are ex- xxvi. 5—10. On this day also was comcluded by Christ on account of their age ; memgrated the giving of the law on the only pre-requisite is credible evidence Mount Sinai. The number of Jews asof sound conversion to God. There are sembled at Jerusalem on this occasion was ministers living, who have received chil- very great-(Acts ii. 9–11). This festidren into the Church of Christ, whose val, observes a useful writer, to whom the age has not exceeded twelve. There are Church is much indebted, had a typical lambs in Christ's flock. “ Feed My reference to the miraculous effusion of lambs," was a Divine command given to the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, and Peter; and it is the duty of all the Saviour's first-fruits of the Christian Church, on the representatives to obey it. These lambs day of Pentecost, (corresponding with our need our instruction, sympathy and care. Whit-Sunday,) which occurred on the Dear children, do you love Christ ? fiftieth day after the resurrection of Jesus Hearken to the voice of the good Shep- Christ. The Feast of Tabernacles, like herd ; “ Lovest thou Me?“Dost thou the preceding festival, continued for a believe on the Son of God ?“Will ye week; it was instituted to commemorate also be My disciples ?” Who amongst the dwelling of the Israelites in tents, you can answer these questions? The while they wandered in the desert (Lev. children who can answer them satis - xxiii. 34-43). The other feast was that factorily, are welcome to the Lord's of the Passover. Observe, then, this table, which is the memorial of His Divine institution. God required every death.

male above a certain age to attend these

festivals every year. This law reminds Let me notice

1. The law of God, as it respects the 1. Of the supreme authority of God. Passover.

God is at liberty to make what laws He The law, in obedience to which this pleases; which laws are always consistent journey to Jerusalem was made, is re- with His wisdom, purity and love. This corded in the book of Exodus-(chap. law is not in existence now. Now, under xxiii. 14-17). "Three times shalt thou the Cliristian dispensation, God may be keep a feast unto Me in the year, &c." be worshipped acceptably in every place. The feast of Pentecost was one of the The manner in which we worship God is three great Jewish festivals, which was of more importance than the placethe national harvest home. This feast (John iv. 21-24). But though this law is called by various names in the Scrip- is abrogated, there are others which retures: as the feast of weeks, because it main in full force. Is the command to was celebrated seven weeks, or a week of keep the Lord's day holy abrogated ?

[ocr errors]



No. Is the command to commemorate leave their worldly engagements for a the Saviour's death abrogated ? No. Is season, to attend to the claims of religion. the command to baptize all nations abro-Oh! that we had more like Joseph. gated ? No. The laws, the will, the Many act as if the one thing needful was commands of God, all of which are holy, business-money-a provision for their just and good, should be constantly kept lusts. When God calls us to His house, before us. The moral Governor of the His throne, His table, oh! let us obey universe has a right to make laws, and the summons. we have a right to obey them. "Why 3. This law reminded the Jews, that call ye Me Lord, Lord, yet do not the the present state is one of trial. The things which I say?" Disobedience to the journey to these festivals would be atlaws of “ the King eternal, immortal, and tended with many inconveniences. Some invisible,' is rebellion against His govern- of these families might be ill; hence it ment, which exposes the soul to His just would be a trial to the head of a family displeasure. Then let us study His laws, to leave those who were sick and dying. let us obey them, let us enforce them The journey was often long, and they upon others. Obedience to the revealed would be exposed to the attack of robwill of God is the fruit, the evidence, the bers; others might be very infirm. But manifestation of love. God's yoke sits it was the will of God they should go to easy upon the neck of those who love their annual festivals ; this ought to have Him. "The love the Saviour bore to His been sufficient to reconcile their minds Father make obedience to His will so to any and every inconvenience. There pleasant, that He could say to His dis- must be self-denial. There may be difciples, “My meat is to do the will of Him ficulties in the way to God's throne, that sent Me, and to finish His work.” | God's house and God's kingdom; but Some of the Jews had a long way to tra- faith triumphs over them all. “If any vel to their annual festivals, but love to man will come after Me, let him deny God would make their journey pleasant. himself, and take up his cross and follow

2. This law reminds us of the care we Me." should take of our souls. When the 4. The Jews were taught by this law, period returned to attend these annual their duty to support the cause of God. festivals, the ceremonial law required the No one was allowed, on these occasions, Jews to leave all their worldly business to appear before the Lord "empty;' but and go to Jerusalem, and there worship every one was required to give as he was the one living and true God. This visit able. The Jews gave more for the supwas calculated to produce a salutary in- port of Judaism, than many Christians fluence upon their minds. Man, my give for the support of Christianity. This brethren, has to prepare for eternity as fact may well make us blush. What well as for time; he has to think of his claims has that Gospel to our support! soul as well as of his body; he has to which has opened our prison doors ; relabour for the meat which endureth to stored us to the friendship of God and everlasting life, as well as for the meat given us “ a good hope through grace,” which perishes. But though such a law - Freely ye have received, freely give.” was given to keep up in their minds a 5. This law kept up in their minds a deep sense of the duties they owed to sense of the care of Divine Providence. God, yet in what a state of ruin, degrada- When they returned home from these tion and misery the Messiah found them! | annual festivals and found all their proAnd is man less bent on his ruin now ? perty as secure as when they left it, No. Though God has given him the could the pious among them fail to acChristian Sabbath, the ministers of the knowledge the care of Divine ProviGospel, the ordinances of His house, in dence? The Jews were surrounded by order to promote the welfare of his soul, enemies, yet not one of them laid his yet he hastens with rapid strides to the hand upon their property during their pit of destruction, unless apprehended by absence. They were protected by an inJesus Christ. The care of the soul, true visible Hand. Let us look to the same religion, an interest in the Divine favour, source for protection. Jehovah, in whom is the one thing needful. Would not the we trust, is able to defend, not only our Holy Family meditate upon these things souls, but our bodies, our reputation and as they journey to the Passover ? They now our property. What a hedge encircled Job.---(Job i. 8–12). These remarke , 8, 9). This seems to represent the Saable facts should encourage us to pray, viour's enduring, on our account, the that God would protect our property | fierceness of God's anger, which is said from fire, robbery and violence.

to burn as a fire-(Psalm xxii. 14, 15). Thus, we have considered the law, The Lamb was to be killed by the whole which required the holy family to be | assembly of the congregation of Israel present at the Jewish festivals. Medi- -(Exodus xii. 6): the whole of the tate upon this law; upon its Author, Jews conspired in the death of Christ nature, design, and abrogation.

--(Luke xxiii. 13). The paschal lamb

was to be slain by an effusion of its blood : II. The feast of the Passover,

when the Roman soldier thrust his spear This institution was appointed by God into the side of our Lord, “ there flowed the night before the Israelites departed out blood and water"-an emblem of from Egypt, and was intended as a the two blessings essential to our salvamemorial of their signal deliverance, tion, namely, justification and sanctifithe sufferings they endured in their cap-cation. Christ suffered His agonies on tivity, and of the favour God showed the same evening on which the Passover them, in passing over and sparing their was celebrated; and His death took place first born, when he slew the first born of the next day, between the two evenings, the Egyptians-(Exodus xii. 1-11). between noon and sun-set. When the That the Passover had a mystical signifi- | Jews were settled in Canaan, this instication, we know from Paul, who calls tution was to be observed in the place Jesus “our Passover”-(I Cor. v. 7).which God had appointed-(Deut. xvi. T be paschal lamb typified the person of 2). The very spot on which Christ sufChrist. The lamb slain in this ordinance fered was chosen by Providencewas called the Passover; the sign is put | (Heb. xiii. 11-13). But of what adfor the thing signified-(Chron. xxxv. vantage was the Passover to them ? 11). That is, the lamb for the Passover Consider then was the angel's passing over Israel, when 1. Their preservation—(Exodus xii. he was sent as an executioner of God's | 12, 13). vengeance upon the Israelites. The de- This blood, which was sprinkled on sign of all the sacrifices, which were the door post, was typical of the blood appointed by God, as parts of worship, of Jesus, which quenches that fire of was to keep up in the mind of man a Divine wrath we have merited ; turns remembrance of his fall, the desert of sin, away the storms of God's vengeance, and and to sustain his faith in the promised secures the salvation of all, who have Messiah. “Lo, I come,''-as the person “ fled for refuge to the hope set before represented by these pictures, " in the them in the Gospel.” “When,” says a volume of the book it is written of Me,) | certain writer, “God shall judge the to do Thy will, O God-(Heb. x. world, He will pass over those whom He 7—13). The Messiah, brethren, is the sees sprinkled with the blood of His substance of those shadows; the end of dear Son, and turn from them the edge those institutions; the glory of both dis- of that consuming sword, which shall pensations—(Col. ii. 17). That Moses “ strike through the hearts of His eneregarded the paschal lamb as a type of mies.” How important, then, is an inChrist, is intimated by the apostle- terest in Christ! The soul that is out (Heb. xi. 28). The lamb was to have of Christ has nothing to protect it from no blemish-(Exodus xii. 5). Jesus, of the wrath to come; but all who are united whom this lamb was a type, was without | to Him by faith, are saj

to Him by faith, are safe-(Romans blemish ; He was like us in our nature, viii. 1). but not in our sins. He was born of a 2. Another privilege was liberty, woman, yet “in Him was no sin.” He (Exodus xii. 31). The Passover, as it lived in the midst of pollution, yet He secured them from death, so it was the was never defiled. " Such a High Priest earnest of their deliverance, and broke became us, who is holy, harmless, un- the chains of their slavery. The death defiled, separate from sinners, and made of Jesus laid a foundation for the full dehigher than the heavens” -(Heb. vii. | liverance of His people, and all who are 26). There was in the Passover, a type interested therein shall enjoy the proof the Saviour's sufferings-(Exodus xii. / mised inheritance. The sacrifice of

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]



Christ has procured for us liberty : free-J dience was acceptable to God. The rule, dom from the slavery of sin. “And if the spirit, and the matter of it was right. the Son shall make you free, ye shall be The manner in which most of the Jews free indeed.

served God was an abomination in His 3. There was a third privilege enjoyed sight, but Joseph was “ an Israelite inby the Jews who kept the passover, viz. deed.” Is your obedience acceptable ? guidance. After the Israelites had ce!e- What brings you to the Lord's table ? brated the passover, they not only en- Are you serving God or yourself ? joyed their liberty, but began their march 3. The advantages of his obedience. to Canaan, in obedience to the directions There would be an increase of knowledge. of their infallible Guide. And when a The Jews journeyed to their annual fessinner is freed by the Holy Spirit from tivals in companies; hence their converthe dominion of sin, he turns his back sation on the nature, design, and origin towards hell, sets his face heavenward, of their peculiar institutions would inand follows the guidance of God's Word, crease their knowledge, strengthen their providence, and Spirit. The manner in minds, and promote their love to each which the Passover was observed, we other. When you come to the house of leave until another opportunity.

God, what is the subject of your conver

sation? The attendance of the Jews on Let us now notice,

these festivals would be useful in keeping III. T'he obedience of the holy family. up their attachment to their own country. Mary was not required to be present by When they were dispersed into so many the law, but her religion was a religion countries, as we know they were, from of love; hence she delighted in the ser the second chapter of the Acts of the vice of God. Love does not inquire, Apostles, they were in danger of losing how little can I do for God, but how their attachment to their country ; but much. But the law required Joseph to these annual visits to that favoured land, be present; and observe his obedience. would keep up in their minds their

1. The rule of his obedience. The will | patriotism. The Christian also should of God. Joseph knew his duty. Do be a patriot. And who are some of our you? How important that parents should best patriots ? Are they not those who know it, that they may instruct their understand the Gospel, and who hear and children! What is the rule of your obe- put it into practice. The piety of God's dience? Some have no rule ; each walks people was promoted by these periodical in his own way. The revealed will of visits. When they came to the Passover God should be your rule; is it?-(John they saw a "shadow of good things to xiv. 21.)

come,” which was calculated to enkindle 2. The character of his obedience. their love, strengthen their faith, and What Joseph did in the service of God, enliven hope. Joseph and Mary would was the fruit of love.

return home better fitted to endure trials, « 'Tis love that makes our cheerful feet,

to run their heavenly course, and to live In swift obedience move,

as it becometh saints. And oh! if you The devils know and tremble too,

come to the means of grace in a proper But Satan cannot love."

spirit, you will depart instructed, comThe obedience of Joseph was personal. forted, and encouraged. Learn There are some parents who send their The important union which existed children to means of grace, but keep at in this family. They were one in senhome themselves. Joseph brought the timent, in heart, and in practice. They child Jesus with him. His obedience were all attached to the house of God, was constant. “ Now His parents went the means of grace, and the institutions to Jerusalem every year at the feast of of Divine appointment. Have you such the passover.” Such obedience as Jo- a union in your family? What an exseph's requires much love to God. How ample Christ is for youth! The Saviour irregular are some persons in their at- felt no reluctance to go to these festivals. tendance upon the means of grace! What No, He could say, * The zeal of Thine is the cause? Is it the love of the world ? house hath eaten Me up.” There are Is it spiritual declension? Is it unbe- some children who would seldom copie lief? “Let us search and try our ways, to the house of God, if left to themand turn again to the Lord.” His obe- selves; are you one of these? Then if

[ocr errors]

you are, how much you need a change Lastly, the superiority of our privileges. of heart! Will you pray for a new heart? | We have no such long journeys to go : Oh! that the mind that was in Christ some of us live within a few steps of the may be in you. May you follow the ex- sanctuary. And yet how negligent! May ample of Jesus, and come to the house of the Lord quicken us, pardon us, and make God freely, from a principle of love. Jus more like this holy family. Amen.



“ Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. To bin that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. He that bath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churcbes."-Rev, iii. 20-22.

These words contain the close of our ing, pleading for admittance, and acLord's admirable epistles to the seven cording to the poetic version of the Churches in Asia; and though it appears amiable Mrs. Rowe, this Church, in its spiritual and religious “ Still at the door my injured Lord attends, state, was the worst of all the seven, yet! While on the lock His busy fingers move." bad as things were, our Lord did not Our Lord demands our serious attenabandon it.

tion. “Behold, I stand at the door and The address of Christ in our text is knock.” “Behold and regard it," says very affecting, and deserves the serious Durham," as a public record, or witness, and practical regard of the Churches of or as a Divine testimony to the truth of Jesus; it contains the threatening of His this description of the operations of Direbuking rod, and the most persuasive vine parience, and compassion to sinners allurements to open to Him, for for admission; and such is its precious“ Persuasion dwells upon His charming tongue, ness, and its importance, tha

ness, and its importance, that it demands And eloquence Divine."

and deserves, and will most richly reIt has repeatedly been observed, “ Ease ward our serious regard, and believing and indulgence produce langour, supine- reception thereof.ness, and negligence, both in individuals Let us notice the object of the Reand in communities; and when a pro- deemer's solicitude, and the great professing Church is sunk into this state, it mise held out to induce compliance must suffer prodigious loss." The Re- therewith. deemer withdraws His gracious presence; communion with Him is sus- I. The object of the Redeemer's sopended : “ I will go and return to My licitude. place; in their affliction they will seek 1. Who is it utters these affecting Me early.” But the withdrawment is words ? Who is it requires access to not final. He will return again, and in our hearts? It is the blessed Jesus. It His long-suffering and patience He re- is the voice of your beloved Lord, clothed bukes in love, and calls to repentance. with Divine authority, and filled with Those who attentively read the Song of love and mercy. It is Christ who says, Solomon, will perceive a striking simi- “ Give Me thine heart;" and He has a larity between our text and chapter five right to it. He speaks with authority, and second verse of that book : " I sleep, which is not be questioned; for the heart but my heart waketh : it is the voice of belongs to Him, and while He makes the my Beloved that knocketh, saying, Open demand, He richly deserves the object to Me, My sister, my love, my dove, My which He claims. In Him greatness, undefiled; for My head is filled with dew, iuconceivable greatness, and unrivalled and My locks with the drops of the goodness combine. He is thy Lord, He night."* He is represented as “ knock- / • has redeemed and called thee by thy

• Williams on the Canticles.

« AnteriorContinuar »