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ture; and with what frequency does that pro. vidence interpose in favour of those who are Christ's, and how many promises are there to that effect! Happy, therefore, are those whose consciences are sprinkled with the blood of the Lamb, that alone will give security and peace when the wrath of God is poured out on a guilty world!
II. The passover set forth Christ in the way in which it was to be celebrated ; and here we may notice,
i. The importance attached to it.
All other remarkable deliverances of the Jews, with very few if any exceptions, were to be kept in remembrance; but to none of their festivals was so much importance attached as to this. The season was to be a night much observed, and long remembered. Particular directions were given by God to his people to instruct their children in the knowledge of its nature and meaning; for when the sons would inquire of their fathers, “ What mean ye by this service ?” they were to say, “ It is the sacrifice of the Lord's passover."*
As all that God does, whether in heaven or on earth, is to reveal himself, it becomes our duty to observe him, and glorify him, in proportion as his interpositions become more or less striking, and as consequences are involved: but when was anything done for the Israelites containing such a display of goodness, or so great an exercise of the Divine power and other perfections, as this? Hence, it is referred to by God himself, as showing the greatness of his
* Exod. xii. 26, 27.
love to his people: “I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee:"* and, “ who brought thee out of the land of Egypt,”+ is a common form of expression by which the Jews are addressed.
It was not only on account of its involving a great exercise of God's goodness, however, that the emancipation of his people was to be remembered, but because it was a most striking type of that deliverance which was to be effected by Christ in the fulness of time.
It is true that other events in the history of Jesus of Nazareth, as his birth and ascension, are ever dear to the memory of his people, but none like his death. With respect to neither of the former is any command given for their celebration; nor do we find that the Apostles made any distinct account of them; but the commemoration of his death, which was particularly shadowed forth by the paschal lamb, is to be kept up to the end of the world. It is to preserve a lively sense of this among his people, and the importance of it to the world, that the Lord's supper is especially designed; and hence its specific use is said to be a “ setting forth the Lord's death until he come.”. Indeed, it appears from the connection in which the Apostle's reference to the passover stands, that it was this feast of love in which Christians meet, hold communion with each other, and partake of Christ-the sacrifice offered for their deliverance that was in a particular way pointed out by that solemn Jewish service.
2. The paschal lamb was to be partaken of, * Isa. xliii. 3. + Exod. xx. 2. I 1 Cor. xi. 26.
as well as its blood sprinkled ; and (what was peculiar to this ordinance) to be received by all the people, and not the priests only.
Knowing how much the instruction to be received from an institution depended upon the observance of its minute parts, God graciously condescended to give particular directions as to the manner in which this was to be maintained. It was to be celebrated in haste, with bitter herbs, their staves in their hands, and in a travelling posture. Other directions were also as minutely stated: but that upon which most stress was laid, was the absence of all leavened bread. So strict was the injunction regarding this, and so careful was the Almighty to have it observed, that all inducement to a breach of his command was to be prevented, by leaven not being suffered to remain in their houses.
Whether the former of these directions had a typical design, and how far it was intended that the bitter herbs and the staff should indi. cate repentance, and that Christians commence a new life after receiving the sacrifice of Christ, as some of the old writers on the types supposed and taught, may be questioned; but not so with the unleavened bread; that is especially referred to by the Apostle, and spoken of in such a way as to show that true sincerity—that most important ingredient in the Christian character-was pointed out by it. *
The passover prefigured Christ,
III. In the effects and consequences that were connected with it. 1. They were destructive of the whole power
* 1 Cor. v. 7, 8.
of Egypt, the enemies of the church and people of God.
Proceeding according to the usual course of his providence, in not inflicting greater judgments until lesser ones were found ineffectual, Jehovah had sent one plague after another, each rising in the terror of its character, and the destruction it occasioned; but all these had failed to produce any effect upon the heart of Pharaoh, except that of hardening it; but by this last visitation his force was entirely broken.
The resemblance between the power of Egypt and that of Satan in this respect is striking. His empire had been assailed by one attack succeeding another, even from the first intimation that God had given of his intention to redeem his church and people; and these assaults had increased in their terrific nature and effects as time advanced. Holy men of God wrote and spoke, miracles were wrought, and one visitation of Divine justice after another took place, but never was such an effectual blow given to his kingdom as in the death of Christ. It was in anticipation of this event that the Lord said, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven."* Even in our Saviour's own day the power of the prince of darkness became visibly affected; but since his death and ascension its destruction has been so much accelerated as to encourage the hope that its complete annihilation fast approaches.
2. The celebration of the passover took place in connection with a new era.
. Luke x. 18.
A change in the period of commencing the year was to date from the day on which the lamb was killed. It was to be the beginning of months; and thus the importance of one institution was seen in making that of another yield to it: nor was there anything so likely to give it effect as this arrangement. Here, again, it may be seen how the passover and the death of Christ are alike. Our Lord is at the head of a new dispensation, which dates from his own advent into the world : and as amongst the ancient Israelites there was no change of a similar kind after the passover, so it is nowthe last days and the end of the world are said to have come; whatever revolutions in other respects may take place, the Gospel state will still remain: hence the exhortation of the Apostle: “Wherefore, we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have
grace whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire."*
THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES.† The feast of tabernacles was one of the three great Jewish festivals. Its design was to celebrate the circumstance of the Jews dwelling in tents for forty years in the wilderness. The period for its observance was the fourteenth day of Tisu, the first month of their civil year ; and it continued eight days, the first and seventh of which were marked by peculiar solemnity, though some considerable relaxation * Heb. xii. 28.
† Lev. xxiii. 24.