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tian first born, shall pass it over very briefly: the reason is simply this : it is not our purpose to occupy our pages with subjects which, however important, are generally understood : our leading object is to attempt to elucidate what has not frequently been observed.
We find, ver. 3. that the man Moses was very great in the sight of Pharaoh, and all Egypt ; and indeed it has always appeared, that the friends of Jesus Christ will appear great in the eyes of the world, however persecuted or opposed, while they cleave stedfastly to his word ; hence Paul exhorts a church, whom he encourages to stand firm, · And in nothing terrified by your adversaries, which is to them • an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of ! God, Philip. i. 28. It is remarkable, that all the preceding plagues were committed to the hand of Moses and Aaron, but in the destruction of the first born God takes the sword into his own hand ; • At • midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt.' Here the reader will be led to think of another midnight cry, of which the scripture speaks, when that same divine person who here threatens will go forth into the midst of spiritual Egypt, when out of his mouth a sharp twoedged sword shall proceed, and execute the vengeance threatened in bis word. This last judgment is against the first born of Egypt; and here also we find judgment against her gods. It is a well-established fact, that among many idolatrous nations, but in a particular manner among the Egyptians, the first born were devoted to the service of the gods. That this custom took its rise from revelation cannot be doubted, and is one, among many instances, of the testimony which idolatry and paganism bear to the truths of God. That the Great Highpriest should be God's first born, was an early subject of revelation : the curious reader will find, in the writings of Macrobius, some curious facts as to Egyptian first born. It is sufficient however for our purpose, to state, that the death of the first born was, if we may so express it, cutting off their whole hope, root and branch ; and, in a par. ticular manner, it was more directly against their goc's that all the for. mer judgments concentrated. The first born of beasts are also threatened ; and we know, that they were not only devoted, but that in many cases it was a high crime to apply them to any common use ; see Potter on Pharmaceutic Sacrifices. Here, then, let us pause for one moment, to examine a picture of the human heart :-We have seen Moses, divinely directed, dealing out one judgment on the back of another in the most awful manner : there remains but one step to an. nihilate their whole system of worship, and even this is threatened. Wbat says the Lord ? • Pharaoh shall not let you go.'
CHAP. XII.-The redemption of Israel was now at hand, the paschal lamb to be slain, and the ransomed host of the Lord to go forth under his banner. The year of the Lord's redeemed should now have a new beginning : abis, the springing year, should henceforth be the beginning of the months ; in the same manner as the death of Christ, our true passover, altered the day of rest. The first prominent article in this important chapter is, the institution of the passover, a subject interesting to all Christians, and which, had it been properly at
tended to, would have prevented much profanation of the ordinance of the Christian Passover, as now commanded to be observed as his memorial. The victim in this sacrifice is a LAMB of the first year. It is a singular circumstance, that the original word, seh, has no con. nection with the other names of the animal, and that, when attended to in its composition, plainly means, This is he. Holloway considers this word as pointing to Him, represented by the innocent lamb, as peculiarly opposed to the beasts and monsters of which we have already spoken.' In this character, John saw the heavenly Jesus on Mount Zion, and with him his 144,000. Opposed to this, Nebuchadnezzar, the great king of Babylon, and the zealous supporter of idolatrous worship in that kingdom, was metamorphosed into a real beast ; and this for the purpose of teaching him, that there is a God who ruleth in heaven, &c. The character of the lamb without blemish, his connection with the household, and many similar circumstances, will lead the reader's mind directly to · Christ our passover, sacrificed for
us.' The lamb was to be kept up from the 10th to the 14th of Abib. Jesus entered into Jerusalem privately with his disciples, exactly the fourth day before he died. He was separate from the world, and had no intercourse with them from that hour. The household, and the communion they all, and they alone, had in this lamb, was a fine figure of the communion of the whole family in heaven and earth in the true paschal lamb of God, who beareth away the sins of the world. The lamb was to be killed in the evening, viz. in the evening of the world. Christ died in the evening of the day; and he instituted his great evening feast, the memorial of his death, and of that night in which he was betrayed ; this feast is therefore called The Lord's SUP
The death of this blameless lamb was necessary, as the victim by which the first born of Israel were preserved. The blood was sprinkled in faith of that precious blood of sprinkling which speaks better things than Abel. The cating of this lamb Israel
called to enjoy as a feast, in the very evening, when the cry of horror and misery was resounding through all Egypt. It was a glorious representation of him who said, "My flesh is meat indeed! my blood is • drink indeed !' see John vi. 51. 57. The roasting of the fesh with fire appears to point out the fire of divine wrath under which the divine victim suffered, Psalm xxxi. 10. The unleavened bread with which it was to be eaten, Paul explains, as pointing to that simplicity or unmingledness in the truth with which the true passover should be eaten, not with the leaven of malice and wickedness, 1 Cor. v. 7, 8. Still farther, the bitter herbs would seem to point out the recollection, in that ordinance, of the bitterness of his sorrow, who bare all our griefs and carried our sorrows. Israel were to eat it when just about setting out from Egypt, the loins girt,' and staff in the hand, &c. see ver. 11. It is a feast provided for strangers and sojourners, while passing through to a better country, that is an heavenly. It is the Lord's passover. It is remarkable, that, in all languages, the name of this feast carries the same expressive idea, in-the sovereign mercy of God passing over. It leads to remember, Ist, What is passing over? The righteous judgment of God, now executing in Egypt. Not a house
in all that country, where the doleful cry of death is not heard, where the effects of the righteous judgment of God are not felt, where the consequences of a hardened heart against the word of God are not seen! In this awful night in Egypt, they were taught by experience, what a fearful thing it is to fall into the hands of the lia ving God! 2dly, Who are they, respecting whom it is said, God passes over, in this fearful night of judgment? The guilty.children of Ísrael, equally deserving to share in this dreadful wrath with those who are now bleeding under it. In no other view could it be called a passing
It is a noble, a glorious view of the gospel, which this very word proclaims ! 3dly, why did God pass over Israel? Because they were under the sprinkling of blood. We mistake the grand design of this subject, if we suppose there was any natural difference between the one and the other, but that ye may know that the Lord doth • put a difference. This difference was the work of sovereign mercy ; and the guilty Israelite was led to see how that mercy should vent, when he saw the spotless lamb bleeding under his knife, the victim and substituted sufferer for his first born. With the blood of this victim sprinkled on his door, the father stood, and his ransomed faa' mily around him, living, and feasting on the flesh of their saviour : • Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor the arrow that • flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor • for the destruction that walketh at noon-day. A thousand shall fall • at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come
nigh thee,' Psalm xc. 5. 8. • The blood shall be to you for a token ;' • and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.' Precious is the blood of atonement! The hour draws quickly nigh : the day is far spent, the night is at hand ; that still more memorable night, when the sword of vengeance shall pass through spiritual Egypt, and when the grand and final difference will be put between the Egyptians and the true Israel of God. Happy they, who shall be found under the covering of the blood of the covenant at that important hour !
Because of this great event,~Great, say we? Yes, great indeed !Because of the still greater event which it shadowed forth, • This day • shall be unto you for a memorial ; and ye shall keep it a feast to the • Lord, throughout your generations. We see how important the observance of this day as a memorial was kept in all the church of Israel : · He that despised this law of Moses died without mercy.' Are we equally attentive to the feast which a greater than Moses instituted for his people ? saying, “This do, in remembrance of me.' the transgressor against Moses died, of how much sorer punishment • shall we be thought worthy,' if we despise the blood of the true pasa chal lamb,—if we neglect the Lord's passover? Nor can we leave this part of the subject, without adding, that the doctrines and commandments of men have totally obscured that in the Lord's supper which was the glory of the passover, viz. the sovereign mercy which it exhibited. This is not an ordinance for men to befit themselves, by searching for and collecting together every good and gracious trait in their own characters, which they can fancy or conjure up: it is not a feast which they are to enjoy, because of the gracious, saint.like, or
devout-like, or moral-like appearances they have made. There was probably great diversity of character among the ten thousands of Israel who were passed over ; but we do not read of one standing on ány different footing from another. THE SPRINKLED BLOOD PRESERVED THEM ; and we are come to Jesus, the mediator of the new
covenarit, and the blood of sprinkling,' Heb. xii. 14. In going about the Christian passaver, if our minds are not drawn to the passing over of which it is the memorial, to the blood which brings us safety, we cannot eat the Lord's supper! If we are thinking of any thing whatever about ourselves, but that guilt which exposes us to wrath ; if we are congratulating ourselves on our own attainments, we are not feasting on the blessed fare which our Lord sets before us.
Connected with the feast of the passover, seven days shall ye eat • unleavened bread,' ver. 15. The design of the feast of unleavened bread has been generally misapplied ; and we shall be the more firm in opposing this mistake, as an inspired apostle has left us an infallible key. We have already had occasion to remind our readers, that the leaven which the apostle considers as pointed at in this feast, is the leaven of • malice and wickedness. We need not stop long to prove, that this malice is the opposite of that charity which is the bond of the Christian household. Had an Israelite seen an Egyptian at his table that night, he would most clearly have turned him to his door, because he could have no fellowship in that feast. This feast now belongs to the household of faith ; and those only to whom our charity is directed, as taught of God to know the truth, can belong to this household. It matters not how high and unimpeachable his moral character, how respectable in society, how great soever his attainments in other respects ; if he has not been taught to know and love the truth, we cannot receive him into the house, nor bid him God. speed. The great wickedness which is to be purged out for this feast, is every
doctrine inconsistent with the truth, and every practice that becomes not the gospel of Christ. The leaven of the Pharisees is to be carefully purged from the household, as must also the leaven of the Sadduces. The brethren must be of one heart and one soul. No member must sit down to this feast with his mind defiled as to any of the household; he must hold them all as belonging to the family. If he suspects that an Egyptian has crept in, let him attend to the Lord's law, and either get his mind relieved, or the household purged. We maintain, therefor, that we have apostolic authority to assert, that the feast of unleavened bread prefigured purity of Christian communion. It is noticeable, that on this, as on all similar occasions, the first day was a holy convocation. In all the law of Moses, the keeping of the first day of the seven was uniformly prefigured as the great day of solemn convocation. In verses 18, 19, and 20, the feast of unleavened bread is enjoined again, and in still stronger terms, and by more marked penalties circumscribed.
It is a circumstance worth notice, that on the tenth day of the first month, the lamb was separated ; on the fourteenth, it was slain, and Israel was delivered ; and on the twenty-first, they passed through the Red Sea.. From the 21st verse, we find Moses proceeding to execute the divine injunctions ; of which says Paul, By faith Moses kept the
passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the first • born should touch them,' Heb. xi. 28. Moses, and all the elect in Israel, were taught to know the great design of this institution, and kept it, not merely as a form necessary for their personal safety, but by faith in the great 'salvation which it shadowed forth. Moses directed them to use hyssop in sprinkling the blood. Hyssop is understood to be at least among the principal of the bitter herbs with which the passover was eaten. When David says, Psalm li. 7. • Purge me • with hyssop, we are not to think of any purifying quality in that herb, as some have strangely asserted ; but, as hyssop was that with which the blood was sprinkled, the text obviously ineans, · Purge me * with the blood sprinkled with hyssop.' We find, in the 26th and 27th verses, that part of the Israelitish parent's duty so often enjoined, the instructing their children in the great things God had done for them. We cannot, on this occasion, forbear adopting Dr Hawker's very words : • Reader ! if you are a parent, learn from hence, to encourage your
little ones to seek information concerning the great * things of God. If they ask you what is meant by the Christian • passover, tell them, that it cominemorates his precious sufferings and • death, by whose stripes we are healed.' Let the 29th and 30th verses of this chapter be compared with the highest wrought-up picture which human eloquence and imagination ever painted, and let us observe the awful sublimity of the word of God. A more dreadful scene was never described, though in few words! Yet how infinitely beyond all this will the day of the Lord's vengeance be,-the year of the recompence of Zion!
As Moses foretold, Pharaoh appears now with all the terror of judgment on his head, and sends for Moses and Aaron, gives them unlimited permission, nay, craves a blessing from them. Yet this very Pharaoh, who sends away the Israelites with the utmost haste, the terror of the Lord being just then before his eyes, we shall find, ere long, in a'very different mind,-another dismal view of the human heart !
This chapter next records the particulars of the exodus from Egypt ; on which we may observe, 1. It happened exactly at the time predict, ed to Abraham. It is stated at 100 years, Gen. xv. 13. to which add the preceding thirty years from the call of Abraham, and we have the exact 430 years stated in the text. Not an hour could Pharaoh detain them beyond the time appointed by the Most High. 2. God's Israel could not leave Egypt till the paschal lamb was slain, and its blood sprinkled. 3. The death of the lamb was the death of the first born of our great enemy,
the grave ; for then he set at liberty those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to 'bondage. 4. The exodus was early in the morning, before it was light į so was the exodus of Christ from the grave, as ours shall be in the morning of the resurrection.
From the 43d verse, we have a recapitulation of the law of the passa over. In addition to what we have already noticed, the reader will observe, 1. No stranger shall eat thereof ; nor shall a stranger to the