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from the love of Christ'. So, let the weakest of true believers be able to say, "I have set the Lord always before me;" and he may confidently add, "Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved m."]
Let me now address,
1. The timid
["Who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy Maker"!" Is he not present with you, as well as with others? or, "Is his ear heavy, that he cannot hear; or his hand shortened, that it cannot save?" Dishonour him not by unbelief. Consider how awful will be the fate of "the fearful and unbelieving, when they shall take their portion in the lake of fire and brimstone":" and "fear not him who can only kill the body, and after that has no more that he can do; but fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell: yea, I say unto you, Fear him"."]
2. The enduring saint
[How was God glorified in Moses, when he thus braved the wrath of Pharaoh, and took on him the charge of carrying the whole nation of Israel to the promised land! His extremities were great: but was he ever forsaken? Was not the sea opened for him; and manna rained down from heaven; and water given him from the stricken rock? Go ye then forward; and know, that "your strength also shall be according to your day." Your trials may succeed each other, like the waves of the sea: but "he that endureth unto the end, the same shall be saved."]
1 Rom. viii. 33-39. m Ps. xvi. 8. • Rev. xxi. 8.
n Isai. li. 12, 13.
P Luke xii. 4, 5.
q Deut. xxxiii. 25.
r Matt. xxiv. 13.
MOSES' FAITH IN RELATION TO THE PASSOver.
Heb. xi. 28. Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
PERSONS, when speaking upon the comparative excellences of faith and works, are very apt to overlook the relation which they bear to each other: whereas there is no true faith which is not productive
of good works; nor are there any works truly good, which do not proceed from faith as their root and principle. Supposing that they could exist separately, the preference might justly be given to good works: because they are the end, whilst faith is only the means to that end. Detach from each other the root and fruit of a tree; and no one will hesitate to
prefer the fruit. But they cannot be separated; they are to each other as the cause and effect and in proportion as any one values good works, he ought to value faith, as their originating and productive cause. True it is that there are works which are reputed good, and which may be done by an infidel or a heathen: and these, imperfect as they are, are certainly better than a barren and inoperative faith but works that are truly good can proceed from faith alone: and the peculiar excellence of faith is, that it is the spring and source from whence all good works proceed; and from whence they will naturally proceed, as its genuine fruit and offspring. It is on this account that the Apostle accumulates in the chapter before us so many instances of a lively faith. A person ignorant of true Christianity would expatiate only upon the works: but the Apostle traces the streams to the fountain-head; and fixes our attention upon that faith from whence they flowed.
In considering the faith of Moses as recorded in the text, we shall mark,
I. The particular act by which it displayed itself in him
God had determined to destroy the first-born both of man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt, with the exception of those belonging to his own oppressed and afflicted people. But when the destroying angel should be sent forth to execute this judgment, how should the Hebrews be distinguished by him? And how should he know where to strike, and where to forbear?
For the preservation of his people God appointed peculiar means
[The whole account is given us in the twelfth chapter of Exodus. A lamb was to be killed by every family of the Hebrews. Its blood was to be poured forth into a bason, and to be sprinkled with hyssop upon the lintel and the side-posts of their doors; (not upon the threshold; for that sacred blood was not to be trampled on by any:) and the flesh of the lamb was to be eaten, (not raw, or sodden, but roast with fire,) with bitter herbs, and with certain forms, which it is not to our present purpose to specify. The blood so sprinkled was to serve to them as a pledge of their security, and to the angel as a token that he was to pass over that house which was so protected. And in remembrance of this deliverance, the ordinance so instituted was ever after to be called the Passover.] These means Moses used in faith
[He gave the necessary directions to the Jewish people, who instantly carried them into effect. In this both Moses and the people shewed the power of faith. Moses doubted not but that in the space of a few hours God would inflict the threatened vengeance on all the first-born of Egypt: nor did he doubt but that the simple means proposed would prove effectual for the preservation of the Hebrews. He did not attempt to station any centinel at the door of one single family for the purpose of calling the attention of the angel to the blood that had been sprinkled; but with perfect confidence addressed himself to the observance of the ordinance that had been appointed, having no thought that any other precaution was necessary, nor any fear that the destroying angel would through ignorance or inadvertence exceed the commission he had received.]
And these means proved effectual
[At midnight the judgment was executed throughout all the land of Egypt, so that there was not a single house wherein the first-born was not dead, even from the first-born of Pharaoh himself to the first-born of the captive that was in the dungeon. But of the first-born belonging to Israel, not one was hurt; "the destroyer had not touched so much as one of them."]
Without dwelling unnecessarily upon this peculiar act, by which faith displayed itself in Moses, I shall proceed to notice,
II. The corresponding act by which it is to shew itself in us
The whole human race, as transgressors of the law, are obnoxious to the wrath of an avenging God.
But God has appointed means of safety to all who will make use of them in faith. He has sent his own Son to die a sacrifice for sin; and has appointed HIM to be the only means of our preservation.
We are to seek deliverance through him, precisely as the Hebrews did through the paschal lamb
[This is told us by St. Paul, who says, "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us," thus identifying the Lord Jesus with the paschal lamb as the type, of which He is the great antitype.
Now the first thing we have to do, is to sprinkle our souls with his blood. There is no other protection than this for any human being. We may bring all the good works which ever were wrought by any mortal man, and they will not avert the stroke of divine justice. No means will suffice, but those which God himself has appointed. Whether we see any suitableness in the means or not, they are to be used, and used in faith. Nothing is to be substituted as more conducive to the end; nothing to be added, to increase the efficacy of this simple ordinance. The Lamb of God is slain: his blood is poured forth: we are by faith to sprinkle it on our souls, assured that, when we have put ourselves under that safeguard, there can be no condemnation to us;" but that, "Christ will be to us as an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land"." If we attempt to substitute any thing for this, or to add any thing to it, we destroy its efficacy altogether, and render it of no avail.
We must also feast upon the flesh of this great Sacrifice, in token of the full confidence which we have in our safety through him, and as the means of deriving fresh supplies of strength from him. How strongly has our blessed Lord himself inculcated this truth; "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." We must eat it indeed, "with the bitter herbs" of repentance, and "with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." But we must eat it as "a feast," yea, as "a feast of fat things & &;" and we shall then find it a source of all needful strength unto our soulsh.]
We shall then find in him the same security
[Of all the first-born that belonged to Israel, the destroyer "touched not" so much as one. And who ever perished, after
a 1 Cor. v. 7.
b Rom. viii. 1.
d 1 Cor. iii. 11. Gal. v. 2-4.
f Exod. xii. 8. with 1 Cor. v. 8. h Isai. xxv. 4.
c Isai. xxxii. 2.
e John vi. 53-56. g Isai. xxv. 6.
having fled to Christ for refuge, and sprinkled their souls with his atoning blood? In what instance did the destroyer ever overlook the sign, or the sign prove an ineffectual guard against his uplifted arm? If Christ be " If Christ be "a propitiation for the sins of the whole world," and his blood be able to cleanse from all sin, then may all trust in him as "able to save them to the uttermost; nor shall any one that trusts in him be ashamed or confounded world without end."]
Here then we SEE, in a striking point of view,
1. In what an awful state they are who neglect the Gospel of Christ!
[The people of Egypt, unconscious of the impending judgment, or unconcerned about it, retired to rest as secure as usual. But at midnight, when they were all asleep, it came upon them; so that "there was a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt: for there was not a house where there was not one dead" In that instance the cry was amongst the survivors. But amongst ourselves, when persons are summoned to their great account, there is no apprehension excited, lest they should have fallen as monuments of God's wrath. We mourn the loss of them as relatives; but as for the vengeance that may have seized them in the midst of their security, we think not of it. But of the thousands that are daily swept away, how fearful is the doom of the generality! What shrieks, what cries are uttered by them on their first entrance into the presence of their God! Could we but hear one of them, O how would it pierce our inmost souls! Yet, if we did hear it, our terror would operate with no more abiding effect, than did that of the Egyptians; who no sooner found that the Israelites were "entangled in the land," than they pursued after them with the most vindictive wrath to destroy them. But, beloved, know that the judgments of God will be executed, whether ye believe it or not. Your presumptuous security will avail you nothing. What did it avail the antediluvian world? Did not the deluge come the very same day that Noah entered into the ark? and did not all experience the fate which they had been warned to expect? Yes; every day and hour brought it nearer to them: and in like manner your judgment also lingereth not, and your damnation slumbereth not*." Awake then from your slumbers, ye foolish virgins, ere the Bridegroom come: and as ye know not at what hour he will come, lose not another in fleeing from the wrath to come, and laying hold on eternal life.]
2. How happy and secure they are who truly believe in Christ!
i Exod. xii. 30.
k2 Pet. ii. 2-5.