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[Realize to yourselves one moment the different states of the Israelites and the Egyptians on that night, when the angel was spreading death and destruction all around him. Behold the consternation that pervaded all the families of Egypt; and then look within the houses of the Hebrews, and behold their serenity and joy. O what a contrast! And all through the influence of faith! So it is at this hour with those who truly believe. They know what judgments are coming on the whole world of the ungodly: they know, that they themselves deserve them, as much as any other persons whatsoever: they know, that nothing which they can do can avert the stroke of Divine justice: but they know that God has appointed means of safety: they know that, however inadequate according to our vain conceits the means may be to the end, they are, and shall be, effectual to all who use them in faith: they are conscious that they have used them; and that they renounce every

other ground of hope, and place their dependence solely on the blood of the Paschal Lamb. They are feasting too from day to day on the flesh of that Paschal Lamb; and they have no wish but to cast off the yoke of Egypt, and to prosecute their journey to the promised land. The peace which others have, if it may be called peace, is owing to their disbelief of their danger: but the peace of the godly arises from their view of the sufficiency of Christ to save them, and of the faithfulness of God to all who hope in his promised mercy. Take ye then, my beloved brethren, the Israelites for your example. Take them at that precise moment, with “ their loins girt, and shoes on their feet, and staves in their hands, and eating their sacrifice in haste," ready at any instant to obey the Divine mandate, and to go forth to Canaan under the Divine guidance and protection. Then shall ye be Christ's disciples indeed: and then shall ye eat, whilst others are hungry; and drink, whilst others are thirsty: then shall ye rejoice, whilst others are ashamed; and sing for joy of heart, whilst others cry for sorrow of heart, and howl for vexation of spirit?.”]

3. With what delight we should all welcome the return of this day !

[To the people of Israel this day was enjoined to be observed even to the latest generations as the most memorable day in the whole year. And well might that night be termed, souls with the most lively joy, since then, and not till then, was their deliverance complete. But what was their redemption when compared with that which we have experienced, and which was completed as on this day, when our Lord and Saviour rose from the dead? Till then, he himself lay a captive in the grave: but then he triumphed over all his enemies, and “ led captivity itself captive." If you say, 'True, but my enemies still live and are mighty; and they still follow me, and will reduce me again to my former bondage ; fear not; for though they will follow you, they shall not prevail against you; and shall only follow, in order that God's

a night to be much observed unto the Lordn.” Methinks, the annual return of it, to those who bore in remembrance the mercies then vouchsafed to them, could not fail of filling their

i Isai. Ixv. 13, 14. m This conclusion is adapted only to Easter Day, on which the twelfth chapter of Exodus is read as the First Lesson for the day.

n Exod. xii. 42.

power may be the more magnified in their final destruction. Assert then your liberty: go forth under the Divine protection : harbour no unbelieving fears. Is there a sea before you? it shall open, and afford a dry path for your feet. Is there then nothing but a dreary wilderness before you, where you will be exposed to all manner of dangers and necessities? Fear not; for “ you shall dwell on high: your house of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given you, and your waters shall be sure: your eyes too shall behold your King in his beauty; they shall behold the land also that is very far offo.” Are ye laden with any measure of Egyptian gold ? Bring it forth with you, and consecrate it to the service of your God. It was with that that Moses furnished the tabernacle of old: and God will make use of your talents also, whatever they may be, for the enriching of his sanctuary, and the advancement of his glory. Come then, ye who know the value of redemption, and pant after perfect liberty; and behold the Paschal Lamb, now already roasted by the fire of God's wrath, and set before you, as it were, on the table of the Lord. There is the very Paschal Lamb: come feast upon it with love and gratitude: eat it, and be satisfied: eat it, and be strengthened : eat it, and live for evermore: for Christ himself invites Whoso eateth

my

flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up to the enjoyment of it at the last day: for my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed."

o Isai. xxxiii. 16, 17.

you:

MMCCCXXIX. THE WALLS OF JERICHO THROWN DOWN BY FAITH. Heb. xi. 30. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after

they were compassed about seven days. HOW intelligent creatures should be affected by any principle, is easy to be conceived; because the

human mind is susceptible of the strongest impressions from every thing that is submitted to its consideration. But what connexion any principle can have with inanimate creatures, any farther than through its influence on human agents, does not at first sight appear. Take the principle of love, for instance. We may love the flowers which are growing in our garden : but any farther than our love operates to secure attention to those flowers, they will be altogether unaffected by it. But there is a peculiarity in the principle of faith which does not attach to any other principle whatever; namely, that it has respect to God, and calls forth his power; and is therefore capable of influencing every thing, whether in heaven or earth. A surprising effect of it is mentioned in reference to the walls of Jericho, which, through its powerful operation, were thrown down.

In speaking of faith as illustrated by that event, we shall be led to notice, I. Its distinguishing properties,

Wherever a living faith exists in the soul, it will approve itself by, 1. A patient observance of the appointed means

[The means appointed for the capture of that fortress were certainly very peculiar. The Israelites, who were encamped against it, were to walk in procession around it seven successive days in perfect silence; the trumpets only blowing. On the seventh day, they were to go round it seven times, and then to shout: and at the precise moment that they shouted, the walls were to fall, and open for them a free passage into the city. These means they used. They did not pour contempt upon them as unsuited to the end : nor did they grow weary in the use of them: nor did they attempt to add any thing to them. They felt that it was not for them to canvass the wisdom of God's appointments, but to obey them: and therefore they followed implicitly the Divine command", and "compassed the city seven days.

Such is universally the operation of true faith. God has appointed means for the salvation of the soul. He requires that we should repent of all our past sins; that we should believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as having offered an atonement

a Josh. vi, 1--16.

99

for sin; and that we should give up ourselves to Christ, to be washed by his blood, and to be renewed by his Spirit. In order to further this work within us, he has prescribed means to be used by us both in public and in private: in public, we must attend on his ordinances; because, as he is peculiarly honoured by them, so he is pleased to make them in a more especial manner the channels of his gracious communications to our souls : in private, we must read his blessed word, and meditate upon it, and pray over it; and, through the influence of his Spirit, endeavour to mortify the whole body of sin. We are not to be questioning the use and efficacy of these means, but to use them in obedience to our God. True faith will not say, like Naaman, “ Are not Abana and Pharpar better than all the waters of Israel ? and may I not wash in them and be clean b?" but it will go to Jordan, according to the direction given, and expect the blessing only in the use of those ordinances which God has prescribed.] 2. A confident expectation of the promised end

[At the appointed time the Jewish army "shouted,” not doubting but that they should see the predicted event accomplished". In all the instances of faith recorded in this chapter, this is a very prominent feature. Noah believed that he should be saved in the ark: and Abraham believed that Isaac should be restored to him even from the dead.

Thus it is at this day. Faith never questions either the power or veracity of God: it assures itself, that “he is faithful who has promised;" and that what he has promised he is "able also to perform.” It is not from the means that faith expects the end; but from God, in and by the means. The adequacy of the means to the end comes not within its contemplation. If a posterity, innumerable as the stars of heaven, is promised to Abraham and Sarah, they consider not their own advanced age, but believe, that the promise, however improbable according to the course of nature, shall be fulfilled. Though the promise, after it was first given, was deferred for twenty years, they still hold fast their faith, and expect its accomplishment in due season.

Thus shall we also, whatever difficulties may arise in our Christian course, expect a successful issue, assured, that “none who come to God through Christ shall ever be cast out, and that “ of those whom the Father has given to Christ, not one shall ever be plucked out of his hands." This is the very description which the Prophet Isaiah gives of faith as to be exercised under the Christian dispensation : “ It shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God ! we have waited for him, and HE WILL SAVE US: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. For in this mountain (the Church) shall the hand of the Lord rest; and Moab (the representative of all the Church's enemies) shall be trodden down under him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill: and he shall spread forth his hands in the midst of them, as he that swimmeth spreadeth forth his hands to swim : (making the very resistance of his enemies the means of advancing his own glory :) and he shall bring down their pride together with the spoils of their hands: and the fortress of the high fort of thy walls (be they even as strong as those of Jericho,) shall he bring down, lay low, and bring to the ground, even to the dusta."]

b 2 Kings v. 12.

c Josh. vi. 20.

In addition to the properties of faith, our text leads us to notice, II. Its sure effects

If exercised to the end without wavering, it will surely issue in, 1. The believer's triumph

[Down fell the walls of Jericho at the appointed moment, and its garrison became an easy prey to the Jewish army. And what is there which the believer cannot effect under its influence ? “ If he have but faith as a grain of mustard-seed, he can remove the most deep-rooted mountains with a word, or plant a sycamore-tree in the depths of a tempestuous ocean.” Nothing can stand before it. Mountains of guilt, though so high as to reach unto the heavens, are cast by it into the very depths of the seae.” Lusts, though deeply rooted as hell, shall be plucked up, and the tender plants of divine grace have stability, and growth, and fruitfulness amidst all the storms and tempests, whether from without or from within, that can disturb and agitate the souls. Does Satan summon all his forces to withstand its power? He finds the believer inaccessible to his assaults”, and is put to flight before him': and in a little time “ he shall be bruised under the feet" of the least and weakest of God's peoplek. “All things are possible to him that believeth,” because his faith brings down Omnipotence to his aid ; so that, though earth and hell combine against him, he sets them at defiance, and is “ more than conqueror over all!" See this exemplified in the combat of David and Goliath. In the eye of sense, it was impossible for David to succeed:

d Isai. xxv. 9–12. The image of swimming is worthy of particular notice.

e Mic. vii. 19. f Rom. vi. 14 Ezek. Xxxvi. 25-27. & Heb. xii. 9. 1 Pet. v. 10. h Eph. vi. 16. 1 John v. 18. i Jam. iv. 7. k Rom. xvi. 20.

1 Rom. viii. 37.

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