Page images
PDF
EPUB

The Almighty, however, before He delivered Israel finally, was pleased to prefigure, in a more especial manner, the root and foundation of that spiritual deliverance which his dealings with them shadowed out. The lamb slain at even by every Israelitish family, whose blood was sprinkled upon the door-posts, was but a figure of the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus. Through Him alone it is that a difference is put between Israel and Egypt; that the destroying angel spares the one, whilst he smites the other. “ He was wounded for our transgressions ":" and when we have taken Him, and are trusting in Him to be a Saviour to us, and have applied his blood to our souls by faith, as Israel dipped a branch of hyssop in the blood of the lamb, and so applied it to the doors of their houses; then, because God is ever well-pleased in his Son, vengeance passes over us when it awakens to slay God's enemies, and the Lord comes forth with his mighty hand and stretched-out arm to deliver us out of the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of his children, and we set forward on our road to the heavenly Canaan.

So soon as the passover has been eaten by Israel, and the first-born of the Egyptians are smitten, the people begin their journey; and, even as the worst of men will sometimes be helpful to God's people under some fit of terror, so Israel's enemies are glad at this awful juncture to lend their jewels of silver and jewels of gold; and “they spoiled the Egyptians.

But conviction is not conversion: people do some things well, as Herod did, when their hearts are not changed. Pharaoh and his subjects soon recover from their panic: and then, inasmuch as they have not learned to fear the Lord religiously, nor in any sense to love Him, they prepare, by a final effort, at least to avenge themselves on his servants. Thus the grand enemy of our salvation is never to be pacified: but our Almighty Guardian, also, never sleeps. By his Word and Providence He is a shining light to all his people, to guide them on their way; but He is a cloud

11 Isa. liii. 5.

a

12 "

of darkness to opposers, to defeat their enterprises. And at last the event shall be as it was to Israel and to Egypt. “By faith” Israel “passed through the Red sea as by dry land "2.” Though they murmured and desponded at first when they saw their danger, God mercifully consoled them and renewed their strength, so that they trusted in his promise by Moses: and then He made a way for them to escape; and the mighty waters were a wall unto them on their right hand and on their left; but the Egyptians, assaying to follow them, (not in faith, for they had no promise, but in mad presumption and wicked enmity,) were drowned every one of them. And so shall all thine enemies perish, O Lord! It signifies not how numerous or how powerful they may be. “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished';" and, above all, swift destruction shall be the doom of scoffers and persecutors. So long as God chooses to show his power in them and to prove his children by them, so long his enemies may rage with seeming impunity; or if they be wounded, they shall not yet be slain; but when these ends are answered, He shall cut them off by an exemplary and final vengeance. .

“Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth shall descend into it?.” But the seed of the righteous shall be delivered. They that will believe shall see the glory of God. If they will confide in his promises through Christ, and follow Him out of the world, as Israel followed Moses, they are passed from death unto life; their spiritual enemies, even to the traitor in their own bosom, have received their death-wound. And then shall they know, if they follow on to know the Lord : He shall come unto them as the rain, as the latter and former rain, unto the earth'. They have a season indeed to abide in the wilderness; they must be proved further, and grow in grace after their first entrance upon their Christian 12 Heb. xi. 29.

1 Prov. xi. 21. 14.

3 See Hos. vi. 3.

2

Isa. v.

sea.

a

course : but God will feed them continually, and satisfy their soul in drought; they shall remember his out-stretched arm in his first deliverance of them from the dominion of their lusts; they shall fear the Lord and believe the Lord and his servant Christ, and He shall instate them at last in the promised land.

These latter particulars, however, are shadowed out by Israel's pilgrimage after passing through the

Therefore I shall not insist now upon the doctrine of progressive sanctification, or consider the conflicts and supports of the Christian after conversion : at present let me apply what has been discoursed already.

First, then, this wonderful history, taking it as a typical illustration of God's dealings with his Church, may be applied to the case of merely nominal Christians.

Ye, brethren, (for too many of you, I fear, come worthily under such a denomination,) ye are precisely in the same condition in which Israel stood before they had any serious thought of following Moses out of Egypt. Israelites in profession, indeed, they were, and they had heard of the promised inheritance; and ye are called disciples of Christ, and have heard of heaven: but they were slaves to Pharaoh; and so are ye to sin. And had they stayed in Egypt, they would have been slaves for ever; and so will ye be outcasts from Christ's true flock, aliens from his promises, except ye repent and be converted, and overcome the world by faith; except, despising the difficulties of religion, and the tongues of evil men, and the opposition of scoffers, and the love of ease, and the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, ye come out from among the ungodly, and be separate, and leave their ways for Christ. If ye will not do so, in despite of your profession of the Gospel, your destruction will be as certain as that of the vilest of the heathen; and, in consequence of that profession, it will be far more aggravated in eternity.

Arise, then, and flee for your lives. The marvellous deliverance of Israel, the difference put betwixt them

who kept the passover and them who kept it not, Israel's triumph over so many obstacles, notwithstanding their own infirmity and partial unbelief, and their salvation by a method so unexpected, are recorded, to teach you that whosoever relies on God, coming to Him by Christ, is safe under the shadow of his wings. “He will bring the blind by a way that they know not; He will lead them by paths that they have not known; He will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will He do unto them, and not forsake them *.” Only learn and use the simple means of his own appointment, expecting blessing in them because they are his, and it shall be well with you. “Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God 5.”

Are there, however, any here who, not content with neglecting Christ's great salvation, will be direct opposers of his Gospel, and enemies to his faithful people? However strange it may seem, and should seem, it is nevertheless the fact, that such are to be found sometimes even among the attendants upon public Christian worship. To persecute, indeed, in the worst sense of the word, is beyond your power. But ye will scoff and mock at genuine and zealous piety, and so tempt and trouble as many as ye can.

If so, I say, in the doom of Pharaoh and his followers, ye have a type of the certain perdition of all such as you, except grace be given you to repent in time: for though it be most true that to scoff at pious men is not to do them the same injury as it would be to persecute them after some other manner; yet they that do this are prompted by malice, and wickedness, and enmity to God and holiness, the very same in kind, if not in degree, with that which prompted the Jewish rulers to crucify the Lord of glory. Or if ye say, “We do not take part with God's enemies in mocking at religion, we only detest hypocrisy and enthusiastic perversions * See Isa. xlii, 16,

5 Ibid. 1, 10,

[ocr errors]

8

[ocr errors]

of religion;" I reply, with respect to hypocrisy, ye have nothing to do to judge another man's servant, and ye cannot see his heart; and with respect to enthusiasm, what careless people so call, is very commonly the truth of God; and it does not lessen but increase their guilt that they fasten a false charge upon good men, and give the truth itself an ill name first, that they may more plausibly revile both afterwards.

Remember, then, that not one of all Pharaoh's host escaped : or, if one such example is not enough, you may see in Scripture a thousand more.

As God protected Ebedmelech, who succoured his prophet Jeremiah in distress, and made Pashur a terror to himself for smiting him?; so Christ has laid it down for an universal rule, “Whosoever shall give you a cup of

“ water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily, I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea 8.” Stand in awe then, and sin not. Never presume to revile any man for his profession or opinions in religion, before you be sure that you know what the truth is yourselves; much less scoff at that which, as your own cooler judgment suspects, may possibly be right. If ye will not enter in at the strait gate yourselves, at least see that ye do not hinder others : for though ye may say, “We are in sport,” ye are scattering firebrands and death; and those firebrands will fall back upon your own heads, when you and the objects of your mockery shall stand before the same tribunal at the day of doom.

Let me also address a few words to all practical and true believers. “Israel saw that great work,” it is said, “which the Lord did; and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.' Ye have seen God's wonders; have tasted that the Lord is gracious; have been delivered from spiritual bondage, by the renewal of the spirit of your minds and through 6 Jer. xxxix. 15. 18. ' Jer. xx. 2. 4,

[ocr errors]

8 Mark ix. 41,

42.

« PreviousContinue »