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tred! And surely, the more ill savour and loathliness we can find in our bosom sins, the nearer we come to the purity of that Holy One of Israel, our Blessed Redeemer, whose style it is, Thou lo.est righteousness, and hatest wickedness ; Psalm xlv. 7. Oh, then, be we perfect, as our Father in Heaven is perfect. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purge your hearts, ye double minded. What shall we say then to the disposition of those men, that can find no savour in any thing but their sins ? No morsel goes down sweetly, merrily, with them but this. Woe is me! how do they cheer themselves, with the hope of enjoying their sinful pleasures! How do they recreate themselves, with the memory of their fore-passed filthiness! how do they glory in that licerrtious liberty, which they indulge unto themselves ! how do they, even when they are grown old and past beastly action, tickle themselves with the wanton remembrances of their younger bestialities! Yea, so hath the delight in sin most woefully besotted them, that they respect not friends, estate, children, health, body, soul; in comparison of the bewitching contentment they find in their sins. Oh poor miserable souls! Oh, the wretchedest of all creatures; not men, but beasts ! Let me not seem either unmannerly or uncharitable, to speak from the mouth of God's Spirit : you know the word Canis ad vomitum ; The Dog to his vomit; The swine to its mire. And, if they will needs be dogs, how can they look for any other, but dogs' entertainment? Foris Canes; without shall be dogs : Rev. xxii. 15. But for us, Dear Christians, let me take up that obtestation of the Psalmist, Oh, all ye, that love the Lord, hate the thing which is sin ; Psalm xcvii. 10. Let us hate even the garment spotted with the flesh; yea, let us hate ourselves, that we can hate our sins no more. And if, at any time, through the frailty of our wretched nature, and the violence of temptation, we be drawn into a sinful action; yet, let us take heed of being leavened with wickedness : Purge out the old leaven ; for Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us. (2.) Now, as sin is leaven in respect of the souring quality of it
, so also in respect of the Diffusive. It began with one angel, and infected legions. It began with one woman: it infected all the generation of mankind. Let it take hold of one faculty; it infecteth the whole soul and body. Let it seize upon one person a family; it corrupts the whole house. From thence it spreads over the neighbourhood; and taints whole towns, cities, regions : as it is with certain contagious diseases, that have not been bounded with mountains or seas. It is very pregnant, which St. Paul speaks of Hymeneus and Philetus, whose word, saith he, will eat as doth a canker, or a gangrene ; 2 Tim. ii. 17. Ye see how a gangrene, even from the least toe, soon strikes the heart: and the canker
, from a scarce sensible
beginning, consumes the gums, eats through the cheek, eats down the nose, and will admit of no limits, but deformity and death. Thus it is with sin,' whether intellectual or moral. Arianism began in a family; spread over the world. And Antinomianism began in one minister of this diocese, and how
much it is spread, I would rather lament, than speak. I doubt not but many of you who hear me this day have had lamentable
proofs of this truth : let there be but a drunkard or a swearer in a family, how soon hath this scabbed sheep tainted the whole flock. Grace, and godliness, is not so easily propagated : sin hath the advantage of the proclivity of our wicked nature; it hath the wind and tide both with it; goodness hath both against it : health doth not use to be taken from others; but sickness doth,
Since our wickedness is of so spreading a nature,
First, How careful should we be to prevent and resist the very first beginnings of sin! It is a thousand times more easy, to keep the flood-gates shut; than to drain the lower grounds, when they are once overflown.
Secondly, How shy and weary should we be, of joining so, cieties with the infectious; whether in opinion, or in manners ! A man, that is a heretic, reject ; saith St. Paul, Titus iii. 10. If any man, that is called a brother, be a fornicator, or covetous, or a railer, or an idolater, or a drunkard, with such a one eal not; i Cor. v. 11. Withdraw yourselves from the tents of these men, &c. Into their secret, &c.
Thirdly, How much doth it concern all publio persons, whether ecclesiastical or civil, to improve their authority to the utmost, for the timely preventing of the spreading of vice; and for the severe censure and expurgation of those, whom the Psalmist, as the original word signifies, calls leavened persons ; Psalm lxxi. 4! The palpable neglect whereof hath been a shameful eye-sore to the conscientious beholders ; a foul blemish to the Gospel; and a just scandal upon the Church. And, though another man's sin cannot infect me, unless I do partake with him in it; yet a true Lot will vex his righteous soul, with the unclean conversation of the So, domites : and even others' sins may help to draw down judgments upon the community, wherein they live. Good reason, that all çare should be taken for purging out the old leaven; that so, the old leaven being purged out, the whole lump may
So much of the first point, that Sin is Leaven,
2. The second follows, that THIS LEAVEN MUST BE PURGED OUT, if we would have any interest in Christ, our passover, which is sacrificed for us :
The Inference, you see, doth necessarily imply so much. In vain should any jew talk of keeping a passover to God, if he would eat the lamb with leavened bread. In vain should any Christian talk of applying Christ to his soul, while his heart wilJingly retains the leaven of any known sin.
Certainly, this is a common and a dangerous cozenage, whereby millions of souls cheat themselves into hell. They fondly think they may hold fair quarter with Christ, and yet give secret entertainment to their sins. Demas thinks he
may embrace the present world; and yet need not leave his hold of Christ. Ananias and Sapphira wiil closely harbour a hypocritical sacrilege; and yet will be as good professors as the best. A Simon Magus will be a
baptized Christian ; yet a sorcerer still. And many a one still thinks he may drink, and swear, and debauch, and profane God's ordinances, and rob God's house, and resist lawful authority, and lie and plunder, or slander his neighbour; and yet hold good terms with a forward profession. Yea, there are those that will be countenancing their sins with their Christianity; as if they were privileged to sin, because they are in Christ: than which, there can. not be a more injurious and blasphemous fancy. Certainly, their sins are so much more abominable to God and men, by how much more interest they challenge in a Christian profession: yea, if but a bare entertainment of a known sin, it is enough to bar them out from any plea in Christ.
Vain fools! how grossly do these men delude their own souls, while they imagine they can please God with a leavened passover! This is the way to make them and their sacrifices abominable to the Almighty. It is to them, that God speaks, as in thunder and fire, What doest thou, taking my covenant into thy mouth ? seeing thou hatest to be reformed, and hast cast my words behind thee? Psalm 1. 16, 17. To them it is, that he speaks by his prophet Isaiah, Ixvi. 3 : He, that killeth an ox, is as if he slew a man; he, that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's-neck.
Shortly, then, my Brethren, since we are now addressing our selves to this Evangelical Passover; if ever we think to partake of this heavenly feast with true comfort to our souls, let us see that we have clearly abandoned all the sour leaven of our sins : let us come with clear and untainted souls to this blessed feast; and say and do with holy David, I will wash my hands in innocency, Lord, and so will I go to thine altar ; Psalm xxvi. 6.
Thus long we have necessarily dwelt upon the Inference, and Contexture of this Scripture.
II. We now come to scan this divine PROPOSITION, as it stands alone in itself. Wherein our meditation hath four heads to pass through : 1. That CHRIST IS A PASSOVER; 2. Our Passover; 3. Our Passover SACRIFICED; 4. Sacrificed FOR US.
1. To begin with the first. The word narxa, which we find, is derived, not from the Greek már Xelv, which signifies “to suffer;" as some of the Latin Fathers, out of their ignorance of language, have conceived: but from the Hebrew HDD, which signifies “a transition;" well turned by our language into Pass-over. For here was a double passover to be celebrated : 1. The angel's passing over the houses of the Israelites, when he smote all the firstborn of Egypt; and 2. Israel's passing out of Egypt.
The word admits of many senses. Sometimes, it is taken for the time of this solemnity ; Acts xii. 4 : sometimes, for the sacrifices ofered in this solemnity; Deut. xvi. 4: sometimes, for the representation of the act of God's transition ; Exod. xii. 11: sometimes, for the lamb, that was then to be offered and eaten ; 2 Chron. xxxv. 11; They killed the passover ; and the priests sprinkled the blood from their hands. Thus is it taken in this place, when it is said Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us.
So as here is a trope or figure twice told : (1,) the lamb is the passover : (2.) Christ is that paschal lamb.
(1.) You would think this now far-fetched. Here was a double passing-over. The angel's passing over the Israelites; the Israel, ites' passing-out of Egypt: both were acts; the one of God, the other of nien. As for the Lamb, it is an animal substance: yet this Lamb represents this Passover. This is no news, in sacramental speeches. The thing signed is usually put for the sign itself: My covenant shall be in your flesh ; Genesis xvii. 13. that is, Circumcision, the sign of my covenant: The rock, that followed them, was Christ; 1 Cor. x. 4. that is, Christ was represented by that rock : This cup is the New Testament. So here, Christ our Passover; that is, Christ represented by the Paschal-Lamb. What an infatuation is upon the Romish party, that, rather than they will admit of any other than a gross, literal, capernaitical sense in the words of our Saviour's sacramental supper, This is my body, will confound heaven and earth together : and, either by a too forceable consequence, endeavour to overthrow the truth of Christ's humanity; or turn him into a monster, a wafer, a crumb, a nothing: whereas St. Austin hath told us plainly, Sacramentaliter intellectum vivificabit ! Take it in a sacramental sense, there is infinite comfort, and spiritual life in it. As for his body, St. Peter hath told us the heavens must contain him, till the time of the restitution of all things; Acts iii. 21. Yea, when our Saviour himself hath told us, The words that I speak are spirit and life ; John vi. 63. Now what a marvellous mercy was this, of God to Israel, thus to pass over them, when he slew the firstborn of Egypt! There was not a house in all Egypt, wherein there was not mourning and lamentation: no roof but covered a suddenly-made carcase. What an unlovked for consternation was here, in every Egyptian family! Only the Israelites, that dwelt amongst them, were free to applaud this judgment, that was inflicted upon their tyrannous persecutors; and, for their very cause, inflicted. For this mercy are they beholden, under God, to the blood of their Paschal-Lamb, sprinkled upon their door-posts. Surely, had they eaten the lamb, and not sprinkled the blood, they had not escaped the stroke of the desiroying angel. This was in figure. In reality it is so. It is by and from the blood of our Redeemer sprinkled upon our souls, that we are freed from the vengeance of the Almighty. Had not he died for us, were not the benefit of his precious blood applied to us; we should lie open to all the fearful judgments of God, and, as to the upshot of all, eternal death of body and soul. As, then, the Israelites were never to eat the Paschal-Lamb, but they were recalled to the memory of that saving preterition of the angel, and God's merciful deliverance from the fiery furnaces of the Ègyptians; so neither may we ever behold this sacramental representation of the death of our Blessed Saviour, but we should bethink ourselves of the infinite mercy of our good God, in saving us from everlasting death, and rescuing us from the power of hell.
This is the first figure; That the Lamb is the Passover.
Christ then, being the end of the Law, it is no marvel, if all the ceremonies of the Law served to prefigure and set him forth to God's people: but none did so clearly and fully resemble him, as this of the Paschal-Lamb: whether we regard, First, the choice; Secondly, the preparation; Thirdly, the eating of it.
First: the Choice, whether in respect of the nature, or the quality of it.
[1.] The Nature. Ye know this creature is noted for innocent, meek, gentle, profitable : such was Christ, our Saviour. His fore runner pointed at him under this style; Behold the Lamb of God. What perfect innocence was here ! No guile found in his mouth! Hell itself could find nothing to quarrel at, in so absolute integrity. What admirable meekness! He is brought as a Lamb to the slaughter; and, as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, se opened he not his mouth ; Isaiah lui. 7. Doth his own treacherous servant be. tray him to the death? Friend, wherefore art thou come ? Matthew xxvi. 50. Do the cruel tormentors tenter out his precious limbs, and nail his hands and feet to the tree of shame and curse? Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Oh patience and meekness, incident into none, but an infinite sufferer!
[2.] The Quality. Every lamb would not serve the turn : it must be agnus immaculatus, a lamb without blemish, that must be paschal; Exodus xii, 5. Neither doth it hinder ought, that leave is there given to a promiscuous use, either of lamb or kid, for the sacramental supper of the passover: for that was anly allowed in a case of necessity; as Theodoret rightly; and as learned Judius well, in the confusion of that first institution: wherein, certainly, a lamb could not be gotten on the sudden, by every Israelitish housekeeper, to serve six hundred thousand men: and so many there were ; Exod. xij. 37.
This liberty, then, was only for the first turn, as divers other of those ceremonious circumstances of the passover were; namely, the four days' preparation, the sprinkling of the blood upon the door-cheeks, eating with girded loins, and staves in their hands; which were not afterward required or practised,
The Lamb, then, must represent, a most holy and perfectly sinless Saviour. Could he have been capable of the least sin, even in thought, he had been so far from ransoming the world, that he could not have saved himself. Now his exquisite holiness is such, as that, by the perfection of his merits, he can and doth present his whole Church to himself glorious, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; as holy and without blemish; Eph. v. 27,
Canst thou, therefore, accuse thyself for a sinful wretch, a soul blemished with many foul imperfections ? Look up, man : lo, thoy hast a Saviour, that hath holiness enough for himself, and thee, and all the world of believers : close with him, and thou art holy and happy; Behold the immaculate Lamb of God, that takes away the