Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

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 men. 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 unlooked 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 destroying angel. This was in figure. În 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 Egyptians ; so neither may we ever behold this sacramental representation of the death of our Blessed Saviour, but we should be think 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.
(2.) The Second follows, That Christ is that Paschal-Lamb.

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 forerunner 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 inte. grity. 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 betray 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 only allowed in a case of necessity; as Theodoret rightly; and as learned Junius, 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. xii. 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, thou 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

sins of the world ; thine therefore, if thou canst lay hold on him by a lively faith, and make him thine.

This for the choice.

Secondly, the Preparation follows : so Christ is the Paschal Lamb, in a threefold respect : in resemblance of his killing, sprinkling his blood, and roasting.

[1.] This lamb, to make a true passover, must be Slain : so was there a necessity, that our Jesus should die for us. The two disciples, in their walk to Emmaus, hear this, not without a round reproof from the mouth of their risen Saviour; O pools, and slow of heart to believe all ihat the prophets hare spoken, ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? Luke xxiv. 25, 26. Ought not ? there is necessity : the doom was in Paradise, upon man's disobedience: morte morieris; thou shalt die the deaih. Man sinned; man must die. The First Adam sinned; and we, in him: the Second Adam must by death expiate the sin. Had not Christ died, mankind must : had not he died the first death, we had all died both the first and second : Without shedding of blood there is no remission ; Heb. ix. 22. Hereby, therefore, are we freed from the sense of the second death, and the sting of the first, to the unfailing comfort of our souls. Hereupon it is, that our Saviour is so careful, to have his death and passion so fully represented to us in both his sacraments: the water is his blood, in the first sacrament; the wine is his blood, in the second. In this, he is sensibly crucified before our eyes: the bread, that is his body broken; the wine, his blood poured out. And, if these acts and objects do not carry our hearts to a lively apprehension of Christ our True Passover, we shall offer to him no other than the sacrifice of fools. Lo here then, a sovereign antidote against the first death, and a preservative -.gainst the second, The Lamb slain from the beginning of the world. Why should we be discomforted, with the expectation of that death, which Christ hath sufiered? Why should we be dismayed, with the fear of that death, which our allsufficient Redeemer hath fully expiated ?

(2.) In the first institution of this passover, the blood of the lamb was to be Sprinkled upon the posts and lintels of the doors of every Israelite: so, if ever we look for any benefit from Christ our Passover, there must be a particular application of his blood to the believing soul. Even very Papists can say, that, unless our merits or holy actions be dyed or tinctured in the blood of Christ, they can avail us nothing : but this consideration will meet with us more seasonably upon the fourth head.

[3.] This passover must be Roasted home; not stewed, not parboiled. So did the true Paschal-Lamb undergo the names of his Father's wrath, for our sins. Here was not a scorching and blister, ing, but a vehement and full torrefaction. It was an ardent heat, that could fetch drops of blood from him in the garden; but it was the hottest of flames, that he felt upon the Cross, when he cried out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Oh, who cair, without horror and amazement, hear so woefula word

VOL. V

NN

1

1

fall from the mouth of the Son of God? Had he not said, My Father, this strain kad sunk us into utter despair: but now, in this very torment is comfort. He knew he could not be forsaken of him, of whom he saith, I and my Father are one : he could not be forsaken, by a sublation of union; though he seemed so, by a subtraction of vision; as Leo well. The sense of comfort nas clouded, for a while, from bis Humanity: his Deity was ever glo. rious; his faith firm; and supplied that strong consolation, which his present sense failed of; and, therefore, you soon hear him, in a full concurrence of all heaveuly and victorious powers of a confident Saviour say, Father, into thy hands 1 commend my spirit. In the mean while, even in the height of this suffering, there is our ease : for, certainly, the more the Son of God endured for us, the more sure we are of a happy acquittance from the Tribunal of Heaven: the justice of God never punished the same sin twice over. By his stripes, we are healed : by his payment, we are discharged: by his torments, we

his torments, we are assured of peace and glory.

Thus much of the preparation.

Thirdly, the Eating of it follows in the appendances, the manner, the persons.

[1.] The Appendances. It must be eaten with unleavened bread, and with sour or bitter herbs. Of the unleavened bread we have spoken enough before. For the herbs, that nothing might be wanting, the same God, that appointed meat, appointed the sauce too; and that was a salad of, not pleasing, but bitter herbs : herein providing, not so much for the palate of the body, as of the soul; to teach us, that we may not hope to partake of Christ without sensible disrelishes of nature, without outward afflictions, without a true contrition of spirit. It is the ondition, that our Saviour makes with us, in admitting us to the profession of Christianity : He shall receive a hundreď fold, with persecutions; thuse

, to boot; that, for His sake and the Gospel's, forsakes all; Mark X. 30. Sit down therefore, O man, and count what it will cost thee to be a true Christian: through many tribulations, &c. Neither can we receive this evangelical passover, without a true contrition of soul for our sins past. Think not, my Beloved, that there is nothing but jollity to be looked for at God's table.' Ye may frolic it, ye that feast with the world; but, if ye will sit with Christ and feed on him, ye must eat him with bitier herbs. Here must be a sound compunction of heart, after a due self-examination, for all our sins, wierewith we have offended our good God. Thou wouldest be eating the Paschal-Lamb; but with sugar-sops, or some pleasing sauce: it may not be so; here must be a bitterness of soul, or no passover.

is true, that there is a kind of holy mixture of affections in all our holy services ; a gaunúningov. Re joice in him, with trembling; saith the Psalmist. It is and should be our joy, that we have this Lamb of God to be ours; but it is our just sorrow, to find our own wretched unworthiness of so great a mercy. Codly sorrow must make way for solid joy and com

fort. If there be any of you therefore, that harbours in your breast a secret love of and complacency in your known and resolved sins, Procul, 0 procul : let him keep off from this Holy Table : let him bewail his sinful mis-disposition; and not dare to put forth his hand to this passover, till he have gathered the bitter herbs of a sorrowfui remorse for his hated ottences. And, where should he gather these, but in the low grounds of the Law? There they grow plenteously : lay the Law then home to thy soul: that, shall show thee thy sins; and thy judgment school thee. Yea, Dear Christians, how can any of us see the body of our Blessed Saviour broken, and his blood poured out; and, withal, think and know that his own sins are guilty of this tort offered to the Son of God, the Lord of Life; and not feel his heart touched with a sad and passionate apprehension of his own vileness, and an indignation at his own wickedness that hath deserved and done this? These are the bitter herbs, wherewith if we shall eat this passover, we shall find it most wholesome, and nourishable unto us to eternal lite.

[2.] The Manner of the Eating of it follows, in three particulars.

Ist. The whole lamb must be eaten; not a part of it. 2dly. Not a bone of it must be broken. 3dly. In one house, at once; nothing to be reserved, or car

ried out.

For the first; you find it not so in any other cookery or provision of this kind. Many a lamb did the Jews eat in all the year besides : these were halved and quartered, as occasion served; but, for the Paschal-Lamb, it must be set on all whole : the very entrails must be washed, and put into the roast, and brought to the board in an entire dish. Whosoever would partake of Christ aright, niust take whole Christ; not think to go away with a limb, and leave the rest : that he should dividere mendacio Christuin; as that Father speaks. As, in God's demands of us, he will have all or none; so, in his grant to us, he will give all or none. He would not have so much as his coat divided: much less will he abide himseif shall. There have been heretics, and I would there were not so still, that will be sharing and quartering of Christ : one, will aliow of his Humanity; not his Eternal Deity : another, will allow his human body; but not his soul; that must be supplied by the Deity: another, will allow a divine soul, with a fantastic body: one will a:low Christ to be a Prophet, or a Priest ; but will not admit of him as a King. In vain do all these wretched mis-believers pretend to partake of Christ the Passover, while they do thus set him on by piecemeal. They are their own monstrous fancies, which they do thus set before themselves; not the true PaschalLamb: whom we do most sacrilegiously violate instead of receiving, if our faith do not represent him to us wholly God and Man; soul and body; King, Priest, and Prophet : here, he is so exhibited to us; and, if we do thus believe in him and thus apply him to our souls, we do truly receive him, and with him eternal salvation.

« ZurückWeiter »