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ns. Why did he love us? Because he saw us already in Christ, whom he purposed to send. Why did he behold us in Christ and not in our sins? Because otherwise he must have destroyed us. And why did he not destroy us? Because he did not will it. We now stand at the boundary of all human knowledge and comprehension. This love which made him resolve to give his Son for us, had its origin in himself; and was like the tones of an Eolian harp, which, without being touched by human hand, gives forth sweet melody. But no! this is not a just comparison; there is always a cause for the music of this harp, though it should only be the faintest breath of air playing among its strings. The love of God, on the contrary, was like nothing in this world; for every thing here below has its origin in something, while this kindled of its own accord, and, if I may so speak, was caused by itself. This love we now behold surmounting all those impediments which our sins opposed to its progress-illuminating Bethlehem's night with its sunny splendour-rendering the whole earth bright with its rays, and transforming the death and darkness in which the world has been plunged into happiness and light. This love resembles a mysterious sea,— an unfathomable ocean; you may throw the lead, but here no bottom is to be found. Use telescope after telescope, and still you search for coast and shore in vain; and I think that the view of Adam's paradise or the heaven which was opened before Stephen, could scarcely be so enrapturing as a glance into this depth of compassion,-into the love of Jehovah's heart;
and I think that to bask in the rays of this love would he far better than to lie in the pool of Bethesda, où to dwell in the tabernacles of Tabor.
"Thou, Bethlehem Ephratah," cries Micah, "out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel!" "To me" shall he come forth, says the prophet; and this "me" is not merely uttered by Jehovah, in whose name Micah prophesies, but it is an ex pression from the very heart of the prophet. Micah thus appears to us in the act of raising up a standard of rebellion; he resolves no longer to serve his hereditary lords-Satan, the world, and the flesh; he renounces his allegiance to them, and awaits another Prince, under whose government he will be ruled. It is to his banners he summons you to-day, my brethren! Shake from off your necks the yoke of slavery! Tear your souls away from the grasp of the enemy! Set yourselves in open warfare against Satan, whose chains you now wear; against the world that holds you captive; against sin, that murderous serpent; and against the spirit of this backsliding, antichristian age; and bow the knee to him who comes to you in the name of the Lord of Sabaoth. Bethink yourselves, however, that it is a whole and perfect sacrifice which you must offer up to this Prince; there must be no reservation, or you are unfit to enter his kingdom. Here there is only one question,-"Lord, what dost thou require? Is it my heart? it is here. My body? it is consecrated to Thee. My gold and silver? use it according to thy good pleasure. My temporal happiness? I sacrifice it, if it is thy will. My darling
plans? I offer them upon thy altar!" If ye can utter from your hearts language such as this, then the gates of heaven shall be open unto you. Jesus himself inspires us with them ;—he himself loosens our tongues. An angel now accosts us on the path with the Christmas salutation, "Behold! I bring you good tidings of great joy!" And we ourselves can rejoice with Micah, and say, "O Bethlehem Ephratah, out of thee
shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting, who shall be Israel's Lord, Israel's Saviour, and Israel's messenger of peace!" Amen.
THE BLOOD OF SPRINKLING.
EXODUS XII, 13.
And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
IF the choice I have made of to-day's text surprise you, my brethren, I must either believe that you are unaware of the symbolical depth and significancy of the history from which it is selected; or else that you are not acquainted with the aim and object of the Lord's supper, to which it ultimately refers. If that rule of the ancient fathers is to be applied anywhere, "that one should read the Old Testament as though it were written throughout with the blood of Christ;" especially is it applicable to the deliverance of the children of Israel out of Egypt. The opinion of Luther is, that "there is no passage in the whole Bible which may not be compared to a fruit-tree, from which, if one know how to shake it, abundance of refreshing and enlivening fruit will fall down," and this is particularly applicable, where the Scriptures relate how the chosen people cast off the yoke of Pharaoh. Here, all has a deep, symbolical, and mysterious signification, which only finds its explanation in the miracles
on Mount Golgotha, and at the cross of Christ. The meditations of to-day will, I trust, convince us of this, if, guided by our text, we contemplate the efficacy of the blood of Christ; and for this purpose let us direct our attention to the houses sprinkled with blood, and to the great passover.
I. The words of our text transport us to the dwellings of the children of Israel in Egypt. Regarding them merely as houses, there is little to be seen; but they have an allegorical significancy, and refer to things the most important and interesting. We ourselves are dwelling-places, and the Scriptures frequently make use of this comparison with regard to us. "Whose house are we," are the words of the Apostle Paul. In another place we are called living temples; and elsewhere we are compared to a city, or a number of habitations, in which there are various denizens. Who does not remember the beautiful allegory of Solomon, in the twelfth chapter of Ecclesiastes, where he compares man to a house, and speaks of the keepers of the house, which are the hands and arms; the grinders, which are the teeth; the windows, which are the eyes; the doors opening to the streets, which are the lips; and so on, following out the comparison. The Scriptures describe those who are regenerated as the abode of God and of his Spirit; while in the others Satan has his portion, for they are dwelling-places of sin, the world, and the flesh. In the unconverted world, as in a city, there are many different species of houses, some having a joyful and a happy exterior, but within nothing but misery and