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discontent; others having splendid shields and arms emblazoned without, while we find nothing within but low occupations, and foolish if not vicious pursuits taking up the minds of their inhabitants. They are tombs of moral decay, abodes of corruption, and dwelling-places of sin and of death. The Israelitish house, to which our text refers, stands in the utmost danger, for the Lord is about to send his destroying angel to slay the first-born of man and beast. Yet what is this danger, compared with that which threatens us in our natural condition? Do you know the abyss into which Cain fell? or the depths which swallowed up Saul? or the dark thunder-cloud which gathered over the head of Judas? In them you may have some idea of the danger which lurks at your threshold. An adversary is hastening after you, who can destroy, not merely your body, but your soul, in the lowest pit of hell. A death awaits you, such as will remove you, not only from this beautiful earth, but from the presence of God! A judgment is impending over you, such as will cause you not only to weep tears of despair here, but through all eternity. If you pause a moment, you hear the voice from Ebal, thundering forth the words "Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book!" Contemplate the rich man in flames and torment, and listen to the frightful sentence of condemnation, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
Pause a moment at these words and at this picture; for, as surely as the Lord liveth, you behold here the abyss open before you, which, if a Saviour had not
interposed, must infallibly have engulfed you. The Israelitish dwellings, before which we stand in spirit to-day, are certainly severely threatened, but yet by no means lost without remedy. They can and will escape the judgment which hangs over them; and praise be to God that the same means of escape lie open to us; for while we hear the menance, we hear at the same time the blessed question-" Why will ye die, O house of Israel?" Although we are all deserving of death, yet no one need die who wills to save himself; the city of refuge is open to all who choose to flee thither; and what sinner can affirm that he is not included, when he hears the voice calling out— "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest?" The means which were appointed to save the Israelites are now at our disposal, and life or death depends on ourselves, whether we accept or refuse them. There are not many paths to heaven, although many have been described; not many ways of propitiating the favour of God; and not many doors to our Father's house. Salvation is only to be found in one Person; there is only one name given among men whereby they might be saved, and only one entrance into the ark, for one only is ne cessary. Mary chose the good, not the better part; for only one is good!
By what means, then, were the houses in Egypt saved by blood? "Blood," said the Lord, "shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are; and when I see the blood I will pass over you." Most wonderful! And what then preserves us from his an
ger? It is blood also, and blood only; not the blood of the same Lamb which was made use of then, but the blood of the Lamb of God,—the blood of our great pledge and sacrifice. Search the Scriptures; examine the grounds on which rest the salvation and the happiness of the elect; you will find one thing only, and that is blood. Are they delivered? It is by the blood of the Son of God. Are they free? It is, as Zechariah says, "By the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water." Are they redeemed? Then it is not, as Peter testifies, "with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." Are they cleansed from sin? John assures us "that the blood of Jesus Christ his Son, cleanseth us from all sin." Are their robes washed? In the Apocalypse it is said, “ And have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Are they justified? In the epistle to the Romans, they will find that they are "justified by his blood." And Paul assures us in his epistle to the Ephesians, that "ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." Are the elect privileged to enter joyfully into the holy of holies? They are so by the blood of Christ. Do they overcome all things? They overcome by the blood of the Lamb. Do they live? They have life through His blood. Thus all the goodness, grace, and compassion of God is ascribed in his word, to the blood of Christ-the only spring whence it all proceeds. And if a man is lost for ever, and condemned to eternal punishment,
the Scriptures know no other cause for it than this— that he has despised the blood of the Son of God, contemned it, and trampled it under foot.
The blood of the Lamb was the only means appointed to the Israelites by God, whereby they might escape the severe affliction which was about to visit the land of Egypt. Yet, although the means were presented to them, their safety was by no means thereby secured : they must make use of it themselves, and that according to the method appointed by Jehovah. What class of persons, think you, my brethren, would make use of those means? Certainly not those who thought in their folly, "We run no danger from the destroying angel." Nor yet those unbelieving ones who said in their hearts, "What efficacy can there be in the blood of a lamb? and how shall this feeble remedy save us?" Such as these would not sprinkle the blood on the doorposts of their houses, and thus neglect the only thing in the whole world which could avail to save them. With justice, therefore, they would be struck by the plague. The others, on the contrary, who knew how to submit their natural reason to the commands of God, and who, fearing the impending judgment, and believing in the saving efficacy of the blood of the Lamb, implicitly followed the commands of God, remained secure, and were saved, in the midst of destruction. We are saved in a similar manner, by the blood of Christ; for it surely and infallibly can deliver those for whom it was shed; but yet those purchased ones must make use of this blood of sprinkling, and appropriate it to themselves. Like Israel, however, we can
not grasp at those means of safety, until we perceive the destruction which surrounds us, the danger which threatens us, and the curse which rests upon us. This, however, is not all: we must have a lively faith in the efficacy of Christ's blood, and believe that, by his death, the dying Lamb washed away all our gigantic guilt in short, be able, with heart-felt conviction, to say, "For me Christ fulfilled the law, and in my place he stood at the bar of judgment."
Do you experience those feelings? Is your soul fired with an earnest desire to partake in the benefits of Christ's precious blood? Are you ready to give up all for the certainty, that his blood was shed for you? If so, the allegory is now realized in you, of the moment when the believing Israelites hastened with their vessels to catch the blood of their deliverance. My brethren, now is the time ;-rest firmly on the atoning sacrifice of the great Mediator; grasp it with sure confidence, as the only and certain ground of your hope; bear it as such constantly in your soul; and whatever blessings you may expect, expect them only for the sake of the blood which drops from the Cross. And what more will you require to do? The only thing which was necessary, you have done. The door-posts of your houses are sprinkled; and henceforward, you may sit in confidence and security under your own vine and fig-tree.
II." And when I see the blood," saith the Lord, “I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt." Listen to this glorious promise! Listen, and rejoice! Yes,