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namely, to keep up in the minds of that people, to their latest posterity, the remembrance of the typical deliverance and with the same object in view, I would now call your attention to the Resurrection of our blessed Lord. Beloved Brethren, it is a subject of supreme importance: and to every one of
I would say,
I. Treasure it
mindsGood reason was there why the Jews should remember their deliverance from Egypt
[Most grievous was their bondage thereb: and most wonderful were God's interpositions for them
Never, from the beginning of the world, had God exerted himself in behalf of any people as he did for themd. There was good reason, therefore, why so singular a mercy should be had in everlasting remembrance.]
But far greater reason is there why we should bear in mind the resurrection of our blessed Lord
[Far more grievous was our bondage to sin and Satan, death and hell – And infinitely more wonderful were the means used for our deliverance e. - Yea, and infinitely more blessed the issue of it'--. Shall we, then, ever forget this? Would not the “ very stones cry out against us?” -]
Yet, dwell not on it as a mere fact; but, II. Improve it in your lives
The Jews, in remembrance of their redemption, were to kill the passover, and to keep the feast of unleavened bread ---- And, if we would answer God's end in our deliverance, we must improve it,
1. By a renewed application to that sacrifice by which the deliverance was obtained
[It was by sprinkling the blood of the paschal lamb on the door-posts and lintels of their houses that the Jews obtained deliverance from the sword of the destroying angel h And to the blood of Christ, who is “the true paschal sacrifice,"
b Exod. iii. 7.
Not mere temporal benefits in Canaan, but everlasting happiness in heaven. 6 ver. 1-3.
h Deut. xii. 21-24.
must we apply, “sprinkling it on our hearts and consciences,” and expecting from it the most perfect deliverancek To those who use these means, there is no danger! those who neglect to use them, there is no escape m -]
2. By more diligent endeavours after universal holiness
[What the meaning of the unleavened feast was, we are told by the Apostle Paul, who urges us to carry into effect what that typified: “ Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth"." In vain we keep the passover, if we do not also keep the feast of unleavened bread: they are absolutely inseparable. The very
end for which Christ redeemed us, was, “ that he might purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works°:” and, if we would reap the full benefit of his resurrection, “we must seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God p.".
This was designed by God in the appointment of the feast we have been speaking ofq; and the same is designed in the mercy vouchsafed to us — -] In CONCLUSION, then, I say, ,
[Be thankful to God for the special call which is now given you to observe this day. If to the Jews it was said, “This is a night to be much observed to the Lord, for bringing them out of the land of Egypt; this is that night of the Lord to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations ";" how much more may it be said to us! Methinks, any man who kept the Passion-week, as it is appointed to be observed amongst us, could scarcely fail of attaining the salvation of his soul; so plain are the instructions given us throughout the whole course of our services, and so exclusively is Christ held forth to us as “ the way, the truth, and the life.” My dear Brethren, we really are great losers by our neglect of these seasons. Doubtless they may be observed with superstitious formality: but they may be kept with infinite profit to the soul. And I beg of you not to let the present opportunity pass away without a suitable improvement: but, as David said, with a direct reference to the Saviour's resurrection, “ This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in itt;" so do i Heb. x. 22. k Ps. li. 7.
11 John i. 7. m Heb. ii. 3.
n 1 Cor. v. 7, 8. o Tit. ii. 14. p Col. ii. 1.
9 Exod. xii. 8-10. r Rom. xiv. 9. s Exod. xii. 42. i Ps. cxviii. 22–24.
you engage with your whole souls in securing the blessings which the Redeemer's triumphs, as on this day, have obtained
CHRISTIAN PERFECTION. Deut. xviii. 13. Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God.
IT seems strange that any who have ever heard of Jehovah, should need to be put on their guard against alienating their hearts from him, and placing their affections on any created object in preference to him: but the Israelites, who had seen all his wonders in Egypt and in the wilderness, were ever prone to depart from him, even as we also are, notwithstanding all that we have heard respecting that infinitely greater redemption which he has vouchsafed to us through the incarnation and death of his only dear Son. Permit me, therefore, to remind you, as Moses reminded the people committed to his charge, that you must on no account, and in no degree, transfer to the creature the regards which are due to your Maker alone; since his injunction to you, and to every child of man, is, “ Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God.”
In order to bring home to your hearts and consciences this solemn injunction, I will, I. Unfold its import
As for absolute perfection, there is no hope of attaining it in this world. Job himself, whom God pronounced a “perfect mana,” declared, that if he should arrogate to himself a claim of absolute perfection, his own mouth would condemn him, and prove him perverse". But uprightness there is, and must be, in all who shall be approved of their God. In this sense, we must be perfect with the Lord our God: 1. In love to his name
We are commanded to “ love God with all our heart and mind and soul and strength.” And every one of us should be able to say with David, " Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides theec" -] 2. In affiance on his care
a Job i. 1, 8.
b Job ix. 20, 21.
[Whatever our trials be, there should be no leaning either upon our own strength or on any created power: for “cursed is the man that maketh flesh his arm, whose heart departeth from the Lord his Godd.” Our trust should be in God alone: and on him should we rely without the smallest measure of diffidence or fear. Our continual boast should be, “ The Lord is on my side; I will not fear what either men or devils can do against me."] 3. In zeal for his glory
[As we have received our all from him, so we should improve every thing for him. We should live entirely for our God: and, if only he may be glorified in us, it should be a matter of indifference to us, whether it be by life or by death. Are we called to act? We must resemble Asa, who, with impartial energy, dethroned his own mother for her idolatry, and ground her idols to duste. Are we called to suffer? We should yield our bodies to be burned, rather than swerve an hair's breadth from the path of dutyf. In the whole of our Christian course we should be " pressing forward continually towards the goal, if by any means we may obtain from God the prize of our high calling.” This is the true nature of Christian perfection 6.]
Such being the injunction, I will proceed to, II. Enforce its authority
Without real integrity before God, we can have, 1. No comfort in our souls
[A man may, by an overweening conceit of his own attainments, buoy himself up with somewhat of a pleasing satisfaction respecting his state: but there will be secret misgivings in hours of reflection, and especially in that hour when he is about to enter into the immediate presence of his God. Even at present, an insincere man feels no real delight in God: and a consciousness of that will occasionally disturb his ill-acquired peace. But the man whose heart is right with God will have a holy confidence before him ; according as the Psalmist has said: “ Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peaceh." Hezekiah's blissful retrospect, if not in its full extent, yet in good measure, will be his : “ I bessech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sighti!”] 2. No stability in our ways
c Ps. lxxiii. 25. d Jer. xvii. 5. e 1 Kings xv. 13. f Dan. ii. 17, 18. & Phil. üïi. 15. h Ps. xxxvii. 37.
[“ A_double-minded man will be unstable in all his waysk.” Let but a sufficient temptation arise, and he will turn aside, even as Demas did, to the indulgence of his besetting sin. The stony-ground hearers, for want of a root of integrity within themselves, will fall away; and the thornyground hearers, not being purged from secret lusts, will never bring forth fruit unto perfection. It is "the honest and good heart” alone that will approve itself steadfast unto the end. But the upright man God will uphold under every temptation; as an inspired prophet has assured us: “ The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him!."] 3. No acceptance with our God
[We may deceive ourselves, but we cannot deceive our God: “ to him all things are naked and open:" and, however we be admired by our fellow-creatures, he will discern our true state; as he did that of the Church at Sardis ; of whom he
says, “ I know that thou hast a name to live, but art dead : for I have not found thy ways perfect before Godm.” It is to no purpose to dissemble with him: for “ he searcheth the heart and trieth the reins, and will give to every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings n."] ADDRESS,
1. Those who are unable to ascertain with confidence their real state
[Surely you should not suffer this to remain in doubt. Look into the Scriptures; and you will find in the saints of old a well-grounded persuasion that they had passed from death unto life. Real uprightness is like light, which carries its own evidence along with it. I would not encourage an ill-founded confidence: nor would I, on the other hand, encourage that kind of diffidence which puts away the consolations provided for us in the Gospel. Examine yourselves as before God; and never rest till you have the testimony of God's Spirit, that ye are Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile.]
1 2 Chron. xvi. 9.
i 2 Kings xx. 3. m Rev. iii. 1, 2.
k Jam. i. 8.