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so as to save them from fear; and it was to them such a demonstration of that which was not yet seen, as to produce a certain conviction of its reality.
Such was the nature of their faith: it had respect to God's declaration concerning the destruction of the first-born of Egypt, and their deliverance from it by the passing over their houses by the destroyer. This declaration rested entirely on the divine veracity for its fulfilment, or the contrary. Moses believed the declaration ; that is, he gave full credit to it, such a credit as affected his heart, and produced a corresponding line of conduct. He directed the children of Israel to comply with the command of God. They, believing the declaration already noticed, obeyed the command. Moses and the people of Israel thus honoured God's veracity, and obeyed God's authority. They did eat the passover and sprinkled the blood, in full and unhesitating confidence that they would be saved; that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them, as they had been assured by the word of the Lord. Hence,
III. The success which accompanied the
manner of using the mean, as has been noticed, was complete. It realized fully all their expectations—those expectations which sprung from, and were strengthened by, their faith.
The night in which God was to pass through Egypt came. The sun had gone down, and the shades of darkness gathered around the land. The inhabitants, having finished the labours of the day, had retired to rest. The cattle had ceased their lowing.
“ Stilld is the hum that through the hamlet broke ;" and the noise of the busy city is lost in silence. At this time, when
. “ Mortals the sweets of forgetfulness prove," the Egyptians are suddenly awakened by a fearful, a tremendous judgment. Throughout the land, in the same instant, the firstborn child is snatched from the embrace of its fond parents, and made the prey of death. Oh, who can describe the agonies that were experienced during this disastrous night! Every family was visited by the destroyer, so that each one could only sympathize with his neighbour and friend, by
was experienced as
lamenting his own loss. “ The chief of all “ their strength”in a moment was laid low, so that the pride of the nation was humbled, and its triumph over Israel converted into sadness and wo. · The king himself, that obstinate rebel, (for the cala
rienced as well in the palace as in the cottage,) the king himself “ rose up at night, he and all “ his servants, and all the Egyptians: and “ there was a great cry in Egypt; for there “ was not a house where there was not one “ dead?.”. Dreadful indeed must have been the scene then exhibited : a scene of justice on the part of God, and of deep anguish on the part of the Egyptians! Then, if Pharaoh's heart was not as rebellious to the claims of humanity, as it had been to those of God, he must have felt the accusations of conscience, like the stings of a scorpion, tormenting him in such a way, and to such a degree, as to make him a terror to himself. The desolation which his people suffered was owing to his wickedness and his oppression of an innocent people. What aggravated their misery, and added force to
9 Ex. xii. 30. VOL. II.
the reproaches of conscience, was, that not an Israelite was cut off.
The destroyer passed over their houses, because they were marked with blood. They heard the cry of the Egyptians, but were themselves saved. In their windows death did not find his way, and therefore sorrow for their first-born did not fill their habitations. The Lord did not call them by his providence to lamentation and wo, but to thankfulness. They were not endangered, nor hurt, nor so much as touched. What a contrast now between their state and that of their oppressors! As strikingly marked, but more deeply felt, as that between the land of Egypt and of Goshen, when the former was enveloped in thick darkness, and in the latter there was light. Whilst the hearts of Egyptian parents are torn with anguish, the Jewish fathers and mothers embrace their first-born in safety, and give them their blessing. On the one side is bereavement; on the other is continued enjoyment. Among the children of Ham, the curse of Jehovah ; among the descendants of Shem, the blessing. There is death,
blasting expectation; here is life, looking forward to some good yet in store.
So successful were Moses and the children of Israel in escaping the destroyer, by keeping the passover, and the sprinkling of blood.
But, surely, Brethren, there was no natural virtue in the blood of the sacrificed lamb, whereby the family on whose doorposts it was sprinkled might be preserved from the plague ; nor can we for a moment suppose that Jehovah needed any such sign, to distinguish between the Egyptians and the Israelites. For whạt purpose, then, can we conceive such a ceremony to have been instituted, but as a sensible token of the fulfilment of the divine promise of protection and deliverance" ?' And was not this intended as a typical sign of protection from the divine justice by the blood of Christ, which, in reference to this, is called “ the blood of “ sprinkling'?” Indeed the analogy is so forcible, that we need not hesitate to unite in opinion with those who consider “ the “ slaying of the paschal lamb, in its first in“ stitution, to be an expiatory sacrifice; the
q Magee on the Atonement, vol. 1. No. 35. 34 Lon. ed. s Heb. xii. 24.