Exodus 12:13


I. THE MEANS OF SAFETY vers. 7-13).

1. They took the blood and struck it on the door posts and the lintel. We must appropriate Christ's atonement. We must say by faith, "he died for me."

2. They passed within the blood-stained portals. Christ's blood must stand between us and condemnation, between us and sin. Our safety lies in setting that between oar soul and them. The realising of Christ's death for our sins is, salvation.

II. THE MEANS OF STRENGTH FOR THE ONWARD WAY. Feeding upon Christ. While Egypt was slumbering Israel was feasting. While the world is busy with its dreams we must feast upon the joy of eternity, and, comprehending with all saints the infinite love of Christ, be filled with all the fulness of God. "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you."

III. HOW CHRIST MUST BE PARTAKEN OF.

1. With unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The old leaven of malice and wickedness must be put away, and the feasting on Christ's love must be accompanied with repentance and self denial. There may be now and again a momentary glimpse of Christ's love where sin is not parted with, but there can be no communion, no enduring vision.

2. Christ must be taken as God has set him before us, in the simplicity of the Gospel, with nothing of man's invention, addition, or diminution. The Gospel remedy avails only when taken in the Gospel way (vers. 9, 10).

3. He must b? partaken of in the union of love. The Passover is a social, a family feast. Those who refuse to seek church-fellowship are despising God's arrangements for their own salvation, and proving themselves devoid of the spirit which, loving him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him.

4. He must be partaken of with the pilgrim spirit and preparedness (ver. 11). They who will be saved by Jesus must take up their cross and follow him. - U.









I will pass over you.
Our interest in the Passover, as in most of the other institutions of the Levitical economy, consists in its relationship to higher institutions, and to a more hallowed provision; it consists in the prefiguration by them of our Surety and Saviour, who is at once the Surety and Saviour of universal man. There are three points in the analogy to be considered.

I. WE, LIKE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL AFORETIME, ARE IN CIRCUMSTANCES OF SORROW.

1. They were in bondage. We also have been brought under bondage to sin, and our yoke is harder than theirs, for ours is heart-slavery, the iron has entered into our soul.

2. The Israelites were in circumstances of peril. The Lord was about to execute in their sight His strange work of judgment. The transgressions of our race, the sins which we commit, expose us to consequences far more imminent, and far more terrible.

II. For us, as for the Children of Israel of old, THERE IS A REMEDY PROVIDED. The great doctrine of Atonement is here brought before us. By the blood of Jesus, seen by Divine justice sprinkled upon our hearts, wrath is warded off from us, and everlasting salvation is secured. The Cross is the meeting-place of God's mercy for the sinner.

III. As there is such a remedy THERE CAN BE NO OTHER. For us as for them there is but one way of escape. "There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved."

(W. M. Punshon, D. D.)

The blood of the slain lamb a type of that shed on Calvary.

1. The blood of salvation;

2. Of substitution;

3. Of sprinkling (useless unless applied);

4. Of separation.

(D. Macmillan.)

Homilist.
I. THIS METHOD OF DELIVERANCE INVOLVED A SACRIFICE OF INNOCENT LIFE.

II. THIS METHOD OF DELIVERANCE TRANSCENDED HUMAN INVENTION.

III. THIS METHOD OF DELIVERANCE PROVED COMPLETELY EFFICIENT.

IV. THIS METHOD OF DELIVERANCE FOR ITS APPLICATION REQUIRED PRACTICAL TRUST IN GOD.

V. THIS METHOD OF DELIVERANCE FORMED A MEMORABLE ERA IN THE HISTORY OF THE JEWS.

(Homilist.)

I. THE PASSOVER CELEBRATES A DELIVERANCE WROUGHT IN FULFILMENT OF A DIVINE PLEDGE. The baseness of man does not make void the righteousness of God.

II. THE PASSOVER FESTIVAL WAS THE BEGINNING OF A NEW AND NOBLE NATIONAL LIFE. It was the initiatory rite of a peculiar people. An eminent historian, with no theological interest, has compared it to the great feast at the beginning of the French revolution, which was to inaugurate the new age of fraternity. The suggestion is profound and pertinent. It was a national feast. It was to be a perpetual witness to them that the Highest had seen the affliction of His people, and had come down to deliver them; that He had established an intercourse with them which was to endure from age to age. Its full meaning was not, and could not, then be taken in; but they did know that it was the bond of a sacred union between the redeemed nation and Him who had redeemed it; that it was the sign of their acceptance of Him as Ruler and King instead of the Egyptian prince. During our own Civil War, when it had become evident on both sides that it was to be a life-and-death struggle, a proclamation, called the Emancipation Proclamation, was issued by the President, setting free some three or four millions of slaves. That proclamation had no immediate effect whatever upon the actual character of those whom it most concerned. It made them neither better nor worse. A quarter-century has passed away, and multitudes of them are still unchanged. They remain degraded, superstitious, ignorant; and yet you can say to them what you could not say to their fathers. They are free men. The Passover feast has been eaten. A life of liberty, with all its obligations and opportunities, is upon them; upon them whether they will or no; upon them for better or worse.

III. THE JEWISH FESTIVAL HAS BECOME A CHRISTIAN SACRAMENT. The paschal lamb was not only to be sacrificed; it was also to be eaten. Thus we are to keep the feast; thus we are to show a continuous participation in His sacrificial life and death. Crucified and risen with Him, we perpetuate the sacrifice in ourselves.

(E. B. Mason, D. D.)

I. THE PASCHAL LAMB ITSELF. A beautiful type of the Lord Jesus — the perfect, spotless Saviour.

II. ITS CONNECTION WITH, AND APPLICATION TO, ISRAEL.

1. A substitute (see Matthew 20:28). Christ suffered that we might live with Him and in Him.

2. Blood to be applied, as well as shed. Exercise of faith.

3. Flesh to be eaten. Christ the daily food of the believer's soul.

III. THE MANNER IN WHICH ISRAEL WAS TO EAT OF IT.

1. With bitter herbs: repentance. When we feed on the Lamb of God, we must not forget what we have been, and what we are. We must remember our sins — worldliness, contentedness without God, impatience, and murmurings.

2. With unleavened bread (1 Corinthians 5:7, 8).

3. With loins girded. Travellers — pilgrims and strangers on earth. Look on scenes and occupations of world as on those which belong to wilderness, not home. At end of journey stands a continuing city, the heavenly Jerusalem. March on.

(G. Wagner.)

(A Good Friday Sermon): —

I. I ASK YOU TO OBSERVE THE PROVISION WHICH GOD MADE IN THE PASSOVER FOR THE SAFETY OF HIS PEOPLE. The dykes of Holland, which shut out the roaring ocean from the fertile fields, and the levees of the Mississippi guiding a mighty river in its course, have more than once been cut. But he who thus enchains the fierce spirit of the flood is apt to find himself in the pathway of its devastation. So can no man cut through the great principles of right and truth without opening sluice ways of destruction for himself. Reckless injustice, cruel oppression, will sooner or later overthrow the very man who has thus wronged his fellow. And nations may equally beware of breaching the barriers of Divine judgment. The water will find out the hiding-place of a guilty people. France reaps to-day the ripening harvest of her martyred Albigenses and her bloody St. Bartholomew. The stroke had fallen with relentless impartiality "from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on his throne, to the firstborn of the captive in the dungeon." There was no distinction in the common and overwhelming calamity. So intertwined were Egypt and Israel. The slave was dependent upon his master, as the vine is upon the oak; but that very dependence only the more entirely involved the one in the calamity of the other. When death was on the wing of the pestilence, no power short of a miracle could separate the child of Jacob from the firstborn of Egypt. But a miracle did God work, a miracle so peculiar in its character that not one of all Israel's thousands died with the sons of the oppressor. But their deliverance was duo to no foresight of their own. The soldier who cuts his way out of the encircling hosts of the enemy, the pilot who safely threads the mazes of the dangerous channel, the statesman who foils the blows and parries the thrusts of his country's enemies on the battle-field of diplomatic controversy, can each point to the skill and prudence with which his web of plans was woven, and glory in his success. But when Israel was saved from the destruction of Egypt's firstborn, no one of all their mighty host could say, "I saw the danger, and by my wisdom provided deliverance." The whole method of safety for God's people was one that originated with God Himself. No man would ever have thought of it, or, if he had, would have had any confidence in its success. It is a lamb slain, through which the Lord would guam each household of Israel from Egyptian condemnation. In one word, it was a sacrifice that alone could stand between the firstborn and the destroyer. Oh, when the Lamb is slain, when the sacrifice is made, when the Son of God hangs bleeding on the Cross, wilt thou wait till the shadowy wing of the death-angel darkens thy door, dreaming that thou hast some better way than God's to save thy soul from righteous condemnation?

II. WHAT WAS THE ISRAELITE TO DO TO AVAIL HIMSELF OF THE SACRIFICE WHICH GOD HAD THUS PROVIDED? Perched on a grey crag, like the nest where the eagle rears her young, Quebec looked down in proud security upon the St. Lawrence flowing to the sea. With muffled oars and bated breath, beneath the mantle of midnight, an English army floated with the ebb ti de down the stream, and lay hidden at the base of the frowning heights. Inaccessible as the fortress seemed, a path had been discovered. A way there unquestionably was by which the precipice could be scaled. But to avail themselves of that approach, to make use of their discovery, was a task so perilous, a venture so begirt with difficulty and danger, that none but heroes ever would have tried. So did God reveal to the Israelite a path by which he could save his household from the dread visitation of the angel of death. The sacrifice was slain. The paschal lamb lay bleeding its life away. But how was the Hebrew householder to use the sacrifice? Here was the road to safety, but was it not some mighty effort, some gigantic labour, some costly addition to the sacrifice which would make it defence in the mysterious visitation of the fast-approaching night? How through this pathway could the heights of security be gained? In one word, when God had done His share in the provision of the offering, what was man to do to apply its protection to himself? There is a Divine answer to that question: "Ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it into the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side-posts with the blood; and the blood shall be 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." And this is all l No mighty struggles to make the sacrifice more costly. No pompous rites to render it more acceptable. Nothing in the world but sprinkling a few drops of the blood upon the doorway of the dwelling. And even that was no work; it was simply an acceptance of God's work. It was precisely equivalent to saying, "I cannot devise any way of defence to ward off the dread visitation from ray dwelling: but I trust God's way." Oh ye who are waiting on the brink of decision for Christ, I pray you hear this precious truth! I tell you, if you only knew what a glorious thing it is that a lost sinner can be saved just by accepting Jesus, you would not leave this church till His precious blood upon your soul bore witness to your salvation. Twenty years ago a venturesome whale-ship, driven from her course, found a deserted brig drifting among the ice-floes of the polar sea. Deserted by her crew, her rudder guided by no human hand, she had sailed, like the ship of the "Ancient Mariner," into that silent sea. Her gallant discoverers brought their prize through untold perils into port. But the tidings spread that the staunch ship, which for well nigh two years had sailed among the frozen horrors of the northern seas, without a living soul within her open sides, was one of an English fleet that the British Government had sent to rescue the heroic Franklin. Then it was that our country did a beautiful, as well as noble act. Our government fitted up the vessel in every minutest detail. From stem to stern her old aspect was restored. On the deck, in her cabin, not an article was lacking to render her complete. And then, with grateful courtesy, the costly gift was sent across the ocean and given back, a freewill offering to the Government of England. The glory of the deed belonged to America alone. No British seaman had helped to save her. Not a farthing of English money had aided in her restoration. Even in her voyage across the Atlantic, the crew that manned, the officers that commanded, her were of our own country's navy. For England there remained nothing to do. She could only accept the salvation of her vessel as a free and generous gift. Oh type of God's work for man; image of the simplicity of man's accepting faith! Brother, your soul has long been like a ship abandoned to the seas. God's mercy alone has kept it so long afloat. Drifting amidst icebergs, tossed on a heaving sea, it is a miracle of Providence that it has not sunk beneath the depths. And now God would save it. He would rescue it from danger. He would restore its long-lost peace, its heavenly hope, its shattered purity, and give it back to you redeemed and for ever saved. But God will do it all. He will not give His glory to another. He will not let you add one solitary item to redeeming love, or pay one farthing for the blessings of salvation. There is absolutely nothing for you to do hut to accept the gift. And this is faith. Oh take Him at His word!

(Bp. Cheney.)

I. First, then, THE BLOOD ITSELF. In the case of the Israelites it was the blood of the paschal lamb. In our case it is the blood of the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.

1. The blood of which I have solemnly to speak is, first of all, the blood of a Divinely appointed victim. This indeed is one of the underlying ground-works of the Christian's hope. We can rely upon Jesus Christ's acceptance by His Father, because His Father ordained Him to be our Saviour from before the foundation of the world.

2. Christ Jesus, too, like the lamb, was not only a divinely appointed victim, but He was spotless. Had there been one sin in Christ, He had not been capable of being our Saviour; but He was without spot or blemish — without original sin, without any practical transgression.

3. But some will say, "Whence has the blood of Christ such power to save?" My reply is, not only because God appointed that blood, and because it was the blood of an innocent and spotless being, but because Christ Himself was God.

4. Once more; the blood of which we speak to-day, is blood once shed for many for the remission of sin. The paschal lamb was killed every year; but now Christ hath appeared to take away' sin by the offering up of Himself, and there is now no more mention of sin, for Christ once for all hath put away sin, by the offering of Himself. He is a complete Saviour, full of grace for an empty sinner.

5. And yet I must add one more thought, and then leave this point. The blood of Jesus Christ is blood that hath been accepted.

II. THE EFFICACY OF THIS BLOOD. "When I see the blood I will pass over you."

1. The blood of Christ hath such a Divine power to save, that nothing but it can ever save the soul.

2. This blood is not simply the only thing that can save, but it must save alone. Put anything with the blood of Christ, and you are lost; trust to anything else with this, and you perish.

3. Yet again we may say of the blood of Christ, it is all-sufficient. There is no case which the blood of Christ cannot meet; there is no sin which it cannot wash away.

4. The blood of Christ saves surely. If we have that blood upon us we must be saved, or else we are to suppose a God unfaithful and a God unkind; in fact, a God transformed from everything that is God-like into everything that is base.

5. And yet again, he that hath this blood sprinkled upon him is saved completely. Not the hair of the head of an Israelite was disturbed by the destroying angel. They were completely saved, so he that believeth in the blood is saved from all things.

III. THE ONE CONDITION. "What," says one, "do you preach a conditional salvation?" Yes, I do, there is the one condition. "Where I seethe blood I will pass over you." What a blessed condition! it does not say, when you see the blood, but when I see it. Thine eye of faith may be so dim, that thou canst not see the blood of Christ. Ay, but God's eye is not dim; He can see it, yea, He must see it; for Christ in heaven is always presenting His blood before His Father's face.

IV. And now, lastly, WHAT IS THE LESSON? The lesson of the text is to the Christian this: Christian, take care that thou dost always remember, that nothing but the blood of Christ can save thee.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. "The blood shall be to you for a token" — A DISTINGUISHING TOKEN. A bloodless gospel is a lifeless gospel.

1. Our sin deserves death.

2. We believe in substitution. Christ died, " the just for the unjust."

3. We believe that we died in Jesus.

4. Believing this, we next come to the conclusion that we are safe.

II. The blood was AN ASSURING TOKEN.

1. The token of suffering.

2. Death.

(1)The Lamb of God.

(2)A finished sacrifice.

III. A MOST SIGNIFICANT TOKEN.

1. Redemption.

2. The Lord's property.

3. Acceptance.

4. Perfect safety.

IV. A LOVE-TOKEN.

1. Ancient love.

2. Intense love.

3. Mighty love.

4. Wise all-seeing love.

5. Unlimited love.

V. A RECOGNITION TOKEN.

1. The man who has this token is known to the angels as one of the heirs of salvation to whom they minister.

2. The devil also knows that mark, and, as soon as he sees it, he begins to assail the man who bears it, seeking in all sorts of ways to destroy him.

3. This blood-mark is known among the saints themselves, and has a wonderful power for creating and fostering mutual love.

4. Best of all, the Lord knows this token too. A Primitive Methodist brother, when he was in a meeting where a friend could not pray, cried out, "Plead the blood, brother!" and the advice was wise.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH THE PASSOVER WAS INSTITUTED.

1. It was instituted under perilous circumstances.

2. It was instituted under exceptional circumstances.

3. It was instituted under painful circumstances. And so the Cross of Christ was instituted under circumstances morally dangerous, morally exceptional, and morally painful, but under circumstances which rendered it most welcome to the true Israel.

II. THE PROCEEDINGS BY WHICH THE PASSOVER WAS CHARACTERISED.

1. A lamb was slain in the houses of the Israelites.

2. The blood of the Lamb thus slain was sprinkled on the upper door-post of the houses of the Israelites.

3. The slain lamb was eaten by the Israelites in an attitude of pilgrimage and haste. And so the soul must appropriate Christ; it must cultivate an attitude of moral haste, and it must be mindful of its pilgrim condition, if it is to be saved by Him.

III. THE RESULTS BY WHICH THE PASSOVER WAS FOLLOWED.

1. After the celebration of the Passover the Israelites were safe.

2. They were free.

3. They were joyous.Lessons:

1. That every household should have an interest in the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

2. That to experience the saving benefit of Christ's death the soul must personally receive Him.

3. That Christ as dying is the only hope of the soul.

4. That Christ died for all.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

I. IN THE VICTIM IT PROVIDES (John 1:29).

II. IN THE SACRIFICE IT REQUIRES. "Without shedding of blood there is no remission."

III. IN THE DUTY IT ENJOINS (ver. 7). The blood of Christ is the only protection of the soul, and must be sprinkled as well as shed (Romans 5:11). The soul must make a personal appropriation of Christ. To know Christ will profit little. We must feast on Him by faith.

IV. IN THE SPIRIT IT DEMANDS (ver. 22). The bunch of hyssop signifies faith and humility. David said, "Wash me with hyssop, and I shall be clean" (Psalm 51:7). Hyssop is a lowly herb growing in rocky places. In the reception of Christ the soul must be humble.

1. The paschal lamb was also to be eaten with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs (ver. 8). Here we have shadowed forth the need of repentance and sincerity. And if the soul is to receive Christ, it must be with a contrite heart and with a deep sense of demerit.

2. The paschal lamb was to be eaten in the attitude of haste (ver. 11). The loins must be girded, the feet must be shod, the hands must hold the staff. The redeemed soul must sit loose to earthly things. The good are pilgrims in the world; they must be ready to go to Canaan.

V. IN THE PERIL IT AVERTS. (ver. 13). An emblem of the dangers averted from men by a believing interest in the atonement of Jesus Christ. They are delivered from the power of the second death. They escape the stroke of the destroying angel. Their safety is welcome and happy.

VI. IN THE EXTENT IT CONTEMPLATES. By a proper observance of the Passover all Israel would be preserved from the blow of the destroying angel, not one soul excepted. And so by application to the atonement of Jesus Christ the whole world may receive an eternal salvation from the awful penalties of sin. Lessons:

1. That Christ crucified is the only hope of moral safety.

2. That Christ appropriated is the only refuge of the soul.

3. That Christ must be received by repentance and faith.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

The grand central truth of all the objective truths here is shadowed forth in that blood of the spotless lamb shed and sprinkled on the door-posts. It has a deep, mysterious meaning, and finds its interpretation in the history of Calvary and the Cross, far onward yet, even fifteen hundred years, in the history. The blood-marked house is but representative of every soul tenement on earth, the dweller in which — made alive to the impending doom by the voice that cries from Sinai, "Whosoever sinneth, him will I blot out from My book," and by the voice crying from the depths within — hath fled from under the dark thundercloud of wrath, to Him who was lifted up on the Cross. This blood is not only the central idea of this, but of all the revelations of God. The whole gospel, is, in fact, summed up just here — "When I see the blood I will pass over." Blood! blood! this is the one cry of the gospel — the Alpha and the Omega of the gospel. All hope of the Divine favour — all strength to resist and conquer sin — all power of a holy life comes from this blood. Is man redeemed? It is because "we have redemption through His blood." Are any ransomed from sin? "Not by corruptible ransom of silver and gold" are they purchased, "but by the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without spot." Are these justified? "Being justified by His blood." Are these cleansed and made holy? "His blood cleanseth from all sin." Are they, as strangers and wanderers from God, restored? "Ye who sometimes were afar off are now made nigh by the blood of Christ." Have they access to the Father's presence in prayer? It is because the High Priest "hath gone before" sprinkling the blood. Are they arrayed in spotless robes to appear at the court of the Great King? "They have washed, etc., in the blood of the Lamb." Are sinners cast off at last to eternal death? It is because "they have trampled under foot the blood of the Son of God." Thus in the gospel revelation, all mercy, compassion, and grace of God have their ground in that blood. All conviction of sin, all holy desire in the soul, as well as all hope and trust in the Holy Ghost, come from that blood.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

Let us for once use the story as an illustration of evangelical faith as an instrument in attaining salvation under the gospel. In its analysis we are all agreed that saving faith has three elements — knowledge, assent, and trust. Now, we study these in turn.

I. In the first place, the security of the Children of Israel on that awful night lay partly in the INTELLIGENT KNOWLEDGE they possessed of the prescribed means of escape from the destroying angel. Four things were taught them —

1. It was not the announcement of Moses which made this blood of a slain lamb the sign of deliverance from the plague, but the appointment of God Himself. The essential truth taught here is, that the crucifixion of Christ had no inherent value in itself which could atone for sin; it was the covenant of redemption that gave it its value.

2. It was not the shedding of the lamb's blood which should avail to save them, but the sprinkling of it on the door. Every soul must accept the atonement on God's terms.

3. It was not consciousness of security within, but evidence of obedience without, which would settle the fact of deliverance in every instance. It ought to be a help to sinners to know that God does not go over the past life of those who come to Him, as if on inquisition after their iniquities great or small, when once they plead the merits of His Son as their Redeemer. The vilest become clean in His sight when Christ is wholly accepted. The angel of Divine justice looks only upon the marks which show obedience and substitution.

4. It was reserved to God Himself to judge of the evidence of true and believing surrender to His commands. "When I see the blood, I will pass over you."

II. These four things were taught to the people on that remembered night, and constituted their necessary intelligence; from this it is easy to pass on and inquire after the second element of saving faith, ASSENT, illustrated here in the story.

1. See how such a conception rebukes a feeling of indifference in the heart of any sinner.

2. See how this history rebukes a captious spirit making petulant objection to the sovereignty of God.

3. See how this incident rebukes the mistake of trying to be a Christian out of sight. No one is wise in attempting to obey God in secret, when it is written down plainly that part of the command is that we obey Him in public. So the Scripture says. "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

4. See how this history rebukes all delay in the duty of obeying God. What if the Israelites one after another put off the preparation of the lamb for the Passover? What good was there in waiting? How strange it would have been for any one to say, "I want more conviction," or for any one to plead, "I am not really so badly off as this assumes"; or for one to say, "My neighbours are so inconsistent that I cannot endure them" 1 If a duty is to be done, why does not each man do his duty now? This is what is meant by assent as an element of saving faith.

III. There remains only the third element of faith mentioned in the beginning — TRUST. Think of that family just the half-hour before midnight. The lamb lies there; the basin with its bunch of hyssop stained in it is close beside; the doorway is wet with the blood. They have done all their duty just as God bade them; that was all they could do. Now they wait; that waiting is trust — the trust we are talking about. It is the feeling within one's heart which says, "Thus I have tried to do honestly all that the Lord asked at my hands; He told me to bend my will, make my prayer, take my Saviour, and after that leave all the rest to Him; there now I stand and wait."

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

I. In the history of the Exodus, Egypt and Israel, the opposed nationalities, represent TWO DIFFERENT ESTATES OF THE HUMAN LIFE — the earthly and the spiritual. These opposite estates are presented in eternal contrast throughout the pages of Holy Writ. In the Revelation of St. John the Divine the mystical Babylon represents that earthly, perishable, debased life which is here represented by Egypt; and the everlasting destiny of the spiritual life is represented by the New Jerusalem. The same antithesis is expressed by St. Paul in the fifteenth chapter of his First Epistle to the Corinthians. The apostle contrasts the earthly and the spiritual in the forms of the personal human life, out of which the national and the civil life have their origin: "There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." So also in his Epistle to the Ephesians, the opposed states of life typified by Egypt and Israel, Babylon and New Jerusalem, derived from the first Adam and the Second Adam, are contrasted in the words, "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." The history of the Exodus does not merely narrate facts that occurred in a bygone, distant age. It is also an ever-contemporary history of the struggle of human life going on in every age. The slavery, oppression, debasement, and misery of Israel in Egypt represent to us the bondage, the discontent, and unrest of the human spirit enchained, degraded, and debased by the forces of the carnal and worldly life. The lusts and the passions that goad the human being into the debasing works of vice are task-masters that afflict with sore burdens. Man's eternal inability to find rest and blessedness in the slavery of the sensual and worldly life, is expressed in the words, "The Children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God, by reason of their bondage." The march out of the Egyptian bondage towards the confines of the land flowing with milk and honey, in order to stand before the Lord in "the mountain of His inheritance," is the great historical parable, composed in the providence of God to represent the progress of the human soul out of the sensual life into the spiritual — out of the low life of the earthly level into the communion of the most high life of God. The Divine voice of the Eternal Love, speaking through the Church, is for ever summoning man to travel towards the land of nobleness and freedom: "When Israel was a child then I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt." The means which God employed to relax the grasp of the tyrant, are the same which He still employs from age to age. The human soul, enslaved by the overmastering forces of the flesh and the world, cannot escape from its bondage without the aid of a power from above. How does God aid the soul to break its chains? He sends trials, sorrows, sicknesses, disappointments. The plagues are not sent in vain. In the hour of each visitation the tyrant grasp of the flesh and of the world upon the spiritual will is weakened, and the claims of spiritual truth are acknowledged. Old habits are not broken by a single chastening. This passage describes, with exact spiritual accuracy, the nature of the final visitation that carries conviction to the oft-hardened, unyielding soul. What, then, are the leading features of the visitation as here set before us? The manifestation of God's presence; the gloom of a night unlit, save by the flashes of the angelic sword; the slaughter of Egypt's best and choicest lives: the exposure of the vanity and weakness of Egypt's creature gods. The all-pervading presence of God was now to be realized in the Egyptian kingdom, according to the words, "I will pass through the land of Egypt." These words express the truth that God was about to compel those who had been living "without God in the world" to realize the power and majesty of His presence. The godless man, living through long years under the government of hard, tyrannical, untrained self-will, ignores the presence of God: "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God; God is not in all his thoughts." When man has lived long without God in the world, lived the sensual, worldly life of Egypt, what power can enable him to realize the presence of the Invisible Lord, and to recognize in the passing hours the form of His Majesty? Nothing less than some overpowering shock that shakes to its very foundations the fabric of his life-habits, and convulses all the recesses of his being. Such a convulsion is here represented in the words, "I will pass through the land of Egypt this night." The times in which God reveals the terrors of His presence to the sensual, worldly natures, are times of darkness. To the children of Egypt the countenance of God comes in the night of trouble, sickness, and dissolution. In the bright day of health, activity, and wealth, the Egyptian soul realizes not the nearness of God. This night is for ever falling upon the land of Egypt. The prospects of the sensual worldly life are for ever subject to the coming of the darkness. There is not a household in all the land of Egypt that does not, sooner or later, feel the growing darkness of the night of trial settling upon it. But another element in the power of the visitation that carries conviction, is the destruction of "the firstborn." In Holy Writ this expression has a secondary and wider significance. It is used to denote all that is foremost in value and strength. Hence the destruction of all the firstborn of Egypt represents the eternal truth, that the choicest and strongest existences of the earthly and natural life are doomed to change and dissolution. The day of visitation is also a day in which the powerlessness of the Egyptian gods is demonstrated: "Against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment." The men of the world and the men of the flesh exalt some of the creatures into the throne that should be occupied by God. Thus does God for ever work out the emancipation of chosen souls. If the natural life were for ever undarkened by affliction; unchastened by bereavement; unrebuked by the overthrow of its idols, then the human spirit would never escape out of the tyrannous bondage of sensuality and gross worldliness, never rise into the mountain of God's inheritance.

II. THE ISRAELITE LIVES ARE SAVED FROM THE POWER OF THE DESTROYER. In the hour when the plagues oppressed the life of Egypt, Israel was delivered from the destroying power of the visitation: "I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you." Although placed in the midst of the same objective circumstances, Israel and Egypt realized different effects from them. The land in which both sojourned was the same land; but for one people it was a land overrun by the plague of darkness at the very hour when the other people walked in the light. This miracle, accomplished historically in the contrasted destinies of the two typical nations, is repeated spiritually in the experience of all the souls that bear in themselves the two different types of human character, the earthly image of Egypt and the spiritual image of Israel. The land of our sojourning is still subject to the plague of darkness. For instance, the great mystery of human suffering is a problem which casts abroad a "darkness which may be felt." Why do pain, want, and agony exist? To the sensual and worldly man the question is one for which no answer is to be feared. As the darkness of Egypt is for ever recurring, so also is the light of Israel. The very same trials which are inexplicably gloomy to the unspiritual man, are intelligible in their purpose, and full of light to the Christian soul. To the question, What is the purpose of suffering? he is taught to answer, that pains and agonies are means of spiritual discipline for perfecting strength and beauty of character. The Eternal Light of the world was shining in the Divine-human soul of Jesus Christ, at the very hour when He voluntarily passed under the visitation of the power of darkness, as the Captain of our salvation, to be made perfect by suffering. So for the members of His Body, the souls united to Him, the promise is fulfilled: " He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." As the hour which was dark to the Egyptian was bright to the Israelite, so the sword that smote the firstborn of the earthly race passed by the children of the chosen. This miracle, also, is for ever repeated. But for the Christian, the "firstborn," the chief, most cherished object of His being, is the hidden Divine life of Christ in the soul. In the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus, we behold the fulfilment o! that eternal spiritual law, which gives safety to the firstborn of Israel. For us men and for our redemption He mortified the natural life, and sacrificed it upon the cross. To the earthly soul, in that self-sacrifice unto death the God man seemed to have yielded the chief treasure, the "firstborn object of preservation, to the destroying sword. But on the morning of the third day, it became manifest that the true Firstborn was not the life laid down upon the Cross, but the risen life that had survived the sword of the Destroying Angel in the night of Calvary, and come forth in safety and triumph out of the hour of gloom, and out of the pains of death, "because it was not possible that He should be holden of it." So also in all the living members of Christ this destiny is for ever being accomplished anew. The Christian never loses his cherished treasure, the " firstborn" of his heart. Why? Because in the voluntary self-sacrifice of his own natural will he has given up the natural earthly "firstborn," in order to receive him again in a risen, restored form, ensured against the destroying sword. He who belongs to the moral commonwealth of Egypt, and knows no higher laws in the regulation of his inward life than those of natural flesh and blood, will lose the dearest firstborn of his being. He `who is enrolled in the commonwealth of Israel, as a living member of Christ, having inscribed on his heart the laws of the spiritual kingdom, has received that "firstborn" of the Eternal Life, who will be found unscathed in the darker hour "when the Destroying Angel passes through the land: "He that loseth his life for My sake shall find it." The plague can only be escaped by the spiritual franchise of Israel. They who give their hearts to the external treasures of the sensual and temporal life, will find their firstborn smitten down in the day of visitation.

II. THE TOKEN OF THE COVENANT THAT MARKS THE HABITATIONS OF ISRAEL. "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." The Destroying Angel, according to the eternal order of God, passed harmlessly by the blood-sprinkled houses, and was not authorized to use His sword against the lives of any that presented that token. Throughout Holy Writ the saving efficacy of bloodshed in sacrifice according to God's commandment is declared. "Almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." So in this passage, the power that redeems human nature from slavery and ruin is represented as dwelling in the blood: "When I see the blood I will pass over you." But let us ask again, What is the connection between salvation through blood and the mystery of love? The hidden attribute of love can only be communicated to man by. outward expression. The true expression of love is sacrifice. The most precious sacrifice expresses the strongest love. In order to give expression to infinite love, a sacrifice of infinite value was required. Man knows of no treasure equal in value to the gift of life. "The life of the flesh is in the blood." Thus the shedding of the Divine-human blood was the expression of that love which "is the fulfilment of the law." Therefore the power that redeems man from Egypt, and neutralizes all the influences that tend to debase and enslave his nature, is the power of Divine Love working in his being through the presence of the Holy Spirit, that came into humanity as the consequence of that infinite self-sacrifice on Calvary of Him, concerning whom the appointed witness testified, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." But we must bear in mind that the blood of the sacrificed life was sprinkled upon the habitations of Israel. What is the truth that we are to learn from that? The power of the Divine Love must influence the forms of our earthly human life. The means of grace in the Church are ordained for the purpose of bringing us under the saving power of the Cross of Christ. The highest of these means is the Holy Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ. We must live the life of earnest Christian activity: "Thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded." We must live in the desire of spiritual progress, earnestly preparing ourselves "to walk henceforth in His most holy ways." We must try to live above the world, in the consciousness that we are hastening on towards another scene of existence: "Ye shall eat it in haste." If we are crucified with Christ, and living the risen life in Him, the tokens of the saving power will be evident in all the habits of our being. The signs of the grace of God that bringeth salvation are for ever the same. They who are marked by them "live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world." The sobriety that enables us to control our own inward life, is one of the effects of the atoning blood. The sensual, the proud, the self-indulgent man has in the character of his life no sign of the spirit of self-sacrifice.

(H. T. Edwards, M. A.)

I. First of all, THE NEED FOR THE BLOOD. And upon this we need to be very earnest, and to have a very clear conception. We must not put it on one side, as being a minor consideration. In that time, when Jehovah shall make an inquisition for sin, and shall search out iniquity, and shall set secret sins in the light of His countenance, then we shall feel, if we do not feel now, that there is a needs-be for the blood of Jesus Christ. But, brethren, we need to keep this before us. But think not that in the last day it will be as at this time — that each household shall .give its contribution in redemption of its firstborn. Think not that the judgment as to come to households or to families. Be very clear upon that point: it is to come to you; and every one must give an account of himself unto his God.

II. Now I pass on with a joyous step to the next point — THE NATURE OF THE BLOOD. Notice here what our figure implies, by teaching, first, wherein is the efficacy of the blood; and, secondly, wherein it is not.

1. You will see that the great efficacy of this blood is that it is the blood — not any blood, but the appointed blood. Supposing any one had been so foolish, on that day to which our text refers, as to say, "I will not sprinkle the lamb's blood, but the bullock's, or some other animal's blood, on the door-post" — what would have been the result? It would not have been the appointed blood that was to save. The efficacy of the blood was that it was appointed. Jesus Christ came not of Himself, but was sent by His Father. I hear some one say, "How shall I be sure that God will accept the blood of Christ?" Why, He hath appointed it, and surely if it is His own appointing He will not disown what He hath done Himself; and if He hath appointed the blood to be the means whereby you are to be passed over, rest assured that what He hath fixed He will stand to.

2. And then, again, you will perceive that from this Lamb's blood there is an idea of innocence and of purity. Christ stood not only the innocent Man, but He stood the righteous Man — having lived a life of righteousness, and having wrought in His own flesh and blood a righteousness such as the world hath never seen, and never shall see the like again. We therefore glory this night in the purity of the blood of Jesus Christ.

3. Then, too, you will see that this blood was substitutionary blood. It was blood that had been shed in the place and stead of the family upon whose door-post it was put. Here thou canst see, if Christ died for thee, God, in justice, cannot demand the victim twice, the offering twice — first of all thy substitute, and then thee. That were injustice. He hath received the offering at the hands of the substitute, and therefore thou canst say there is no condemnation for us who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. These are the three things in which the type agrees with the antitype. Now we pass to something in which they differ. The type was the blood of a lamb, but He who comes is the blood of a man. Any one who has ever seriously thought upon the subject must have discovered what the apostle Peter so clearly revealed afterwards, that it is impossible for the blood of bulls or of goats to take away sin. But when we come to behold the blood of the perfect Man, then we see that there is something which can remove sin. The blood of bulls and goats could not do it; but the blood of God's own Son in human flesh can do it. And now to that which, after all, is the leading characteristic of this blood, by which we expect to be passed over. It is Divine in its nature, or rather Divine in its value. This, then, is the nature of the blood — appointed by God the Father, perfectly pure, substituted for us, blood of man with the value of Deity — that is the nature of the blood, seeing which, God says He will pass us over.

III. Then, thirdly, we come to THE APPLICATION OF THAT BLOOD. Yes, I allow that that blood was applied by the man to the door-post, but it was only so applied as he was influenced by a solemn power. It was done by the man himself for the family — I mean the head of the household representing the household — but that was because he was influenced so to do, by sovereign power and sovereign grace. If ever you are saved, you will not be saved in spite of yourself, but you will be saved by being made willing in the day of His power. There is no getting out of human responsibility. There is no getting away from the fact that there are Divine commands. There are Divine promises, but they are linked with Divine commands. There is the promise that will enable you to keep the command, but bear in mind that you will have to put on the blood, though it will be by the sweet constraint and sovereign power of grace.

IV. And now we must pass on to THE EFFECT OF THE APPLICATION OF BLOOD. We know how God passed through and smote of every household of Egypt the firstborn, but not one died in Israel. Oh, if you could have known the agony some doubtless were in as they sat in their houses that night waiting for the midnight hour to strike — all awake — strong and healthy — not one sick one was found amongst them — not having retired to rest because they needed it not, but all feasting, and yet listening — eating in haste because they wanted to listen as well as because they wanted soon to depart — listening to the death-shrieks of those who were smitten by the angel passing by — wondering whether the angel would come there or not. At last the angel comes, and passes on. Oh, I could think of that till it thrills through me! Did the angel sweep his wing through the air with a perceptible sound, or was all silent till the shriek of death rose again? What it was like I know not; but I think it must have been — oh, it must have been an awful hour to the children of Israel, though it was a gladsome one to their souls! Perhaps at that time there were anxious inquirers too, saying, "Oh, but we cannot see the blood." Ah, but the angel can; the promise is not, "When you see the blood I will pass over you," but, "When I see the blood." And I dare say there was somewhat of trembling and anxiety lest the blood should hot have been put on rightly, or lest something should have been omitted. I have no doubt they did not feel perfectly secure till the angel had passed by, and they were safe, secure, and passed over. And so it happens with the Christian. Though he may have believed in Christ there will come times when he will be inclined to say, "I cannot see the blood," and when he will be very downcast lest death should come to him then, and he should not be quite secure. So then, there may be fear, and trembling, and doubting, and yet perfect security. But still I am certain of this — God would have us to be sure of it and to trust Him. And yet I feel this also, He would have us not to be high-minded, but to fear; for He says, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." Therefore the effect of the application of this blood is this — it is certain you will be passed over, but at the same time you must not be too high-minded — still trusting the blood — never forgetting that you may deceive yourself.

V. And now just to put TWO OR THREE POSSIBLE CASES WHERE THIS BLOOD SHALL NOT BE APPLIED. I go to the entrance of a solitary Israelitish house, and see there are signs of mourning about it. I enter, and I find the mother with the corpse of her firstborn child upon her knees. She is crying, "O my son, my son, would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!" I say, "How is it that death should have smitten him down? Did you not put the blood upon the doorpost? No, you did not, or he would not have been killed. I see no blood upon the door-post — how is this?" "Oh, I never heard of such a thing as blood — I did not know of it." "Oh!" says one, "did no man care for my soul? I never heard of the message of mercy till it was too late, and we never were told that death was coming, nor of salvation from the wrath to come, and we have perished for lack of knowledge." Now, I put it seriously to you, and after the manner of men, of course: Are there not souls lost in the same way now? Are not the heathen crying out perpetually? Does not a wail from the uttermost parts Of the earth penetrate the air? Now, let us pass on to another cause. I come to another house, and I find them wailing. I say, "How is this?" The head of the household says, "Oh, my boy, my boy! I was passing by, and I heard an elder saying something to the people; I went still further, and heard another elder of Israel saying something to a great crowd; but I went on. I did not know what was going on, for I had just bought a yoke of oxen, and was going to prove them — or purchased a piece of land — and I was so occupied with these things that I did not think to listen. My whole heart was engrossed and engaged upon these things, and I did not think about the plague; and now see the result. Death has come, and we have been struck down in this way." Ah, how many of you will be struck down in the same way! God's servants have been preaching about faith, and the wrath to come; but you have been too busy to trouble your minds with such things. I will suppose another case. I say, "How is this, my man? You are perfectly aware of it, I know, because Elder So-and-so took care to tell you of it." "Yes, I am without excuse, I admit; but you know, sir, I thought to-morrow would have done quite as well as to-day, and so I put it off till to-morrow, and so now my boy is gone." Oh, delay not, for delays are dangerous — procrastination is the thief of time. I could go on giving instances of persons who are thus lost; let me give one more and I have done. I go to a house and I see death there. "What!" I say, "another case of delusion? Whose is the mistake here? I see the lamb, I believe you have been feasting — I see preparations for the passover, and yet there is death. How is this? "Well, sir," they reply, "we thought of everything, but we forgot the blood." Ah, many will have at the last day Christianity, but no Christ — they will have everything but the blood. They will say, "Lord, Lord," but He shall say, "I never knew you; ye never knew Me; ye may have spoken My words, but you never had Me in your hearts." It is not Christianity in its most perfect form, or most sanctimonious garb, or most earnest, zealous efforts before the world — it is not Christianity at all that saves, but Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ alone.

(J. A. Spurgeon.)

1. The first feature which strikes us is, that the rite was of Divine appointment. This significant Hebrew ceremony would never have been thought of by an Israelite himself. It would have been the last thing that would have suggested itself, on the concluding night of bondage, to kill one of the members of their flock and sprinkle door-post and lintel with its blood. The method of the great Divine Expiation for the sins of the world was pre-eminently God's devising. What human mind would ever have formulated such an idea as that the Eternal would send to this apostate earth of ours the Prince of Life and Lord of Glory, in order to effect, through a death of self-surrender and suffering, the emancipation and final salvation of His people?

2. Let us note, next, the name and nature of the appointed victim — a lamb. The animal of all others that seems to suggest the idea of innocence and meekness. In the lion's whelp, with all its playfulness, there is early discerned the incipient fierceness of untamable years. It seems to us a poor reason which some have given for the selection of the paschal offering, that it was what could most readily be furnished by the shepherds of Goshen from their herds. Let us see, rather, in this first simple element in the typical significance, what the writer of an after age calls, "the meekness and gentleness of Christ."

3. As a further expansion of this thought, the selected paschal lamb was to be "without blemish." Plague-mark or disease or infirmity dare not attach to it. No animal would be accepted with torn fleece or broken limb. Christ was "a Lamb without blemish and without spot." He "offered Himself without spot to God." As one flaw or vein in the marble fatally damages the sculptor's work; as one speck in the lens of microscope or telescope destroys its use and demands a recasting; as one leak would inevitably submerge the noblest vessel that ever rode the waters; so, one leak in the Mighty Ark of Mercy would have been fatal to His qualifications as a ransom for the guilty. Blessed be His name, the Lamb "slain for us" was "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners." What a host of witnesses conspired on earth to testify to His immaculate purity!

4. The paschal lamb was not only without blemish, but "a male of the first year"; that is to say, had attained its full growth. It was the choicest of the fold. It was, in its lowly way, the type of absolute perfection. Behold again, a yet additional attestation to the all-perfect Sacrifice! It surely adds to the touching thought of His death, that it was just when the adorable Saviour had attained all that was complete as the Ideal of humanity, that "He was taken out of the land of the living." The Heavenly Flower was cut down, not when in early incipient bud, but in amplest blossom. The pure white Lily bowed its head, not when the latent beauty was undeveloped, but when it had fully revealed its "calyx of gold." The Divine Tree of Life succumbed to the axe, not in the early spring when its branches were unclothed and the fruit unformed; neither in late autumn, with the leaves prematurely seared — but in the full summer of its glory; when every bough was laden with verdure and hanging with richest clusters. The magnificent Temple fell, not when half upreared, nor yet when toil and suffering had left their lines and furrows on the gleaming marble; but rather, just when the top stone had been brought forth with shouting, and the cry arose, "Grace, grace unto it!"

5. The paschal lamb was separated from the flock and kept alive four days. This formed a further Divine injunction, as you will find by reference to the detailed instructions in the opening of the chapter from which our text is taken (vers. 3, 6). Christ, as we have already seen, was designated for His atoning work and sacrifice in the counsels of the Father from the foundation of the world.

6. The paschal lamb — after being presented "on the fourteenth day of the first month, at full moon, between the evenings" — was slain. Here is the foundation truth of the gospel: "the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." Yes, the "sprinkling"; for observe, that under the varying forms of observance in earlier and later Jewish times, this expressive action was rigidly preserved. Not enough for you or for me is the slaying of the Lamb: in other words, the mere historical fact that the Divine-human Victim died. The Israelite might have piled buttress on buttress, pyramid on pyramid, to effect exclusion. He might have strengthened his dwelling with bars of brass and pillars of iron, lintels and door-posts of cunning workmanship. The Destroyer's weapon would have cleft them in sunder. "Neither is there salvation in any other." The work of Jesus must stand alone in all its solitary grandeur and sufficiency. "When I see the blood" — "the blood," says God — "I will pass over you." The final injunction to the Hebrews regarding their offering; viz., that after the carcass of the victim was "roast with fires," it was to be eaten: the whole was to be eaten, nothing was to be left. What, among others, is one great spiritual lesson here inculcated? That it is not enough to rest satisfied with the initial act of pardon and forgiveness through the blood of the Cross. Christ must not only be looked to by simple faith, but in His own expressive but much misunderstood and misinterpreted words and simile, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except" (in a lofty, spiritual sense) "ye eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, ye have no life in you."

(J. R. Macduff, D. D.)

There is a legend that on that night of the Exodus a young Jewish maiden — the firstborn of the family — was so troubled on her sick-bed that she could not sleep. "Father," she anxiously inquired, "are you sure that the blood is there?" He replied that he had ordered it to be sprinkled on the lintel. The restless girl will not be satisfied until her father has taken her up and carried her to the door to see for herself; and lo! the blood is not there! The order had been neglected, and before midnight the father makes haste to put on his door the sacred token of protection. The legend may be false; but it teaches a very weighty and solemn admonition to every sinful soul who may be near eternity and is not yet sheltered under the atonement of Jesus Christ.

(T. L. Cuyler.)

"In what way can the death of Christ, considered as a sacrifice of expiation, be conceived to operate to the remission of sins?" Archbishop Magee replies: "To this the Christian answer is, 'I know not, nor does it concern me to know, in what manner the sacrifice of Christ is connected with the forgiveness of sins; it is enough that this is declared by God to be the medium through which my salvation is effected. I pretend not to dive into the counsels of the Almighty. I submit to His wisdom.'"

A very useful lesson is taught in the following striking incident: "One night I found," says a minister, "at a meeting, two lads of sixteen years of age sitting in a corner with their open Bibles. One had already been conversing with me; I had noticed the other in an anxious state. 'Well, Johnny,' I said, 'what are you and George doing here?' 'I am trying to clear up his doubts,' said Johnny. 'What does he doubt?' 'His interest in Christ' 'Well, what are you doing?' 'I am pointing him to the blood.' 'But is he not looking there already?' 'Perhaps he is, but I'm telling him to look till it grows on him.'" Ah, that is what we want; to look at the remedy till it so grows as to annihilate guilt; to look at Christ and heaven till they so grow upon us as to outshine and eclipse the world. To look at the pattern He has set us till it grows in glory, and we grow through the power of the Spirit more "into the same image"!

(J. Cox.)

On board a British man-of-war there was but one Bible among seven hundred men. This belonged to a pious sailor who had made a good use of it. He had read it to his comrades, and, by God's blessings on his labours, a little band of praying men was formed that numbered thirteen. One day this ship was going into battle. Just before the fight began, these thirteen men met together to spend a few moments in prayer. They committed themselves to God's care, not expecting to meet again in this world. Their ship was in the thickest of the fight. All around them men were stricken down by death. Two of these men were stationed with three others in charge of one of the guns. The other three men were killed by a single cannon-ball, bat there in safety stood the two praying men. They had agreed that when the battle was over those who might still be alive should meet if possible. They met soon after, and what was their joy to find the whole thirteen were there. Not one of them had even been wounded. What a blessed shelter it was that protected those men of prayer!

(R. Newton.)

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