|« Prev||Sermon 55. The Exodus||Next »|
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, December 9, 1855, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.
“And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.”—Exodus 12:41.
IT IS our firm conviction and increasing belief, that the historical books of Scripture were intended to teach us by types and figures spiritual things. We believe that every portion of Scripture history is not only a faithful transcript of what did actually happen, but also a shadow of what happens spiritually in the dealings of God with his people, or in the dispensations of his grace towards the world at large. We do not look upon the historical books of Scripture as being mere rolls of history, such as profane authors might have written, but we regard them as being most true and infallible records of the past, and also most bright and glorious foreshadowings of the future, or else most wondrous metaphors and marvellous illustrations of things which are verily received among us, and most truly felt in the Christian heart. We may be wrong—we believe we are not; at any rate, the very error has given us instruction, and our mistake has afforded us comfort. We look upon the book of Exodus as being a book of types of the deliverances which God will give to his elect people: not only as a history of what he has done, in bringing them out of Egypt by smiting the first-born, leading them through the Red Sea, and guiding them through the wilderness, but also as a picture of his faithful dealings with all his people, whom by the blood of Christ he separates from the Egyptians, and by his strong and mighty hand takes out of the house of their bondage and out of the land of their slavery. Last Sabbath evening we had the type of the Passover—the Paschal Lamb; and we showed you then, how the sprinkled blood, and the eaten lamb, were types of the blood applied for our justification, and of the flesh received by inward communion with Jesus, the soul living and feeding upon him. We now take the Exodus, or the going of the children of Israel out of Egypt, as being a type and picture of the going out of all the vessels of mercy from the house of their bondage, and the deliverance of all the lawful captives from the chains of their cruel taskmasters, by sovereign and omnipotent grace, through the Passover of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The land of Egypt is a picture of the house of bondage into which all God’s covenant people will, sooner or later, be brought on account of their sin. All those whom God means to give an inheritance in Canaan, he will first take down into Egypt. Even Jesus Christ himself went into Egypt before he appeared publicly as a teacher before the world, that in his instance, as well as in that of every Christian, the prophecy might be fulfilled—“Out of Egypt have I called my Son.” Every one who enjoys the liberty wherewith Christ doth make us free, must first feel the galling bondage of sin. Our wrists must be made to smart by the fetters of our iniquity, and our backs must be made to bleed by the lash of the law—the taskmaster which drives us to Jesus Christ. There is no true liberty which is not preceded by true bondage; there is no true deliverance from sin, unless we have first of all groaned and cried unto God, as did the people of Israel when in bondage in Egypt. We must all serve in the brick-kiln; we must all be wearied with toiling among the pots; or otherwise we could never realize that glorious verse—“Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.” We must have bondage before liberty; before resurrection there must come death; before life there must come corruption; before we are brought out of the horrible pit and the miry clay we must be made to exclaim, “I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing;” and ere, like Jonah, we can be fetched out of the whale’s belly, and delivered from our sin, we must have been taken down to the bottoms of the mountains, with the weeds wrapped about our heads, shuddering under a deep sense of our own nothingness and fearing that the earth with her bars was about us for ever. Taking this as key, you will see that the deliverance out of Egypt is a beautiful picture of the deliverance of all God’s people from the bondage of the law and the slavery of their sins.
I. First, consider THE MODE OF THEIR GOING OUT. When the children of Israel went out of Egypt it is a remarkable thing that they were forced out by the Egyptians. Those Egyptians who had enriched themselves with their slavery, said, “Get ye hence, for we be all dead men;” they begged and entreated them to go; yea, they hurried them forth, gave them jewels that they might depart, and made them quit the land. And it is a striking thing, that the very sins which oppress the child of God in Egypt, are the very things that drive him to Jesus. Our sins makes slaves of us while we are in Egypt, and when God the Holy Spirit stirs them up against us, how do they beat us with cruel lashes, till our soul is worn with extreme bondage; but those very sins, by God’s grace, are made the means of driving us to the Saviour. The dove fleeth not to its cote unless the eagle doth pursue it; so sins like eagles pursue the timid soul, making it fly into the clefts of the Rock Christ Jesus to hide itself. Once, beloved, our sins kept us from Christ; but now every sin drives us to him for pardon. I had not known Christ if I had not known sin; I had not known a deliverer, if I had not smarted under the Egyptians. The Holy Spirit drives us to Christ, just as the Egyptians drove the people out of Egypt.
Again: the children of Israel went out of Egypt covered with jewels and arrayed in their best garments. The Jews have ever on their feast days been desirous of wearing jewels and all kinds of goodly apparel; and when they were too poor to possess them, they would borrow jewels for the purpose. So it was at this remarkable Passover. They had been so oppressed that they had kept no festival for many a year; but now they all arrayed themselves in their best garments, and at the command of God did borrow of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment; “and the things as they required: and they spoiled the Egyptians.” Let none say that this was robbery. It would have been, had it not been commanded of God; but as a king can set aside his own laws, so God is above his laws, and whatsoever he orders is right. Abraham would have been guilty of murder in taking up his knife to slay his son, had not God commanded him to do so; but the fact of God having commanded the action, made it justifiable and right. But, moreover, the word “borrowed” here is by the best translators said to mean nothing more than that the children of Israel asked them for their jewels, and had no intention whatever of returning them, and entered into no agreement to do so; and it was most just, that they should do this, because they had toiled for the Egyptians for years, without having had any remuneration. Sometimes necessity has no law: how much more shall that God who is above all necessities be the master of his own laws? The great Potentate, the only wise God, the King of kings, hath a right to make what laws he pleases; and let not vain man dare to question his Maker, when his Maker gives him a command. But the fact is very significant. The children of Israel did not go out of Egypt poorly clad; they went out with their best clothing on, and moreover, they had borrowed jewels of gold, and jewels of silver, and raiment; and they went gladly out of the land. Ah! beloved, that is just how a child of God comes out of Egypt. He does not come out of his bondage with his old garments of self-righteousness on: oh! no; as long as he wears those he will always keep in Egypt; but he marches out with the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ upon him, and adorned with the goodly graces of the Holy Spirit. Oh! beloved, if you could see a child of Israel coming out of the bondage of sin, you would say, “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness?” Is this the poor slave that was making bricks without straw? Is this the wretch who had nothing but rags and tatters on him? Is this the poor creature whose whole person was soiled with the mud of Egypt’s river, and who laboured in Goshen’s land without a wage or pay? Yes, it is he; and now he is arrayed like a king, and apparelled as a prince. Lo, each of these men of labour cometh like a bridegroom decked for his wedding, and their wives seem like royal brides clad in their bridal robes. Every child of God, when he comes out of Egypt, is arrayed in goodly apparel.
“Strangely, my soul, art thou arrayed,
By the great sacred Three;
In sweetest harmony of praise.
Let all thy powers agree.”
Note, moreover, that these people obtained their jewels from the Egyptians. God’s people never lose anything by going to the house of bondage. They win their choicest jewels from the Egyptians. “Strangely true it is, sins do me good,” said an old writer once, “because they drive me to the Saviour; and so I get good by them.” Ask the humble Christian where he got his humility, and ten to one he will say that he got it in the furnace of deep sorrow on account of sin. See another who is tender in conscience: where did he get that jewel from? It came from Egypt, I’ll be bound. We get more by being in bondage, under conviction of sin, that we often do by liberty. That bondage state, under which thou art now labouring, thou poor way-worn child of sorrow, shall be good for thee; for when thou comest out of Egypt thou wilt steal jewels from the Egyptians; thou wilt have won pearls from thy very convictions. “Oh!” say some, “I have been for months and years toiling under a sense of sin, and cannot get deliverance.” Well, I hope you will get it soon; but if you do not, you will have gained all the more jewels by stopping there, and when you come out, you will very likely make the best of Christians. What more noble preacher to sinners than John Bunyan? And who suffered more than he did? For years he was doubting and hesitating, sometimes thinking that Christ would save him, at other times thinking that he was never one of the elect, and continually bemoaning himself; but he got jewels while he was in bondage that he would never have obtained anywhere else. Who could have made a large collection of jewels like Pilgrim’s Progress, if he had not lived in Egypt? It was because he tarried so long in Egypt that he gathered so many jewels. And oh! beloved, let us be content to stop a little while in distress; for the jewels that we shall win there will adorn us all our lives long, and we shall one night come out of Egypt, not with weeping, but with songs and crowns of rejoicing. We shall have “the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness;” the sackcloth shall be removed from our loins, and the ashes from our head, and we shall march forth decked with jewels, glittering with gold and silver.
But there is one more thought concerning the way of their coming out; and that is, they came out in haste. I think a child of God, whenever he has the opportunity of coming out of bondage, will quickly avail himself of it. When a man comes to me, and says, “I am under deep conviction of sin,” and so on, and seems to be very well content, talking about to-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, and saying, “I can repent when I please, and I can believe when I please,” and always procrastinating!—Ah! I think to myself, that is not the Lord’s deliverance, for when his people go forth out of Egypt, they are always in a hurry to get out. I never met with a poor sinner under a sense of sin, who was not in haste to get his burden off his back. No man has a broken heart, unless he wants to have it bound up directly. ”To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart,” says the Holy Ghost; he never say to-morrow; to-day is his continual cry, and every true-born Israelite will pant to get out of Egypt, whenever he has the opportunity. He will not stop to knead his dough, and make his bread to carry with him; but he will carry the unleavened bread on his shoulders, he will be in such a hurry to get away. He who hateth the noisomeness of the dungeon, longeth to hear the wards of the lock creak, that he may find liberty; he who hath been long in the pit hasteth to escape; he who hath suffered the task-master’s whip fleeth like a dove unto his window, that he may find peace and deliverance in Christ Jesus.
II. But having noticed three points of similarity in the emigration of the Israelites and the deliverance of God’s people, we would lead your attention, secondly, to a remark concerning THE MAGNITUDE OF THIS DELIVERANCE. Did it never strike you what a wonderful exodus of the people of Israel this was? Do you know how many people went out? According to the very lowest calculations, there must have been two millions and a half, all assembled together in one place, and all coming out of the country at one time. And then, besides these, there went out with them an exceeding great company—a mixed multitude. The number must have been so large that it is impossible to imagine it. Suppose the people of London should all go out at once to march through a wilderness; it would be a marvellous thing in history, such as we can hardly conceive of; but here were, to say the least, two millions of people, all at one time coming out from the midst of Egypt, and going forth from the country. “They journeyed,” it is said, “from Rameses to Succoth.” Rameses was where they were employed in building a city for the king. They stayed in Succoth, or booths. Because such an immense multitude could not find houses, they therefore made booths; and hence the children of Israel ever afterwards kept “the feast of tabernacles,” to commemorate their building of the booths at Succoth, when they first of all came out of Egypt. What a mind Moses must have had, to direct so great an army; or rather what a spirit must that have been that rested on him, so that he could lead them all to one place, and then guide them all through the wilderness; if you bear in mind this mighty number, you will be astonished to think what a quantity of manna it must have required to feed them, and what a stream of water that must have been which followed them! Talk of the armies of Xerxes, or the host of the Persians; speak of the mighty armies that kings and potentates have assembled! Here was an army that outvied them all. But oh! beloved, how much grandeur is there in the thought of the multitudes Christ redeems with his blood. Christ did not die to save a few; “he shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be abundantly satisfied.” “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many.” “A multitude which no man can number” shall stand before the throne of God and of the Lamb. Oh! wondrous the stars of heaven, nor the dust of the earth, nor the sand of the sea; but let us remember that God hath promised to Abraham—“As the sand upon the sea shore, even so shall thy seed be.” “Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel?” They lick up the earth like water, and the land is utterly devoured before them. Oh! mighty God! how great is that deliverance which bringeth out a host of thine elect, more countless than the stars and as innumerable as the sands upon a thousand shores! all hail to thy power that doeth all this!
You will have another idea of the greatness of this work, when you think of the different stations which the children of Israel must have occupied. I suppose they were not all equally destitute; they were not all toiling in the same brick-kilns, but some of them would be in one place, some in another—some working in the king’s court, some for the meaner Egyptians—dispersed every where; but whatever they might be, they all came from hence. If Pharoah had slaves in his halls, they marched out the self-same day from his golden-gated palace, at Memphis or at Thebes. They all came forth that same day from their different situations, and guided by God they all came to one spot, where they built their booths, and called it Succoth. As when the autumn doth decline, and the winter approacheth, we have seen the chattering swallows gather upon the house-top, prepared for distant flights beyond the purple sea, where they might find another summer in another land, so did these Israelites from all their countries thus assemble, and stand together, about to take their flight across a trackless wilderness to that land of which God had told them saying, “Behold, I will bring you into a land that floweth with milk and honey.” Oh! great and glorious works of God! “great are thy works, O Lord, and marvellous are thy doings; and that my soul knoweth right well.”
I would have you, beloved, particularly remember one thing; and that is, that great as this emigration was, and enormous as were the multitudes that quitted Egypt, it was only one Passover that set them all free. They did not want two celebrations of the supper; they did not need two angels to fly through Egypt; it was not necessary to have two deliverances: but all in one night, all by the Paschal Lamb, all by the Passover supper, they were saved. Look at yonder host above! See ye the blood-washed throng of souls, chosen of God and precious? Can you tell their number? Can you count the small dust of the beatified ones before the throne? Ah! no; but here is a thought for you. They did not want two Christs to save them; they did not require two Holy Spirits to deliver them; nor did it need two sacrifices to bring them there.
“Ask them whence their victory came,
They with united breath
Ascribe their victory to the Lamb,
Their triumph in his death.”
One agonizing sacrifice, one death on Calvary, one bloody sweat on Gethsemane, one shriek of “It is finished.” consummated all the work of redemption. Oh! the precious blood of Christ! I love it when I think it saves one sinner; but oh! to think of the multitude of sinners that it saves! Beloved, we do not think enough of our Lord Jesus Christ; we have not half such an estimation of his precious person as we ought to have. We do not value his blood at the right price. Why, poor sinner, thou art saying this morning, “This blood cannot save me.” What! not save thee, when it is engaged to save thousands upon thousands, and myriads of myriads? Shall the shepherd who gathereth the whole flock together, and leadeth them unto the pastures lose a single lamb? Thou sayest, perhaps, “I am so little.” For that very reason then, thou dost not want so much of his power to take care of thee. “But,” says one, “I am so great a sinner.” Ay, then, so much the better, for he “came to save sinners, of whom I am chief,” said Paul; and he came to save thee. Ah! do not fear, ye sons of God; he who brought the Israelites all out in one night can bring you all out, though you are in the veriest bondage. Perhaps there is one of you who not only has to make bricks without straw, but has to make twice as many bricks as any one else, you think, and your taskmaster has a whip which goes right round you, and cuts the flesh off you every time; you have worse bondage than any one, your slavery is more intense, your oven hotter, your pots harder to make. Very well, I am glad of it: how sweet liberty will be to thee! and I will tell you, you shall not be left in Egypt; for if you were, what would old Pharaoh say? “He said he would bring them all out, but he has not; there is one left;” and he would parade that poor Israelite through the streets, he would take him through Memphis and Thebes, and say, “There is one that God would not deliver; there is one I had so tight in my grasp that he could not get him out!” Ah! master devil! you shall not say that of one of the Lord’s people; they shall all be there, the great and the small; this unworthy hand shall take the hand of the blessed St. Paul; they shall all be in heaven, shall all be redeemed, shall all be saved; but all, mark you, through one sacrifice, one covenant, one blood, one Passover.
III. This bring us to speak more fully of THE COMPLETENESS OF THEIR DELIVERANCE. Our text says,—“It came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” Our dear Arminian friends think that some of the Lord’s people will not come out of Egypt, but will be lost at last. Ah! well, as good Hart says—
“If one poor saint may fall away,
It follows so may all;”
and none of us are safe and secure. Therefore, we do not give way to that. But all the hosts came out of Egypt, every one of them; not a soul was left behind. There is a poor man that was lame. Ah! you see him throw away his crutches. There is a poor woman sick; ay, but she suddenly rises from her bed. There is another palsied, who can by no means lift himself up, but his frame in a moment becomes firm, ”for there was not one feeble person in all their tribes.”—Psalm 105:37. There is a poor little babe who knows nothing about it; but still it leaves Egypt, carried by its mother. The old greyheaded sire tottered not on his staff. Though eighty years of age, yet he was a son of Israel, and out he came. There was a youth who had just begun to have his shoulders galled; but though he was young the time was come for him, and out he came. They all came out, every one of them; there was not one left behind. I do not suppose they had any hospitals there; but if they had, I am sure they did not leave any of them in the hospital, but all were healed in an instant. There was one Israelite who had rebelled against the government of Moses, and said, “Who made you a judge and a divider over us?” But they did not leave him behind; even he came out. All of them came out; nor do we find that there was some poor shrivelled creature whose arms and legs were almost useless, and who was half an idiot, whose brain was nearly gone, left behind. So beloved, if you are “the meanest lamb in Jesus’ fold,” you are “one in Jesus now;” though you have very little learning, and very little common sense, you will come out of Egypt. If the Lord has put you there in bondage, and you have been made to groan there, he will make you sing by-and-by, when you are redeemed from it. There is no fear of your being left behind; for if you were, Pharoah would say, “He delivered the strong ones, but he was not able to fetch out the weak;” and then there would be laughter in hell against the might and omnipotence of God. They all came out.
But not only so; they all had their cattle with them. As Moses said, “Not a hoof shall be left behind.” They were to have all their goods, as well as their persons. What does this teach us? Why, not only that all God’s people shall be saved, but that all God’s people ever had shall be restored. All that Jacob ever took down to Egypt shall be brought out again. Have I lost a perfect righteousness in Adam? I shall have a perfect righteousness in Christ. Have I lost happiness on earth in Adam? God will give me much happiness here below in Christ. Have I lost heaven in Adam? I shall have heaven in Christ; for Christ came not only to seek and to save the people that were lost, but that which was lost; that is, all the inheritance, as well as the people; all their property. Not the sheep merely, but the good pasture that the sheep had lost: not only the prodigal son, but all the prodigal son’s estates. Everything was brought out of Egypt; not even Joseph’s bones were left behind. The Egyptians could not say that they had a scrap of the Israelites’ property—not even one of their kneading troughs, or one of their old garments. And when Christ shall have conquered all things to himself, the Christian shall not have lost one atom by the toils of Egypt, but shall be able to say, “O death where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” O hell, where is thy triumph? Thou has not a flag nor a pennon to show of thy victory; there is not a casque or a helmet left upon the battle-field; there is not a single trophy which thou mayest raise up in hell in scorn of Christ. He hath not only delivered his people, but they have gone out with flying colours, taking their shields with them. Stand and admire and love the Lord, who thus delivers all his people.
IV. This brings us to notice, in the fourth place, THE TIME WHEN THE ISRAELITES CAME OUT OF EGYPT. “It came to pass at the end of four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” God had promised to Abraham that his people should be in bondage four hundred and thirty years, and they were not in bondage one day more. As soon as God’s bond became due, though it had been drawn four hundred and thirty years before, he paid the bill; he required no more time to do it in, but he did it at once. Christopher Ness says, they had to tarry for the fulfillment of the promise till the night came; for though he fulfilled it the selfsame day, he made them stay to the end of it, to prove their faith. He was wrong there, because scripture days begin at night. “The evening and the morning were the second day.” So that God did not make them wait, but paid them at once. As soon as the day came, beginning with our night, as the Jewish day does now, and the scriptural day always did—as soon as the clock struck—God paid his bond. We have heard of some landlords who come for their rent at twelve o-clock precisely. Well, we admire a man’s honesty if he pays him exactly at that minute; but God is never behind hand in fulfilling his promises, not by the ticking of a clock. Though his promise seem to tarry, wait for it; you may be mistaken as to the date; if he has promised anything on a certain day, he will not keep you waiting till the morrow. The selfsame day that the Lord had promised, the Israelites came out. And so all the Lord’s people shall come out of bondage at the predestined moment: and they cannot possibly come out of bondage before the appointed time. O thou poor distressed heir of heaven, groaning under sin, and seeking rest, but finding none, believe that it is the Lord’s will that thou shouldst be a little longer where there is a smoking furnace. Wait a little he is doing thee good. Like Jesus of old, he is speaking hardly to thee, to try thy faith; he is telling thee now that thou art a dog, because he wants to hear thee say, “Truth, Lord, but the dogs eat of the crumbs.” He would not keep thee waiting, if thine eagerness did not thereby get fresh vigour; he would not keep thee crying, if he did not mean to make it a sign of better grace to you for the future. Therefore wait; for you shall come out of Egypt, and have a joyous rescue in that day when they shall come with singing unto Zion, with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads.
But now, beloved, we must finish up in a very solemn manner, by reminding you of the companions that came out of Egypt with the children of Israel. When the children of Israel came out of Egypt, there were certain persons in Egypt, dissatisfied with the king—very likely culprits, condemned persons, debtors, bankrupts, and such like persons, who were tired of their country, and who, as is wittily said of those who are transported, “left their country for their country’s good.” But though these people went with the children of Israel, mark you, they were not of them. They escaped, but the door was not opened to let them out; it was only opened to let out the children of Israel. It is said that the mixed multitude fell a lusting; it was the mixed multitude that taught them to worship the golden calf; it was the mixed multitude that always led them astray. And that mixed multitude have their representatives now. There are many men that came out of the land of Egypt who never were Israelites; and there are many that join with us in church fellowship, and eat that spiritual bread, and drink of that spiritual rock that followed them; and yet with many of them God is not well-pleased, just as there were many of old with whom he was not well-pleased, and who were overthrown in the wilderness. “Ah!” says one, “but I thought if they had been in Egypt, certainly if they came out they must have been Christians; for you have used the metaphors.” Ay, yes, but mark how these people were in Egypt. This mixed multitude was never in bondage in Egypt. It was Israel that had to feel the task-master’s whip, and to make the bricks without straw. But these fellows had nothing to do. They were Egyptians themselves—true-born Egyptians—“heirs of sin and children of wrath;” they never had any real bondage, and therefore they could not rejoice as the true Israelite did, when they were set free from the yoke of Pharaoh. These people are represented amongst us by certain persons, who will tell us, “Ah! I know I have been a sinner.” That is as much as to say you have been an Egyptian, and that is all: “but I cannot say, I have felt my sin, and utterly abhored it and wept over it.” They come and say, “I am a sinner,” hear something about Jesus Christ, catch at it with a fancied faith—not with the faith that unites with the Lamb and brings us true salvation, but with a notional, pretended faith, and they get deliverance; and some of these people are marvellously happy; they do not have doubts and fears; they are at ease, like Moab; they have not been emptied from vessel to vessel. They can tell us about Egypt, of course; they know as much about it as the child of God. If the child of God describes the brick-kiln, and how they made bricks without straw, he has seen it, though he has not felt it; and he can talk about it, perhaps better than the poor Israelite; for the poor Israelite has sometimes been smitten on the mouth, it may be, so that he stammers, and cannot speak so well as the other, who never had a blow. He knows all about the bondage; perhaps he has invented some of it, in order to try the poor Israelite; and he can describe very accurately the going out of Egypt and the journey through the wilderness. But here is the difference, mark you, between the Israelites and the Egyptians. The Egyptians did not sprinkle the blood on the door-posts; and we do not read of the mixed multitude eating the paschal lamb, for it is written, “No stranger shall eat thereof.” Some persons are continually saying, “I believe I am going to heaven;” but they have never sprinkled the blood, never eaten the paschal Lamb, never had fellowship with Christ, and never had vital union with him.
O ye members of Christian churches! there are many of you who have a feigned experience and a feigned religion. How many there are of you who have the externals merely of godliness! ye are white-washed sepulchres, outwardly fair and beautiful, like the garnished gardens of a cemetery; but inwardly ye are full of dead men’s bones and rottenness! Be persuaded, I beseech you, to get no deliverance any way except by the blood of the Lamb, and by really feasting on Christ. Many a man gets a deliverance by stifling his conscience. “Ah!” says one of these mixed multitude, “here am I in the prison; and this is the night when the children of Israel go out of Egypt; Oh! if I might go out!” What does he do? Why, the keeper is frightened; he has lost his eldest son, and the prisoner says, “Let me out!” and he bribes the keeper to let him go. And there is many a man that get out of Egypt by bribing his conscience. “There, master conscience,” he says, “I will never get drunk any more; I will always go to church; there is my shop, that is always open on Sunday—I will put two shutters up, and that is almost as good as closing it entirely; and I will not do the business myself—I will get a servant to do it for me.” And out he comes! But he had better remain in Egypt than get out like that. There are some again that get out by main force; the keeper falls down dead, and so they get out of prison. There are men who not only bribe, but kill their conscience; they go so far that their conscience is almost dead, and when he is in a fit one day they rush forth, and escape; and so they have “peace, peace, where there is no peace.” They wrap themselves up in the folds of their own delusions, and invent for themselves refuges of lies, where they do place their trust. O ye mixed multitude! ye are the ruin of the churches; ye set us a lusting; the pure Israelite’s blood is tainted by union with you; you sit as God’s people sit, and yet you are not his people; you hear as God’s people hear, and yet you are “in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity.” You take the sacrament as sweetly as others, while you are eating and drinking damnation to yourself; you come to the church-meeting, and you sit in the private assembly of the saints; but even when you are there, you are nothing but a wolf in sheep’s clothing, entering the flock when you ought not to be there.
My dear hearers, do try yourselves, to see whether you are real Israelites. Oh! could Christ say to you, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile.” Have you the blood on your door-post? Have you eaten of Jesus? Do you live on him? Do you have fellowship with him? Has God the Holy Ghost brought you out of Egypt? or have you come out yourself? Have you found refuge in his dear cross and wounded side? If you have, rejoice, for Pharaoh himself cannot bring you back again; but if you have not, I pray my Master to dash your peace into atoms, fair and lovely as it may be; I beseech him to send the winds of conviction and the floods of his wrath, that your house may fall now, rather than it should stand to your death, and then, in the last solemn hour, the edifice of your own hands should totter. Mixed multitude! hear ye this! ye assembled gatherings of professors! “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your-own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” But if he be not in you, then are ye reprobates still, whom God abhorreth. The Lord bring all his people out of Egypt, and deliver all his children from the house of bondage.
|« Prev||Sermon 55. The Exodus||Next »|
►Proofing disabled for this book
► Printer-friendly version