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mies, and the power of darkness.” Accordingly we hear him, as in the commencement of this chapter, declaring unto his disciples, “ Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.”

The Passover was the great and solemn feast of the Jewish people, divinely instituted in remembrance of the powerful interposition of the great goodness of God then in exercise towards them, in wonderfully preserving them alive, whilst the destroying angel passed through the land, smiting the first-born of the Egyptians, but withholding the sword, and passing over the houses of the Israelites. An ordinance then issued forth from the Lord, commanding the sacrifice and the eating of a lamb, in grateful commemoration of this event, so long as Israel should continue a nation; until a mightier, a greater, a more universal deliverance had been effected by One, of whom the annual paschal lamb was the express type and figure.

It was to the observance of this ordinance that the message, of which our text forms a part, was given. It was Christ's determination, it was his unwearied aim, “ to fulfil all righteousness," to be in all things an example and a pattern to those who throughout after generations should believe in him. And whilst, as we read, he gathered his disciples around him, to celebrate God's mercies towards the house of Israel as a nation ; he embraced the opportunity of recommending, of commanding their adoption of an expressive, a solemn rite, to be for ever commemorative of his own death, the offering up of that life, which he freely gave, that sinners might be reconciled to God, and man redeemed unto life eternal.

The words of direction,- the words of our text, which our Saviour employed when he bade his disciples to prepare, plainly intimated that there was to be something peculiarly solemn and marked in the observance of this the annual feast,

of which they were then about to partake. “ The Master saith, my time is at hand.” The time predicted, the time prefigured, the day and the hour had arrived when a new era was to open upon the world. And to the Jewish nation, and to mankind in general, was now about to be preached, and be made manifest, the great truth, that, “ If the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh : how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered himself without spot unto God, purge your consciences from dead works, to serve the living God.” 1

To this preaching, my brethren, to this great truth, we must not turn a deaf ear; and whilst we read and contemplate the many solemn events which took place during the closing days of our Saviour's mortal career, we must not fail to be instructed thereby, and rightly to understand the nature of that life and conversation which a right faith in “ Jesus Christ and him crucified,” so peremptorily demands.

1 Heb. ix. 13.

It is to be lamented that the solemn events immediately belonging to, or connected with the death of Christ, should be in too many instances with so little practical and abiding effect annually commemorated among us.

We desire indeed no mere formal, no mere outward, no mere pageantry recollection* of what Christ, the spotless Lamb, the anointed Redeemer of the world, did, and spake, and suffered, when “His time was at hand;" but we would have these things which“ belong to," and which were wrought for, our “ peace” and for our salvation, to be ever and again renewed and deeply engraven on the hidden tablet of the heart, there to bloom, and there to bring forth fruit unto life eternal; that, according to St. Paul, “ the life we now live in the flesh, we may live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved us, and gave himself for

* On the eve of Good Friday a procession is made through the streets of Valetta by the Romish priesthood, and in which are carried on men's shoulders various large figures, or groups, representing the different scenes of our Lord's passion, cru. cifixion, and burial.

Us,"2

And for what purpose were such solemn preparations made, and why did Jesus so particularly charge, and so affectionately speak to his disciples, and why have the circumstances of the last passover of which our Lord partook with his disciples, been so minutely recorded, if these things did not involve matters of the deepest concern to the christian world, if events of vast importance were not then transacted; and that our hearts should thereby be moved to something like gratitude ; and that we should inquire and see, and constantly bear in mind, what the Lord would have us to do?

2 Gal. ii. 20.

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