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Joshua 5:10-12 -

The passover and the cessation of manna.

I. THE RENEWAL OF THE COVENANT MUST BE ATTENDED WITH THE OBSERVANCE OF ITS LAWS . When the Christian desires to return and to serve God after a period of disobedience and rebellion, he must prepare himself, by repentance and mortification, to feed on the flesh of the slain Lamb of God in the sacrament which He has ordained. Thus he makes a memorial of the death of Christ, through which alone he has obtained pardon; he feeds on the flesh and blood of the Son of God; he applies to himself all the blessings which come from the Sacrifice of the Cross. And he moreover calls men to witness, by thus joining his brethren in the solemn celebration, of his intention to be henceforth an obedient servant of Christ. Thus he sets his seal to the vow of obedience which he has just made, he invokes the sympathy and assistance of his brethren in his recovery from the snare of Satan; he binds himself to them anew in his renewed participation with them in the new life of the Spirit.


1. In the history of the Church. Nothing is more remarkable than the way in which all the miraculous gifts of God, healing, prophecy, the working of miracles, ceased when Jesus Christ had ascended into heaven. Up to His coming the world had been under tutors and governors, and the Father needed continually to intervene with revelations and portents, and interferences with the ordinary course of nature. After His coming these were gradually withdrawn. The Church passed from the region of the extraordinary dispensations of God's providence to the ordinary working of His laws. Before those laws were fully matured, there needed perpetual interferences to compensate for their imperfection. His whole counsel once made known in Christ, the laws of the spiritual, like those of the natural world move on in their regular course.

2. In the history of the individual. When man is wandering in the wilderness, an alien from the covenant of God, and out of His favour, he is net under the ordinary dispensations of God's grace. He is kept alive, so far as he lives at all, by unexpected manifestations of His mercy. Smitings of conscience, restraints of circumstances, checks imposed in unexpected ways to the unrestrained indulgence of his passions, prevent him from dying a miserable death in a land where no bread or water is. But when he returns to the fold of God these extraordinary manifestations are vouchsafed no longer. There are the ordinary supplies of grace to be obtained in God's Church—the treasures of God's Holy Word, the answers to daily public and private prayer, the uplifting of the heart which follows on the exercise of prayer and praise, the outpouring of Divine life which follows on the devout reception of Holy Communion. And all these have their blessed results in a steady growth in grace. The miraculous manna ceases. In its stead we eat of the old corn of the heavenly Canaan, in which we find ourselves placed by the loving-kindness of the Lord.

III. THE PASSOVER MUST NOT BE EATEN BY THE UNCIRCUMCISED . Hence we ]earn that no one can spiritually feed on Christ who is harbouring unrepented sin. Such an one is not fit to come to the Christian Passover, the Sacrament of Holy Communion. He may "carnally and visibly press the sacrament with Iris teeth, yet is he in nowise partaker of Christ." He who would feed on "Christ our Passover," who "has been sacrificed for us," must do so with the unleavened bread of purity ( εἰλικρινεία ) and truth. And finally, none can sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb save he that hath on the wedding garment. Compare the rules for the passover in Exodus 12:43-49 ; and Numbers 9:10-14 .


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