THE BLOOD—THE OLD TESTAMENT.
We have for our subject to-night, The Blood. I would like to call your attention to a few passages of Scripture in different portions of the Word of God. The first Ib in the 3d chapter of Genesis, the 31st verse: "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed them." That is the first glimpse we have of the shedding of blood.
To me it is a very sweet thought that God thus dealt in grace with Adam before he dealt in government. Some people complain of God's dealing with Adam, that he was very severe; but you will find God dealt in love with him. Some one said he put the lamp of promise into his hand before he drove him out of Eden. The first thing was the promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the •erpent's head; and in the very same chapter we find that God oonKnted to kill those innocent animals to make coats of skins. Of eourse, the blood had to be shed in order to furnish those garments. As they went out of Eden, I think Adam might have said to Eve, "These garments are a token of God's love." God clothed them. He put cherubin at the gate of the garden, and a flaming sword to protect the tree of life, that they should not oome and eat; but we find, when the right time came, he took that very sword and opened the way back to the tree of life, so that we can all come to it now, if we will.
In the 4th chapter of Genesis we find the great doctrine of the blood brought out: "And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of bis flock, and of the fat thereof; and the Lord had respect unto Abel ind to his offering." In the morning of the creation, God had marked out a way for man to go. Abel took God's way; Cain wanted to go his own way. That is always the way. If you had talked to Cain, he would have said: "I do not know why the fruit of the earth should not be more acceptable to God than the blood of the iamb. I do not understand why any one should bring blood for an offering; I am sure the ripened grain would be more acceptable to God than blood; I have a dislike for the very name of blood." You will find the world is full of Cainites and Abelites to-day. Some want to go to God in their way, and some wish to go to him in his own way. The man who goes in his own way gets no life; it is all darkness until he goes in God's way. "Abel also brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof; and the Lord had re•pect onto Abel." He was a very religious man, but religion is on* thing, and coming to God in his own way is another. There are a great many who are very religious; and yet they do not like to go in God's way. There is no doctrine in the old Bible written and spoken against so much as this very doctrine of the blood. From the time that Abel came with his bleeding lamb, man has disliked it. It shows how deceitful the heart is, that we do not like to go in God's way. These men had been brought up with the same surBoundings. Up to this time we see no difference between the two men as to education, and yet there ia a very great difference between their offerings. God accepted Abel's offering and did not accept Cain's; and consequently sin rose up in Cain's heart, and envy and hatred and malice, and he rose up and slew his brother. Sin leaped into the world full grown at one leap. The first-born was a murderer. When Abel first got to heaven and sang the song of redemption, there must have been but one soul in heaven, when he came there alone, that could sing it. The angels could not join him, and they must have heard it with surprise; but that chorus has been swelling ever since that time, swelling for the last six thousand years. The first man who went to heaven had brought a bleeding lamb, and put the blood thereof between him and his sin.
Will you look at the 8th chapter of Genesis: "And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar." It was so important that he should have blood put between him and his sin, that God had him take clean animals for a sacrifice. We find the first two thousand years men were traveling by that highway. Way back there in Eden, the scarlet line commences its course. Y>»> will find it running all through the Bible; you take it out of the Bible, and you take out all that book teaches. Those men who are trying to destroy that precious doctrine are at sea without sail; they do not know where they are. You cannot take up a place in Scripture but you find the scarlet thread running through it. If you turn over to the 22d chapter of Genesis, you will find the story of Isaac's sacrifice. Abraham went in God's way. In the 13th verse, it is said, "And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, bebind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering instead of his son." There the doctrine of the blood is foreshadowed iigain. On that mountain we catch a glimpse of the blood; on Mount Moriah, which was close to Mount Calvary, where Christ was oruoified—look at that scene!
For twenty-five long years, Abraham had been looking for that boy, and at the age of one hundred, God gave him Isaac. How he must have doted upon his boy! One night, God said to him, a few yean after: "Abraham, take your son and go up to the mountain that I will show you, and offer him there as a sacrifice." He did not offer objections and ask why God had ordered it. God had told him to have faith in him; and without consulting any one, not even his wife, he saddled an ass and took his son, and told his wife he was going up to a mountain. He took the wood for a fire, and a knife, and his son; and away he went. I can imagine that father's feelings. He said to himself: "I do not understand it; but I know that God never makes any mistake. He never has told me to do anything but that it has brought honor and glory to his own name." I can imagine how the old man looked at the boy as he lay sleeping. He said, "In a little while my boy will be gone." I can see the tears on the old man's face as he gazed at him on that first night. On the second night I can see there was a struggle going on within him as he thought, "I will only have this lovely boy one nig^ht more." The third day comes, and in the morning he lifts up his eyes, and over yonder is Mount Moriah; and he says to the two young men who are with him: "You stay here; and Isaac and myself will go yonder and worship." They had the wood; they had the knife; but the lamb they had not. On the way up that mountain, the boy said to the father: "Father, where is the sacrifice? We have no lamb." And the father said, and it seemed prophetic, "The Lord will provide a larab." And so he did, in the fullness of time—the Son of his own bosom. "My son, the Lord will provide a lamb for a sacrifice," and on they went. The two worked together and built the altar, rolled up the stones and put wood on them. When eveything was ready, I can imagine how the old man told his child that the Lord had told him to take his boy and offer him up as a sacrifice; and after that they embraced and wept together. The old man binds his boy and puts him on that altar; he takes the knife, and is ready to drive it to the heart of his child. He is resolved to make quick work of it; but even wliile his hand is lifted, there is a voice from heaven: "Abraham, Abraham, %pare thy son!" God so loved him that he spared his son; but he so loved you and me that he gave his own Son for us *1L There was no voice heard at Calvary, saying, "Spare my Son." No angel came and took him from the cross; but he gave him up for u». And when Abraham looked around him, lo! there was a rain caught in a thicket; and he took the ram and slew him and offered him up for a burnt offering. And then was that scarlet thread trickling down Mount Moriah. That was typical of God's own Son. We are told that when Abraham was on Mount Moriah, God promised him that through his seed all nations of the earth should be blessed.
Abraham walked by way of the blood. There is no other way. You cannot find any of God's children that have walked any other way. In Exodus, 12th chapter and 13th verse, you find: "And 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, and the plague shall not be upon you when I smite the land of Egypt." It is not, "And when I see your good resolutions, your tears, your agonies, I will pass over you." The blood was the token that he gave them. Some people say: "Oh, it was not the death of Christ; it was his life; it was his moral character that was significant; and you should preach up his life, and preach up his moral character." Let us preach these indeed; but let us not forget to preach his death—that Jesus Christ died for sinners, but did not live for them. He lay down his life and became a substitute for sinners. The Bible does not say that the living lamb shall be a token. If they had tied up a live lamb, death would have gone over that; but they were to take a lamb and kill it, and put its blood upon the door-posts; and when Death came down, wherever the blood was he did not go in.
Some say: "I wish I were as good as that one who has been visiting the poor and doing deeds of charity during the last fifty years; wouldn't I feel safe for heaven?" But oh, my dear friends, if you are sheltered by the blood of the Son of God, you are as safe as any man or woman on the face of the earth. That is not character, that is not deeds; it is the blood. God says, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you." Moses and Abraham and Joshua were no safer behind the blood that the little boy; it was the blood that kept Death out; it was not their good works. An old minister, when dying, said he had preached the gospel for fifty years, but when he was dying he did not rely upon his preaching or his works; but he requested them to bring his Bible to him, and put his hand upon the verse which said, "And the blood shall be to him a token," and he •aid, "I put my hope upon that verse." It was not his preaching, it was not nis good deeds; away with them. Works are all right in their place; but they do not save us. It was not what he had done, but wnat the blood had done. So, it is not the strongest, nor those who have the best character that are the safest, but those who are behind the blood. Some one said, the little fly in Noah's ark was as safe as the elephant. It was the ark that saved the elephant, just as it was the ark that saved the fly. The question is, Have you got the token? It was the most absurd thing in the world to the Egyptians, this sprinkling of the blood. I can see the haughty Egyptian riding through the town, and, seeing the blood sprinkled on the door-posts, stopping to inquire what it meant. Every one was killing a lamb, ana ne heard their bleating. He said: "You must have gone clean mad. What is that for?" They answered: "God has told us that at midnight to-night there will be a ory in Egypt, that Death is doing his work; and every house that has not got blood upon its doorposts Death will enter, and take the first-born." I can see that Egyptian now. How scornfully he looks upon those men! That is the way theworld looks now upon it. They say: "What do vou mean by the blood? The idea of being saved by the blood! The
idea that the blood of another cleanses from sin!" And the proud, haughty world scoffs at the thought. Listen! At night Death came down. He entered the palace, and the crown prince was laid low; and so on through every house in Ej.rpt, taking the first-born alike of the rich and the poor. And only faith, and its sign in blood upon the door-posts, kept him out. The blood of Jesus Christ, when it comes, will be worth more than all the world. Your wealth, culture and refinement cannot help you, when God comes to judge the world.
The question is, Have you got the token? The world makes light and scoffs and ridicules the idea now as it did then. But the time is coming when the blood of Jesus Christ will be worth more to you than all the world. It is like Noah's ark. I can see those antediluvians scoffing at Noah. But one hour after the flood began to fall, Noah's ark was worth more than all the world put together. My friends, you had better be wise. Be sure you have got the token. If I go down to the depot and want to go to Chicago, I go to the ticket office, I buy my ticket; and when I get aboard the train the conductor don't know who I am, and he don't care who I am. It makes no difference to him whether I am white or black, learned or unlearned. The question is, have I got a ticket? Have I got the token? Pardon the illustration. The man that has got the token is safe. The man that has not got it is unsafe, I don't care what his life or character may be, and not only unsafe, but unsaved. And there is no salvation outside the blood of Jesus Christ. There is no other name whereby ye may be saved! To be sure, this scene down in Goshen was typical.
Another thought. A good many Christians wonder they are so weak, and have not more strength, and do not grow strong like other people. You will find out in the eleventh verse. "And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet and your staff in your hand." They were not only to kill the lamb, and take the blood and put it on the door-post; but they were to feed on the lamb. Now, the great trouble with Christians is, they do not feed on the Lamb. Their idea is, if you get converted and join the church, that is enough; instead of feeding on the Lamb, and getting strong and becoming giants in God's service. They have got the wilderness journey before them; and they should keep the staff in their hands, and the shoes on their feet, and feed on the Lamb. Let us learn the lesson to feed on the Lamb; and if we feed on Christ, we will have strength. If we neglect to feed and do not feed on it, ari --'ill ofn.-o.ue weak and feeble, and won't have the power.
There is another thought. "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months." All the four hundred years they had been in Egypt were rolled away. And, sinner, all these years that you are in the service of sin, you are just losing them; it is all lost time. These four hundred years they had been in bondage in Egypt, God rolled away; and said: '-This shall be the beginning of months." And you know everything dates from the blood. What is 1874? You date back to the blood; you can't help it. It is the beginning of months to you; and God made Israel date back to that night when the lamb was slain, that they might not forget the meaning of it. There is another thought in that chapter. The fourth verse is: "And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it, according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb." It don't say, "If the lamb be too little for the household." Christ is enough for any family, for any household. If you will only just take him, he is enough for the whole world and all can have him if they will.
Take now, Exodus, 29th chapter, and the 16th verse: "And thou shalt slay the ram, and take his blood and sprinkle it round about upon the altar." Now, I have not got time to picture that scene, but I want to call your attention to this. The only way the High Priest came into the presence of God was to sprinkle blood round about the altar; and if he came without the blood, he had no communion with God whatever. And from the time that Adam fell until the present time, there has been no communion with God whatever, only through the blood. I don't care who the man is, if he ignores the blood, he has no communication with heaven; he has no intercourse with heaven. There is no other way. Away back in those days, you find they oame and sprinkled blood around the altar; and then they made their request to God. Don't think, dear friends, that God will have anything to do with you unless you come to him in his way. If you attempt to come to God and ignore his Son, heaven will be as brass to you. There will be no communication between your soul and God, until you go by his way. Then in the 30th chapter and the 10th verse, "And Aa'on shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year, with the blood of the sin offering of atonements." Atonement means at one. It brings the sinner arid God at one. The only way they can come together is through the blood of Jesus.
Now, turn to Leviticus, 8th chapter and 23d verse. "And he slew it, and Moses took of the blood of it and put it upon the tip of Aaron's right ear, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot." I used to read such passages and used to say, "What in the world does that mean?" Blood upon the ear, the hand and the footl What for? It seems very plain to me now. Blood upon the ear! A man can't hear the voice of God unless he is sheltered behind the blood. It is only the blood-bought that can hear the voice of God. Why you know, in the 12th chapter of John, when God spake to his Son and said, "I have glorified my name and will glorify it again," the people said it thundered. They could not tell the difference between the voice of God and thunder. But God's own children can hear it, and they can understand it. You take a man sheltered behind the blood, and let him come into this meeting, and he will understand what I mean. But next to him a man may sit and say, "What in the world is that man talking about?" It is a mystery to him; he don't understand it. Why? Because his ear is not open. No uncircumcised ear can hear the voice of God. And it is important to hear right.
Then blood upon the hand. A man may work for God, but it is
only the blood-bought hand that can work for God. And now I tell
you, dear friends, the greatest, the grandest mistake the church of God
u making to-day, is getting ungodly men to do something for the
church. It is keeping hundreds of men out of the kingdom of God.
We take ungodly men and make them trustees of the church, and
take their money and say; "Their money is just as good as anybody
else's money;" and these men have an idea that they are buying their
way to heaven; and they are even better, in their own opinion, than
many true Christians. Then there are ungodly men singing in the
choir and helping in the service of God. No man can do anything
to please God until he is first sheltered behind the blood. I don't care
who he is; I don't care what his life has been; God cannot accept
it; he can't walk with God. Until sheltered behind the blood, he
cannot work or walk with God. A man will have no desire to walk
with God until he is sheltered behind the blood, and brought into
communion with God. God came down on sundry occasions and
talked with Abraham and Jacob; but God never came down and
walked with man until he put them behind the blood in Goshen.
When the Israelites came to the Red Sea, they went through the
Red Sea like giants. He walked with them in the wilderness. When
they wanted bread, he opened his hand and fed them; when they
wanted water, he brought it out of the rock. God walked with them.
When Christ was down here, they said to him, "What shall we do?"
Did he tell them to build colleges; teach in the Sabbath-school class;
preach to the drunkard and feed the hungry; and clothe the naked?
Ten thousand times, No! This is it: The work of God is to believe
on him; and if a man won't believe in God's Son, he cannot hope to
get to heaven in any other way. He that climbeth up the wall is a
thief and a robber. No uncircumcised hand can work for God.
No uncircumcised foot can walk with God. Some may say: "I cannot understand it; it is a very strange thing why God should demand blood." I will tell you why. He says, "The soul that sinneth shall surely die." That is the penalty. God's justice must be kept. He rides in a chariot with two wheels of which justice is one and mercy another; and justice must be done as well as mercy. Why does God demand blood? God demands life. You have sold yourselves for naught. Christ comes and takes the place of the sinner,
and dies in his stead; and it is through his precious, blessed work of atonement on Calvary that we are saved. If there is any other way, my friends, 1 cannot find it. The life of all flesh is in the blood, and God has stamped the flesh with death; and he says it shall never come into his presence. And here comes in the glorious truth of the resurrection: "I am the resurrection and the life." All lost life in the first Adam; all got it in the second. Some people say: "It is a great mystery that sin came into the world." It is a greater mystery that God came down and bore the brunt of it himself—that he took the saved into his own bosom and opened the way to the tree of life. Let me ask you to take up your Bibles and take up this great and glorious subject and study it a while; and you will have a reason for the hope within you. You will be able to tell how you are saved. It is not your good deeds, your tears, your prayers; but it is the finished work of Jesus Christ that saves you, because he died and gave himself for us. I do not believe any one can get a true glimpse of Jesus Christ without loving him.
There is a story of a man that went to California, when the excitement broke out, and left his wife and child in New England. He said as soon as he was successful he would send for them. It was a long time before he was successful; but at last he sent the money, and his wife and child came on to New York, and got on to one of those beautiful steamers, and started for San Francisco; and everything was going well. All at one, however, a cry was heard, "Fire, fire!" It ran through the vessel; the pumps were set to work and they got all the water they could; but they could not put it out. The flames gained on them, and the captain ordered out the boats. But there were not life-boats enough to take all the passengers; and among the rest left on deck was the mother of the lovely boy. The last boat was pushing away. If she did not get into that boat, she must perish. She begged of the men to take her and her boy; but they said, "We dare not take any more." Her tears and entreaties at last touched the heart of one of the men; and he said, "Let us take her." But the others would not; and at last they compromised by saying, "We will take one." What did that mother do? Did she leap into that life-boat and leave her boy behind to perish? That is not a mother's love. She hugged him, she kissed him and she dropped him over into the life-boat, and said; "If you' live to see your father, tell him I died to save you." Supposing that young boy has grown up to be a man, and he speaks contemptuously of such a mother, would you not say, " He is an ungrateful wretch r' But, sinner, what are you doing with Jesus? Did he not do move than that? Was not he numbered among the transgressors for us? Was not he wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities? Did not he die for the ungodly?
There is a story of a regiment in the Austrian army that was
jrnilty of mutiny; and as they did not want to inflict the penalty of death upon the whole regiment, they decided that one man in ten should be shot. The regiment was drawn out in line, and the officer went along taking out the tenth man. There was a father and a son. The son knew he could be spared better than the father. He was Bo anxious that the father should not be shot that he watched the officer, and saw, as he came nearer, that it would fall on his father. So the son stood behind the father, and pushed him into the place of life and took the place of death himself. So with us. We were condemned to die, and there was no hope and no way of escape; and Christ said, "Father, let me go and take that place; and he left the throne, and he came from heaven and died in our stead. And do you get up and go out of this hall and say, "I see no reason I should love Christ?" A young man said to me the other night; " I can get along without Christ; I don't need him." Well, my friend, if you can get along without him he can get along without you. But he don't want you to perish; he wants you to live. May you find refsge behind the blood of Christ is my prayer.