The Sacred Love-Token
“And the blood shall be to you for a token.”— Exodus xii. 13.
You remember that last Sabbath morning we spoke upon the witness within the child of God. We tried to show that believers did not need any man to assure them that they are forgiven, that they could get on exceedingly well without absolution from a priest, and could know their salvation altogether apart from the ghostly father, seeing that they have the evidence of it in their own souls by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. We shall not think or speak much of that miserable impostor, the priest, this morning, for he really is not worth thinking of, but we shall continue our consideration of the witness which the Lord has given to his believing people concerning their safety in Jesus Christ. May the Holy Spirit help us while we meditate upon the most vital of all subjects, which lies at the very heart of true religion.
There are some, as we have said, who desire a token of their safety from man, a poor thing when they get it, and not worth asking for; and there are others who desire it from God in the form of a sign or a wonder, or else they will not believe. “Show me a token for good” is a prayer which is often used in a very mistaken sense. They desire some special transaction of providence, or remarkable dream, or singular feeling; but God says to all those who desire a token for good, “The blood shall be to you for a token.” What more can we desire? All the squadrons of the angelic host could not better assure us if each one brought a message from heaven. The best of all evidences of divine love is the cross. The strongest of all assurances of safety, the surest of all pledges of favour, the best token of grace that a man can possibly behold is the sprinkled blood, by which he is cleansed from sin. “The blood shall be to you for a token.”
Before we dive into this subject, let us notice that the blood which was a token to God’s people was not merely that which had been shed by the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb, but blood which had been caught in a basin, had been taken by the person at the head of the household in his own hand, and recognised as shed for him. Then the bunch of hyssop was laid asoak in the basin, and afterwards the blood was sprinkled upon the lintel and the door-posts; this blood thus appropriated was the token. By an appropriating faith we must take Christ to be ours; we must, in a word, believe in the atonement which he has made, for an atonement which is not believed in is no atonement to us. Our Lord Jesus laid down his life for us, but he that believeth not in him shall by no means partake of any of the blessings of his death.
The sprinkled blood preserved the houses of the Israelites; and it is the blood of Jesus accepted by us, relied upon, and applied to our consciences which delivers us from death. This sprinkling, moreover, was done in a very public manner; they stained the lintel and the two side posts, so that every passer-by might see it, yea, and must see it. So salvation is premised not alone to believing, but to confession with the mouth. “He that with his heart believeth, and with his mouth maketh confession of him shall be saved and so the grand commission at the end of the gospel by Mark puts it, not “he that believeth shall be saved,” but “he that believeth and is baptised shall be saved for if we believe in Christ we must not be ashamed of him. Shame about faith would argue insincerity of faith. True faith in the Saviour is so potent a principle of our lives that it must be seen whether we publish it or no, and we must be willing that it should be seen: yea, this should be the most visible point in our lives, our glory and our delight, that we do indeed believe in the Saviour Jesus Christ. Oh that every one of you, my dear hearers, used the cross for its proper purpose! I grieve that any among you should need to have it asked of you—
“Is it nothing to you, oh you that pass by,
Is it nothing to you that Jesus should die?”
The Lamb is slain but you have never caught the blood, you have never sprinkled it with the hyssop of faith, and consequently you are not saved. Oh that each one of you could say, “My faith is resting in the substitutionary work of Jesus.” I could, indeed, sing that blessed hymn just now, and I drank it in with all my heart, and I heartily wish you could all sing it too—
“Complete atonement thou hast made,
And to the utmost farthing paid
Whate’er thy people owed:
Nor can his wrath on me take place,
If shelter’d in thy righteousness,
And sprinkled with thy blood?”
Now, to the text. The blood of Jesus Christ is to Christians a token, and in order to bring out the whole sense we must have five words: it is a distinguishing token, an assuring token, a significant token, a love token, and a recognition token.
I. First, then, the blood shall be to you for a token, A DISTINGUISHING TOKEN. You could tell where the Israelite dwelt, for the blood mark was there that night; you knew the Egyptian’s abode, for he knew nothing of the token. Nothing so truly distinguishes a genuine Christian as the blood of Jesus Christ. Where the blood is not believed in nor prized there you have dead Christianity, for “the blood is the life thereof.” A bloodless gospel is a lifeless gospel; if the atonement be denied or frittered away, or put into a secondary place, or obscured, in that proportion the life has gone out of the religion which is professed. But we, brethren, bear this distinguishing token, the mark of the blood. Our religion is, in many respects, a very singular one— one open to a world of objection and ridicule from carnal minds; one which always has been criticised, and always will be: for we believe, first, that our sin deserves death. We do not believe transgression to be a trifle, or a mere misdemeanour of the first class, but we know it to be a capital offence, deserving the death penalty. When the Lord saith, “The soul that sinneth it shall die,” our conscience says “Amen” to the sentence of the Most High. The blood on the door-post meant that those who dwelt there confessed that they deserved to die as much as others, and would have done so had it not been for the paschal lamb. The crimson mark was virtually a confession of desert of death. So every believer feels that his sin is great and grievous, terrible and overwhelming. He does not subscribe to theories which make little of man’s guilt. He has no ear for those who try to mitigate the penalty, and endeavour to make the guilt appear small. He does not call sin a mistake, a failure, a lapse. I think I have heard all those words lately used about sin, by those who say, “Poor unhappy man! so mistaken, seeking after the light and crying after God in the dark; how sad that he should stumble! Surely God will not be so harsh as to punish him for ever.” Such talk has no charm for us; we own the heinous criminality of sin, and the justice of the awful sentence which declares that the wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment. Our God is just, and taketh vengeance on iniquity. The God who smote all the firstborn of Egypt, and overthrew Pharaoh in the Red Sea, is the God whom we adore; and as we bow before him we own that he might righteously have smitten us also, and have utterly destroyed us. For us the blood mark is virtually an acknowledgment that we have the sentence of death in ourselves, and dare not trust in ourselves.
We are singular enough to believe in substitution. The blood upon the lintel said, “Some one has died here instead of us.” We also hold and rest in this truth, that Christ died, “the just for the unjust, to bring us to God.” We believe that “he was made a curse for us, it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” The belief in the greatness of sin distinguishes Christians from Pharisees, and all other self-justiciaries; and the belief in substitution separates Christians from all those philosophic adulterators of the gospel who are willing to hold up Christ’s example, but cannot endure his expiatory sacrifice, who will speak to you of Christ’s spirit and the power of his teaching but reject his vicarious death. We do not subscribe to the lax theology which teaches that the Lord Jesus did something or other which, in some way or other, is, in some degree or other, connected with the salvation of men: we hold as vital truths that he stood in his people’s stead, and for them endured a death which honoured the justice of God, and satisfied his righteous laws. We firmly believe that he bore the penalty due to sin, or that which, from the excellence of his person, was fully equivalent thereto. My brethren, this is and always will be assailed, but it is the keystone of the gospel arch. As at Waterloo all the battle seemed to rage around the chateau of Hugoumont, so does the conflict centre around the doctrine of the atoning death of our great Substitute: but we are not going to shift our ground for a moment, nor to adopt any other phraseology. We stand to the literal substitution of Jesus Christ in the place of his people, and his real endurance of suffering and death in their stead, and from this distinct and definite ground we will not move an inch. Even the term “the blood” from which some shrink with the affectation of great delicacy, we shall not cease to use, whoever may take offence at it, for it brings out that fundamental truth which is the power of God unto salvation. We dwell beneath the blood mark, and rejoice that Jesus for us poured out his soul unto death when he bare the sin of many.
But we believe more, and what will seem very strange to some, — we believe that we died in Jesus. The Israelite knew that when the angel went through Egypt he meant to exact a life at every house, and so he exhibited the blood, as much as to say, “The firstborn is dead here.” The lamb has died instead of the firstborn, and virtually the firstborn is dead, and there is no cause for smiting, because the smiting has been done. So, when Jesus died his chosen died in him, and their sins received the vengeance due in that day when on the accursed tree he yielded up his life a ransom for many. How can we die? We are dead in him already, and have been buried with him by virtue of our union with his blessed person. This is a most precious truth, and those who hold it are thereby distinguished from the rest of mankind.
Believing this, we next come to the conclusion that we are safe, for when the Hebrew had struck the blood upon the door-posts of his house, he went in to feast, not to fret, — he went into the house to eat the lamb whose blood had been sprinkled, and to stand at the table with his loins girt about, expecting not to die, but to go forth to a land which the Lord his God would give to him. This is the distinguishing mark of a Christian that he knows himself to be saved, and therefore he keeps the feast rejoicing in the Lord, and, standing with his loins girt, expecting soon to be called away to the land which the Lord his God has given to him, that he may inherit and dwell therein for ever. Other men are not saved, nor dare they profess that they are. They own that they have a great deal to do before they will be saved, present salvation they know not; or if they think they are saved, yet they dream that their continuance therein depends upon themselves, there is something wanted still beside the sprinkled blood. The Israelite wanted nothing but the blood, he was perfectly satisfied with that, and so is the believer: he has believed in Christ as dying in his stead, he is delighted to know that he is complete in him and accepted in the beloved, and he waits till the summons shall come, and he shall be called to ascend to the glory land, whither Christ has gone to prepare a place for him.
The Israelite in Egypt made this distinction prominent. As we have already said, he put it upon the upper part of his door and upon the two side posts too. We read in the Revelation that those who received the mark of the beast sometimes bore it in their forehead, but sometimes also in their right hand: while he who had the mark of God always received it in his forehead, never in his right hand, where it could be hidden within the palm. It has been very well remarked that there is a back door to hell, but there is none to heaven. The way to heaven is the king’s highway, a way which is not made for concealment, but for honest travellers who have nothing to hide. Believers must be seen, for they are the lights of the world; yet there are some who try to go to heaven up the back stairs, and serve the Lord only by night. It must not be. Strike the blood where all can see it, and let men know that you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice: whether they like it or no, let them know that this is all your salvation and all your desire. I had the pleasure of riding into the Leonine city in Rome a short time after the Italian troops had taken possession, and I noticed that every house had marked up most conspicuously the arms of the kingdom of Italy and the name of Victor Emmanuel. They were not content to have it over their doors, but all over the front of the houses you read “Victor Emmanuel, King of Italy,” showing that they were right glad to escape from the dominion of the Pope, and to avow their allegiance to a constitutional king. Surely if for a human monarch and the earthly freedom which he brought men could thus set up his escutcheon everywhere, you and I who believe in Jesus are bound to exhibit the blood-red token, and to keep it always conspicuous. Let others believe the priest, we believe Jesus. Let others trust their works, we trust the sprinkled blood. Let others rely on frames and feelings, discipline and development, we believe in Jesus Christ and him only; and we nail to the mast the blood-red banner of atoning sacrifice.
“My faith is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.”
Thus much, then, upon the blood as the distinguishing token.
II. Now, secondly, the blood was an ASSURING TOKEN. When we mean to do a special kindness for a friend it may be we say to him, That you may be sure I shall do it, here is a token of my faithfulness.” God gave to his people the blood of sprinkling, as the token that he would preserve them safely; and surely, the more the Israelite studied that token the more at ease would he be, for he would say, “God has appointed this lamb unblemished to be in our stead, and seeing that he appointed it, and the lamb has been slain, we are sure he will not run back from the substitution which he has himself ordained, and we are perfectly safe.” Now, I want you just for a few minutes, especially you who have any doubts and fears, to look upon the blood of Christ and see its suitableness to be an assuring token to your consciences. Remember, first, what it was, — blood, the token of suffering. Your sin deserves suffering; Christ has suffered for sin. Think what suffering he endured, what contradiction of sinners, and what forsaking of his Father. Suffer no one to depreciate the physical sufferings of Christ, but still remember that his mental sufferings were greater; his soul sufferings were the soul of his sufferings. Go to dark Gethsemane, go to shameful Gabbatha, go to deadly Golgotha, and as you see your Lord and mark that wondrous spectacle of woe, will you not feel that he can put away your sin, and that if he so terribly suffered you need not suffer? God has accepted an expiation worthy of his justice; that heaven-rending cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” shows how keen were the pangs with which our hope was born.
Think, further, blood signifies not only suffering but death, for our Lord could only put away sin by actually dying; all his tears, all his holy living, all his painful sufferings even, could not recompense for sin till the death penalty was paid, for death was that which God had appointed as the reward of sin, and Jesus died. Oh see him die, — see HIM die! Was ever such a spectacle? Every drop that distils from his pierced hand cries aloud, “Safety for the believer! The ransom price is paid.” That gash in his side, like the mouth of love, speaks eloquently to our hearts, “Pardon, acceptance, love eternal!” I cannot see that bowed head, and those eyes glazed in death, and that dear body taken down to be laid in the tomb without feeling, “If Christ has died there must be boundless mercy for the guilty sons of men.” Think of it, and I pray God the Holy Spirit to lead you to see the sweetness and comfort which lie in this token.
Remember, too, that you rest, not merely on suffering and death, but on the excellence of the person so suffering and ' dying. Ask whose suffering and death is it? In the Israelites’ case it was an unblemished lamb; in your case and mine it is the spotless Lamb of God. Oh, brethren, think of the life of Jesus in its innocence and disinterestedness. Was ever such a life, was ever such a death of such a sacred person? But he was God, “very God of very God.” Those hands that were pierced had healed the sick with their touch, and those nailed feet had trod the sea! Those eyes all closed in death had looked into men’s hearts, and those silent lips had spoken miracles. It was God himself who on the bloody tree offered expiation for sin against himself. There must be power in such a death as that to put away sin. Do ye not own that it must be so? Is not the token full of comfort to you?
Think again that it was not merely the lamb, but it was the Lamb of God. That is to say, when the Israelite killed the lamb he was doing what God commanded him to do, and when Jesus died in our stead, he did not die as an amateur Saviour, but as one appointed by God. Now, if God appointed the atonement he must accept it. Surely if he said that Christ should die in our stead, if he “laid upon him the iniquity of us all,” then the atonement must be accepted since God himself set it forth, provided it, and ordained it. How sweetly do I rest in this. I feel when I look up to my dear Lord, and I desire evermore to do so, as if I could say to the justice of God, “What canst thou urge against me? Do I not present to thee all thou canst demand— a death? I bring before thee a death which thou didst appoint to be instead of my death? If thou hast appointed it, I know thou wilt not refuse it.” This is one of the sweetest parts of the whole matter of atonement, and fills the token with assurance.
One other thought, and a sweet one, this token was that of blood which was shed: not to be shed, but shed already. They had killed the lamb, they had taken the warm blood in the basin, and smeared the door-posts, it was all done and all over; you and I also are resting in a finished sacrifice, not in a sacrifice to be offered, nor in a sacrifice which continues to be offered, according to this Anglican Popery which reeks in so many parish churches, but a sacrifice complete, for “by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are set apart.” There is no continuance of the offering of Christ in the sacrifice of the mass, it is a barefaced lie before Almighty God, for Christ declares that, when he had once offered himself, he for ever sat down at the right hand of the majesty in the heavens. By that word “It is finished!” he has put an end to all sacrifices and offerings by way of expiation for sin, because they are not wanted, one death has accomplished it all. Beloved, what joy is here! Suffering, suffering to the death, the suffering of the Son of God, a suffering ordained of God to be the vicarious sacrifice, and a suffering which is perfect and complete! Let us look at the token, and let our hearts be glad within us henceforth and for ever. One of our kings once gave a ring to his favourite, and said to him, “I know that at the council to-morrow a charge of heresy will be brought against you; but, when you come in, answer them if you will, but you need be in no fear: if you find yourself brought to a strait, simply show them the ring, and they will go no further.” It is even so with us; the Lord has given us the precious blood of Christ to be like a ruby ring upon our finger, and now we know how far conscience may go, and how far accusations from Satan may go: we have only to produce that token and bar all farther proceedings. “He that believeth in him is not condemned,” neither can he be. God cannot and will not go back from his promise, the blood is the faithful assurance of the security of all the saints.
III. But now, thirdly, this is A MOST SIGNIFICANT TOKEN. Tokens generally mean something; some inner sense is implied in them. Now, our token of the blood means four things. When the Jew struck the blood upon the lintel and the two side posts he meant redemption; he did as good as say, “We are redeemed by blood, the people who live in this house are free, they have been slaves but they are redeemed, and they are going out to-morrow morning, and old Pharaoh and all his army cannot hold them.” That is just what the blood of Jesus Christ means to us. We are bought and paid for, and we are a free people, and if the Son has made us free we are free indeed. “O Lord, I am thy servant, I am thy servant, thou hast loosed my bonds.” Thou hast brought me up out of the house of bondage, and out of the iron furnace, and broken all my chains— the sprinkled blood declares it.
Then the blood meant next that the people who lived beneath that sign belonged to God. It was the mark of the Lord’s property: “Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price.” He who redeemed us ought to possess us. The blood when it bought us also set us apart to be for ever the property of the Redeemer. Whenever you think of Jesus crucified think of yourself also as crucified to the world, as no more belonging to self or sin or Satan; no longer bound by worldly customs, fashions, maxims, laws, but under law to Christ, for you are the Lord’s freeman. Give up the members of your body to his service, yield them as servants unto righteousness, because you have been purchased, spirit, soul, and body, not with corruptible things as with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot. The token set forth our redemption, and also God’s property in us.
This token next means acceptance. He who has the blood of Christ sprinkled on him has that to show which renders him acceptable before the Lord. There has been a war, and a wounded soldier comes home, and he goes to the house of a father and mother who have a son out in the army, and he inquires, “Does so-and-so live here?” “Yes.” “Can I see him?” “Yes.” “I have a letter from your son, whom I left in the army, he was my dear comrade.” “Are you sure you have such a letter?” The man looks disreputable, his garments are torn, and he is evidently very poor, but he replies, “Yes, I have a letter from your son.” He puts his hands into his pockets, and he cannot find it. The master of the house is angry, and says “It is of no use your coming here with this tale, you are deceiving me.” He fumbles still in his pockets, and at last he brings it out. Yes, there is the token, the father knows the handwriting of his dear boy. The letter says, “Father, this is a choice companion of mine, and I want you, when he reaches home, to treat him kindly for my sake. Tell mother that anything she does for him shall be the same as if she had done it to her own boy.” See you how well he is received at sight of that token, and even so when we present the blood-mark we say to the Lord, “There is the token that we are Jesu’s friends,” and the Lord does not look at the rags in which our poor nature is arrayed, but he looks at the token of his own Son’s blood, and accepts us for his sake. What surer and more suggestive token could we desire? When cleansed in the blood of Jesus we are comely with his comeliness, and dear to the heart of God for his Son’s sake.
Yes, beloved, and it moreover means perfect safety. As soon as ever the blood was on the lintel those inside the house were perfectly secure; the angel could not strike them, for if he had done so he would have struck his Master, and insulted the Lord of angels. To use his sword while the divine shield was exhibited outside the door would have been to bid defiance to God’s honour, and that no angel of God would ever do. Oh, brethren, there is no shield for a guilty soul like the blood-red shield of the atonement. Stand beneath the purple canopy of sacrifice, and the great hailstones of wrath can never fall upon you, you must be safe if Christ’s atonement interposes between you and Cod. So you see the sprinkled blood is a very significant token. As I went awhile ago through a piece of forest much overgrown with underwood and saplings I noticed certain straight young trees distinguished by a red mark, and I discovered that the woodmen were about to cut down all the underwood and clear the ground for the better growth of the timber, and these marked trees were to be spared to become large oaks. I can see the red marks and the small trees in my mind’s eye at this moment, and there come the woodmen chopping down everything with their axes and billhooks. Down goes all the brushwood, and many a pole falls too, but they stop at the marked trees, these must not be touched, the red mark saves them. So is it with you and with me. if we have known the sprinkling of the blood, the Lord will not only say, “Let them alone this year also,” but he will say to the destroyers, “Come not nigh unto those upon whom is the mark.” By this token you may know that you shall live and not die. Like Rahab, we hang this scarlet line in our window, and when all Jericho goes down with terrible destruction our house must stand, for the red line secures it evermore.
IV. The fourth point is that THE BLOOD IS A LOVE TOKEN. The blood is a token of ancient love, for it was shed eighteen hundred years and more ago. Oh my soul, the Lord has given thee an ancient token which sets forth his great love wherewith he loved thee, even when thou wast dead in trespasses and sins. Before thou wast born the blood was poured forth, which is to-day the ensign and pledge of everlasting love.
It is a token of intense love, for it is a pledge taken from the heart of Christ, and it denotes not the love of the lip, not love which begins and ends with outward deeds of mercy, but a love which wells up from the essence of the Redeemer’s being, from his inmost heart, which was reached by the cruel spear. What a token is this, a token taken not from the lilies of my Lord’s garden, nor from the jewels of his crown, nor even from the hair of his head, but drawn from the inner sanctuary of his soul, from that Holy of Holies, the heart of Emanuel, God with us. Oh believer, since thou hast such a token as this thou shouldst be ready to die sooner than doubt the love of the Lord.
It is a token, too, of mighty love, for it testifies that he who gave it possessed a conquering flame of love, which many waters could not quench nor death itself destroy. See, he gives you the blood which is the token of death, his death for you, and thus shows that he went to the grave for your sake, “and death by dying slew.” Wear this token next your heart, I pray you, for it is the richest that was ever given by the hand of love to the choicest object of affection. O thou who art our Well-beloved, thou hast loved us even to the end, for thou hast loved us to the death.
It is a token, too, of a wise all-seeing love, for it shows that our Lord knows our sin, and has met it all. When he gives us the blood he does as much as declare, “My child, I am aware of the evil which is in thee, for I have suffered its penalty; I know thy sin, but thou shalt know it no more, for I have carried it away, and cast it into the depths of the sea.” By this token believers know that their sin is covered, and that in the sight of the Lord they are “all fair,” for he has cleansed them from every stain. The day is come when if their sin was searched for it shall not be found, yea, it shall not so much as exist, for the blood has washed them white.
And it is the token of a love unlimited which will deny nothing to its object. “He that spared not his own Son, but freely delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” If you have received the blood of his dear Son, what will the Lord refuse you? Do you think your God will deny you providential mercies when he has already given the bleeding heart of Jesus to redeem you? Do you imagine that he will leave you without bread and water, or garments to cover your backs, when he has yielded up the jewel of his soul, the delight of his heart, to you? Prize the token of his love, and look at it till your soul weeps for very joy. Blessed is that man to whom the Lord has said, “The blood shall be to you for a token.”
V. Lastly, it is A RECOGNITION TOKEN. The man who has this token is known to the angels as one of the heirs of salvation to whom they minister. As soon as they see the blood applied to the soul by faith, there is joy among them, for this is a sure sign of repentance. All God’s children have this family mark at their birth, and there is no mistaking it, so that at the sight of it the angelic guardians commence their tender care, and begin to bear up the newly begotten one in their hands lest at any time he dash his foot against a stone. 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. If the believer be not destroyed, it will not be for lack of enmity or industry on the devil’s part. He knows the mark of the “seed of the woman,” and he roars and rages, but at the same time he trembles, for well he knows that he cannot prevail. At the sight of the sacrificial token the great enemy stands confounded; like a raging lion he would fain devour the sheep of the Lord, but the mark of the blood upon them saves them from his teeth.
And, brethren, this blood-mark is known among the saints themselves, and has a wonderful power for creating and fostering mutual love. I have often noticed that as soon as we begin to discourse upon the atoning death of our divine Lord, we are at home with one another. There may be brethren present from various churches, and they may not be well at ease when we handle other subjects, but when we come to the precious blood we come to the heart of the matter, and arc all at one. This is one of the secret signs of our spiritual freemasonry. I have had my heart warmed and cheered against my own will sometimes by devout writers, whose doctrinal theories I do not believe, and whose church I could not join, and yet when they write about my Lord they win my heart. “Aliquid Christi,” as one old divine used to say: the something of Christ in them awakens our affections and draws us nigh. Even books which are corrupt with sacramentarianism have occasionally such a sweet savour of Christ in them that we cannot utterly cast them away, but feel bound very carefully to pare the apple, and cut out the rotten places, and remove the objectionable core, for the sake of the sweet morsels flavoured with the love of Christ. As the sweet honey-bearing flowers attract the bees, so does the name of Jesus draw all his saints to him, and so to each other. Give me your hand, my brother, for if you also know my Lord we belong to the same family, the infallible mark of the redeemed is upon us both.
Best of all, the Lord knows this token too. When we go to the mercy-seat, if we would prosper we must produce the sacred passport of the precious blood. With this it is impossible to fail. The 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. Ay, plead you that, and say, “For Jesus’ sake: by his agony and bloody sweat, by his cross and passion.” What mighty blows are given to the gate of heaven by that battering-ram. These are arguments to which heaven always yields.
Our God recognises the blood-mark in the hour of death, and attends his people through the solemn article. Death’s terrors are gone to him who has the blood for a token. Lay me down on my bed! There let me endure the allotted pain and weakness, till the clammy sweat stands on my brow, and needs to be constantly wiped away: lay me down, I say, and I will calmly fall asleep like a child tired with a day’s play, if I have but the token. Distresses and poverty and anguish of body may molest me, yet shall I be perfectly at ease, and ask for no exchange. Whence is this? Many a man possessed of health and wealth is not one-half so blest as the poor saint upon his death pallet. Whence comes this blessedness? Here is the secret. The Lord has passed by, and given a token. “A token,” say you, “what is it? is it some line extracted from the golden book of God’s election? Is it a gem taken from the diadem which is prepared for him in heaven?” No, no, it is not this. “Has he in his sleep beheld a vision and seen the shining ones walking the golden streets, or has he heard an audible celestial voice saying to him, ‘Thou art mine’?” No, he has none of these, he has neither dream nor vision nor anything that men call superhuman, but he is resting in the precious blood, and this blood is the token of friendship between God and his soul; by this he knows the love of God, and by this God communes with him. They meet at the blood. God delights in the sacrifice of Christ, and the believing soul delights in it too; they have thus a common love and a common joy, and this has bound the two together by a bond which never can be broken. This it is which makes some of us sing —
“And when I’m to die,
Receive me, I’ll cry,
For Jesus has loved me,
I cannot tell why;
But this thing I find,
We two are so joined,
He won’t be in heaven
And leave me behind.”
Oh what a blessing to feel that the blood of Jesus has united us to him eternally.
Suffer this last word. Some of you perhaps have said, “Oh, I wish I had the blood of Jesus Christ for a token.” Then let me tell you first that you have not to provide a sacrifice, for that is done, the lamb is slain, the blood of the everlasting covenant is ever before the presence of God. What have you to do? You have nothing to do but to have the blood sprinkled upon you. You know how they sprinkled it, it was with a bunch of hyssop. Hyssop is a common herb to be found everywhere in and around eastern cities, growing even on walls where but little soil is found. It was a plant with a great many stalks, so that it would hold the blood and act as a sort of brush; indeed, its only excellence was its power to hold the blood. Now, faith is a very simple thing, and it is the act not of refined and educated minds only, but of the poorest and simplest. The efficacy of the hyssop did not lie in what the hyssop was, but in its being put into the basin to drink up the blood. My poor faith is just as common as a bit of hyssop pulled up from the wall, but then I lay it asoak in the atonement; while I muse upon who Jesus was, and what he suffered, and for what purpose, till it is wet, saturated, and all becrimsoned with the vital flood. The hyssop was an insignificant item in the whole business, it is only mentioned once, the second time the sprinkling is commanded it is not mentioned at all; and so after all faith is but the humble instrument of salvation; the blood is the main matter, it is the life, the shelter, the token, the everything. Let your trembling faith lay asoak in the precious blood and then say, “I believe thee, Jesus, and I tell the world I do believe thee. Sinner as I am, thy precious blood was shed for me, and I trust in thee alone.” Thus you crimson the lintel and the door-posts. Let all men know that whatever you may have been, and whatever you now are, you do now believe in the substitutionary death of Jesus, oppose you who may. Witness, ye men and angels and devils, that Jesus’ blood is our sole hope. He who thus believes is saved. Brother, go your way, and leap for joy. No man ever perished who from his heart rested in the atoning blood. God bless you. Amen.