ŇThrough faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.Ó Hebrews 11:28.
In the former verses, the author of this epistle hath shewed unto us the notable faith of Moses by two worthy acts: 1. His refusing to be called the son of PharaohŐs daughter, 2. His departing out of Egypt. Now here in this verse He commends his faith unto us by a third action; which is, the ordination, or celebrating of the Passover. This verse is the sum of the twelfth chapter of Exodus; the effect whereof is this: After that God had sent nine several plagues upon the land of Egypt, which were occasions to harden PharaohŐs heart; at last He sends Moses to certify Pharaoh that unless he would let the people go, He would send a tenth plague, which should be more grievous to them than all the former; even the slaughter of all the firstborn in Egypt, both of man and beast. Yet PharaohŐs heart was not softened, neither did he let the people go. Therefore Moses departed from him, and (according to GodŐs commandment) assembled the elders of Israel together, and causeth them to kill every man a lamb of a year old, and to eat it roast with fire; and to take the blood, and to sprinkle it upon the doorposts and upon the posts of their houses, for a sign unto them that the angel of the Lord (seeing the blood sprinkled upon their doors) should pass over them, and touch none of their first born, neither man nor beast. This is the sum and meaning of that history. Now let us come to the consideration of this fact more particularly:
I. And first, to the meaning of the words of this verse, because there is some difficulty in them.
Through faith he ordained the Passover.
The Passover here named may be thus described: It is one of the sacraments of the Old Testament, serving for a sign to the people of Israel, both of their temporal deliverance from the bondage of Egypt and from the slaughter of the firstborn; and also of their spiritual deliverance from everlasting death by the sacrifice of Christ Jesus the immaculate lamb of God.
Touching this description: First, I call it one of the sacraments of the Old Testament because they had besides this circumcision, another ordinary sacrament. Next I say, it served for a sign to the people of Israel, to shew that it was properly a sacrament unto them. For it is of the nature of a sacrament to signify and seal up some blessing of God to His people; now that the Passover did so is plain, where the Lord calls it a sign or token of deliverance unto them. But some will say, this Passover was a sacrifice; for so it is called: This is the sacrifice of the LordŐs Passover, and, Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread etc. Answer: It is called a sacrifice because it was killed, also the blood thereof was sprinkled, and some part of it, as the fat with the two kidneys, were burnt in sacrifice to the Lord. For when Josiah kept that famous Passover with all the people, the priests that slew the Passover and sprinkled the blood thereof, did first take away that which was to be consumed with fire, and then gave to the people according to the divisions of their families, as Moses appointed. Now in regard of these properties of a sacrifice which were in the Passover, it is truly called a sacrifice. And yet more properly it was a sacrament, because it was a visible sign of special blessings from the Lord.
But what did this sacrament of the Passover signify? Answer: It did signify a double deliverance: one temporal, as well from the destroying angel as also from the bondage of Egypt; the other spiritual, from the curse of the law and from the wrath of God. The first is plain, where the Lord saith, The blood being sprinkled upon the doorposts, shall be a token for you that I will pass over you; and (v.17), Ye shall keep the feast of unleavened bread; for that same day will I bring your armies out of the land of Egypt. And touching the second, that it was a sign of a more heavenly deliverance from the bondage of sin and Satan, Paul telleth us plainly, when as he saith, Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us (1 Cor. 5:7); giving us to understand that the Paschal lamb in the Old Testament, was undoubtedly a true sign of the true Paschal lamb, Christ Jesus; to which purpose John Baptist saith, Behold the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Where He calleth Christ the lamb of God, making there an opposition between Him and the Paschal lamb of Moses, which may be called the Paschal lamb of men; for herein also they differ. The Paschal lamb was separated by men, though by GodŐs appointment; but Christ the true lamb of God, was set apart before all worlds, by God the Father. And thus we see briefly what this Passover is.
Ordained the Passover.
The word translated ordained, signifieth, He made, or did celebrate; for the better understanding whereof, we must have recourse to the Evangelists. Matthew setteth down ChristŐs speech to His disciples about the Passover, which He kept with them a little before His passion, thus: My time is come, I will make my Passover at thine house (Matt. 26:18). Now St Luke, repeating the same story, mentioneth first the killing of it, then the eating of it; by which two words he explaineth what Christ meant by making (which here is translated ordaining) the Passover; to wit, first, the killing and preparing of the Paschal lamb, and then the eating of it as the LordŐs sacrament. But this is a strange kind of speech (will some say). How can the Passover be killed or eaten, seeing properly the Passover is nothing else, but the act of the angel passing over the houses of the Israelites, when he smote the firstborn in every house of the Egyptians? Answer: the phrase is improper, yet it must not seem strange, because it is usual in scripture, in treating of the sacraments, sometimes to give the name of the sign to the thing signified; as (1 Cor. 5:7), Christ is called our Passover; and on the other side, to give the name of the thing signified to the sign; as in this place, He ordained the Passover, that is, the Paschal lamb, which was a sign of the angels passing over their houses. So, This is my body, that is, a sign of my body. The rock was Christ. The reason of these figurative speeches, whereby one thing is put for another, is the sacramental union of the sign with the thing signified; which yet is not natural according to place, either by change of the sign into the thing signified, or by including the thing signified in the sign, or fastening it upon it; but respective and analogical, by reason of that agreement and proportion which is between the sign and the thing signified; which stands in this, that look when the outward sign is presented to the outward senses, at the very same time the thing signified is thereby, as by certain visible words, presented to the mind. And indeed look what conjunction is between words and the things spoken of in the mind of the understanding hearer; the same is between sacramental signs and the things signified, in the mind of a discerning receiver. But when words of sense are spoken to the ear, the understanding mind doth therewith apprehend the thing spoken of. And even so the mind of the discerning receiver doth inwardly apprehend the thing signified and apply it to his soul, when the sacramental sign is presented to the outward sense. And this conjunction ariseth not from the nature, either of the sign, or the thing signified; but from the institution of the Lord. The meaning then of the Holy Ghost here is this: That Moses by faith did ordain and appoint the killing and eating of the Paschal lamb, which was the sign of the passing over of the LordŐs angel, when the firstborn in Egypt were slain.
And effusion of blood.
That is, the sprinkling of the blood of the Paschal lamb; which was a notable rite and ceremony used in this first Passover, after this manner: the blood of every lamb was put into a basin, and sprinkled with a bunch of hyssop upon the doorposts of every manŐs house among the Jews. Now this rite did not continue always, but was peculiar and proper to this first Passover kept in Egypt at the institution thereof, being then practised (but not after) in regard of that special deliverance then at hand whereof it was an assurance; for it signified unto them that the angel of the Lord, coming to destroy the first born of Egypt, and seeing that blood so sprinkled, should pass over their houses and touch none of their first born, of man nor beast. This end of the sprinkling of this blood is here likewise set down in these words: Lest He that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. He, that is the angel of the Lord, who was sent to destroy the firstborn throughout all Egypt, both of man and beast, save only of those who had their doorposts sprinkled with blood. And thus much for the meaning of the words.
II. By faith.
1. First, observe what the Holy Ghost saith of this fact of Moses in ordaining the Passover; namely, that he did it by faith. Hence we learn that the sacraments of the New Testament must be celebrated in faith; for herein we are to seek to be acceptable to God as Moses was. The LordŐs Supper in the New Testament succeedeth the Passover in the Old; for that was a sign to the Jews that Jesus Christ, the immaculate lamb of God, should afterwards be sacrificed for their sins; and this is to us a sign of Christ already sacrificed. Now look as that was ordained and received under the law, so must this be administered and received under the gospel. But in the Old Testament, Moses celebrates the Passover through faith, and enjoins the Israelites so to do; therefore accordingly must we by faith celebrate and receive the LordŐs Supper under the gospel. CainŐs sacrifice was fruitless to him, and odious to God, because he offered it not in faith; and no less were all other faithless sacrifices. Even so every sacrament and spiritual sacrifice received or offered in time of the gospel, is unprofitable to man, and unacceptable unto God, if it be not received in faith. In every sacrament we receive something from God, as in every sacrifice we give something to God. In the LordŐs Supper, as the minister gives the bread and wine into the hand of the receiver, so the Lord God gives His Son unto their hearts. Now, if faith be wanting, Christ crucified is not received; for faith is the hand of the soul, without which there is no receiving of Christ and His benefits; but contrariwise, an heavy and fearful sin, heaping up GodŐs wrath against us. Hereby we learn how sundry sorts of people sin most grievously against God:
(1) For many come to receive the LordŐs Supper who are altogether ignorant in the nature and use thereof, not knowing what the sacrament meaneth; and yet because it is a custom in the church, they will receive at least once a year, though they know nothing therein as they ought. Now such persons must know that they ought to come in faith; which they cannot do because they want knowledge; and therefore in receiving it so, they commit a grievous sin, and so endanger their own souls, because they receive it unworthily. And this is not the fault of young ones only; but of many whose years might shame them for their ignorance, if they were not past all feeling of spiritual wants.
(2) A second sort there are who receive the LordŐs Supper, and say they will do so, because they have faith. But these are like the former; for their faith is nothing but honest dealing amongst men; thinking that if they bring that to the LordŐs Supper, though they have no more, yet all is well. The greatest sort are of this mind, taking fidelity for true faith; and it is a plain point of popery, so common, as almost in every place men do embrace it. But these deceive themselves; for another kind of faith is required of those that receive the LordŐs Supper worthily; namely, such a faith whereby we do not only believe the remission of sins in ChristŐs blood; but also are assured that the bread and wine received worthily, are signs and seals of the same blessing exhibited unto us by Christ. He that comes only in a good meaning, deceives himself, and receives to his condemnation. And yet alas, many even of the ancient sort, have no other faith, but their good meaning.
(3) A third sort there are, who yet go further; and knowing the vanity of this opinion, that a manŐs fidelity in his dealings with men should be his faith to commend him unto God; they hold and know that true faith is to believe their own salvation in the blood of Christ; and these are to be commended in respect of the former. But herein they fail; that coming to receive, they bring not with them a lively faith; for it is not only required in a commandment, that he profess the faith of Christ aright, but a worthy receiver must look to his own heart, that his faith therein be a living faith, such as worketh by love, and shews itself by obedience. Now herein, many that have good knowledge do grievously offend, that howsoever they make a shew of faith, in an orderly and religious carriage of themselves on the Communion day; yet when that time is a little past, they resume to their former sins again, never else having any care (nay, not so much as making any shew) of laying away their sins, save only at the receiving of the LordŐs Supper. And thus do too many of those who make a fair profession. These men bring faith in profession, but yet their faith is dead; for, if it were a lively faith, it would purify their hearts, and cause a change in them from evil to good, and from good to better, every day more and more.
(4) But blessed be God, by whose mercy it comes to pass, that there are some in His church, who come with such a faith, and thereby communicate acceptably to God, and fruitfully to themselves. Yet we must confess they are but few in comparison. But as for all the other three sorts of people, they sin grievously, because they bring not the hand of a lively faith, to receive those things which their God offereth unto them. We therefore in this example are admonished to celebrate and receive the LordŐs Supper in such sort as Moses did; namely, in faith; which may both before and after the receiving of this sacrament, bring forth good fruits to the reforming of our lives, in continual obedience of GodŐs glory, and our own comfort and salvation in Christ.
2. Observe further:
Moses ordained the Passover.
We may not think that Moses killed all the lambs that were to be slain at this Passover; but in his own family he killed his own lamb, and enjoined the people from God to do the like in theirs. The like phrase is often used in Scripture: (Josh 5:3) Joshua is said to circumcise the sons of Israel; which was almost a thing impossible for one man to do; but the meaning thereof is this: that Joshua enjoined and procured that all the people should be circumcised, and saw it done. And so must we understand this place.
Now in this, that Moses did in this manner celebrate the Passover, we are taught this lesson: that governors and superiors in their place, must procure that those who are under their government, do keep the commandments of God; and especially those which concern GodŐs worship. It is the commandment of the Lord by Moses that the king should have the law written; that he may learn to fear his God, and keep all the words of this law written, to do them. Now, how shall the king do all the words of the law, seeing there be many commandments that do not concern him, nor his place, but his subjects, and other particular men of their callings. Surely thus: He must do those in his own person, that concern him in his place, and then see that his subjects and servants do likewise such duties both towards God and man, as concern them in their places. This is a special point concerning all magistrates and superiors whatsoever; and therefore St Paul saith (Rom. 13:4), The magistrate beareth not the sword for naught, but for the wealth of GodŐs people; that is, for their good, not in body only, but principally for the good of their souls. And therefore every governor, either of town or kingdom, and every master of a family, within the compass of his calling, is to see that those which are under him keep GodŐs commandments; especially those concerning GodŐs worship. When a magistrate shall do this, then the praise and honour of the whole is given to him; as here the killing of the Passover is ascribed to Moses, because he saw that the people did it. So on the contrary, if the magistrate be negligent in this duty, he becomes the greatest sinner of all; for then the sins that are committed through his default, are ascribed to him. Nehemiah, reproving the rulers, tells them that they brake the LordŐs Sabbath (Neh. 13:15), when as not only they, but the people also brake them; yet there he chargeth the sin of the people upon them, because it came through their negligence. As if any sin be committed in a family through the defect of the governor of the family; it is not only the sin of the particular party, but the governorŐs sin. And so, when any man sins in breaking the Sabbath, it is not only the sin of that particular man, but of the governorŐs to whom he is subject. And therefore governors must see that GodŐs commandments be kept of those that be under their government. But here some may object (as indeed some abuse the place to this end) that it seems no man may be barred from the LordŐs Supper; for the like reason is in the LordŐs Supper that was in the Passover; but Moses kept the Passover himself, and commanded all the people of Israel so to do; therefore no man is to be put from GodŐs table. Answer: It is true indeed that in Egypt at the celebration of the first Passover, Moses kept it himself, and commanded every master of a family among the Israelites to do the same; and the reason hereof was, because at the first institution the Passover was both a sign and a means of a temporal deliverance, besides the spiritual; and therefore there was great reason then, why all the Israelites should eat the Passover, and none be put back, because all of them were to escape the temporal punishment which God was to inflict upon the Egyptians. But afterwards the Lord made a law, that if any were but legally unclean, he might not eat the Passover, but must stay till the next month and then come, and only the clean must eat thereof; so that the Lord Himself did inhibit some from that sacrament; whereby it is plain that the celebration of the Passover is so far from giving warrant to this confusion, and careless admitting of all to the communion, that rather it proveth that there must be a distinction made, and a separation of the unworthy from the LordŐs table. Those which are fitly prepared are to be received, but notorious offenders, who are morally and spiritually unclean, are to be put back, till by repentance they have testified their worthiness.
Let us consider the signification of the Passover. For the Paschal lamb was a sign of Christ the true lamb of God, shadowing out divers things worthy of our observation: as first the lamb, for the Passover was to be a lamb of a year old, without spot or blemish; which signified unto us that Christ was that immaculate lamb of God and without spot, as Peter calleth Him (1 Pet. 1:19). Secondly, the Paschal lamb, when he was killed and eaten, had no bone of it broken; so was it commanded (Exod. 12:46 and Num. 9:12), signifying that Christ when He was crucified, should not have a bone of Him broken, as St John applieth the former texts (John 19:36). Thirdly, the Paschal lamb must be eaten with sour herbs (Exod. 12:8), signifying that no man can feel any sweetness in the blood of Christ, till he have his heart full of bitterness for his sins; and with Hannah be sore vexed and troubled in mind, so as he can pour out his soul before the Lord (1 Sam. 1:15). The want of this is the cause why so many do hear GodŐs Word, and receive the sacraments, and yet reap no benefit by them. Fourthly, before the Paschal lamb was eaten, all leaven must be removed out of their houses. This had a notable signification, which we need not to guess at, seeing the Holy Ghost hath set it down; namely, that we must remove all old leaven of corrupt doctrine (Matt. 16:12) out of our hearts; and the leaven of sin and wickedness out of our lives, if we profess communion with Christ. This is a point worth our marking; for unless we do so, we shall have no benefit by the sacrifice of Christ; for if we will live in this old leaven, we must never look to receive Christ into our hearts. Lastly, every person received the Passover in haste, with shoes on their feet, with staves in their hands, and their clothes girt up (Exod. 12:11), yet this we must understand only of the first Passover in Egypt, for Christ did eat sitting. Now this ceremony used in the first Passover signified thus much; that if we look to have benefit by Christ, we must be of this mind, to be always ready to leave this world, and be prepared to go when and whither God shall call us. We must not have our hearts glues to earthly things, but always ready to receive GodŐs command, and to go at His call. These being the significations of the Passover, which we must remember to make good use of in the course of our lives. And thus much of the first branch of this act of MosesŐ faith, in ordaining the Passover.
The second branch of this work is this:
3. And the effusion of blood.
That is, the sprinkling of the blood of the lamb upon the posts of their houses, and upon the door cheeks; which was a token to the Israelites that the destroying angel should not strike the firstborn of the Israelites, either man or beast. In manŐs reason this may seem to be a weak and simple means; yet God ordains it to preserve all the firstborn among the Israelites. And thus the Lord useth to deal, that His people, through the weakness of the means, might be brought to acknowledge God to be their protector and defender. When the Israelites were stung with the serpents, a man would have thought it had been the best way for their curing to have given them cunning surgeons; but the Lord ordains only a dead serpent of brass which they must look up unto, and be cured. A weak means it was, and yet the Lord useth it; because He would have them give all the glory to Him, and not to ascribe the same either to themselves or to the means.
Further, this sprinkling of the blood upon the door cheeks, and the posts of their houses, had a notable signification, namely, of the sprinkling of the blood of Christ upon the doors of our hearts; to which Peter alludeth (1 Pet. 1:2) Through the obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. And David, when he saith, Sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be clean (Psa. 51:7). David knew well that the blood of beasts could not take away sin, and therefore no doubt by his saving faith, he had an eye to the blood of the Messiah under legal terms. Whence we are taught this lesson: that as the Israelites with their bodily hands did sprinkle the blood of the Paschal lamb upon their door cheeks, and the posts of their houses, so by the hand of faith, every one of us must sprinkle the blood of Christ upon our own hearts; which we shall then do when we do not only in general believe that Christ is a Saviour and Redeemer, but particularly that He is a Redeemer unto us; and that the merits of His death, and the benefit of His blood are ours.
Objection: But some will say, If this be so, then all is well, for I do believe this. Answer: herein very many deceive themselves, thinking that they have faith, when indeed they have none. For look unto their ways, and see into their hearts by their lives; and it will easily appear that they have nothing in them but ignorance, security and presumption in sin. Now such men are deceivers of their own souls; for after this sprinkling followeth sanctification, and rising from dead works to newness of life; so that they that live in sin, and yet say they have faith, deceive themselves. For if a manŐs heart be sprinkled with the blood of Christ through faith, it will change his life and conscience, and make him a new creature; for ChristŐs blood is a cleansing and purifying blood, insomuch as where it is truly sprinkled, it certainly cleanseth (Heb. 9:14). And thus much of this ceremony of sprinkling.
4. Now followeth the end of both these actions in these words:
Lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
Let us examine the words in order:
First, by the destroyer is meant the angel of God (as we may see in the story, Exod. 12:13), who at midnight smote all the firstborn of Egypt of man and beast. Where, by the way, we may take a view of the wonderful power and strength of GodŐs angels, and also of their admirable swiftness and readiness in doing the will of God, that in one night, even at midnight, one of them could pass through the land of Egypt and kill all the firstborn of man and beast, in every place of the Egyptians. The like we may see in the destruction of SennacheribŐs host, by one angel in one night (2 Chr. 32:21).
The firstborn: that is, both of men and beasts. So it is in the story (Exod. 12:29). But, being so, it may not unfitly be demanded, How this Passover could be a sacrament when as even the beasts of the Israelites had benefit by it; for they were spared by reason of this sprinkling of the blood of the Paschal lamb. Answer: That hindereth not why it should not be a sacrament. For we must consider this Passover two ways: First, as a means of temporal deliverance, and so the beasts had benefit by it. Secondly, as a sign and seal of our spiritual deliverance from hell by the sacrifice of the lamb of God, Jesus Christ, which is the thing signified; and so it is a sacrament for manŐs salvation; and thus the beasts had no benefit by it. The water that flowed from the rock in the wilderness was a sacrament, and the beasts drank of the water, but yet they did not partake of the LordŐs sacrament; for we must consider that water two ways: first, as a means to quench thirst, and consequently as an outward benefit to preserve the life of the creature, and so the beasts had a benefit by it; but secondly, consider it as a sign and seal of the water of life, and so their beasts had no benefit by it, but only the believing people.
It followeth: Should touch them. Here is the very use and end of both the former actions; That the angel might not hurt them, but pass by the IsraelitesŐ houses. Here consider a notable point concerning Christ the true Passover: namely, that they which have their hearts sprinkled with His blood, shall be preserved from everlasting damnation; and not only so, but hereby they shall have deliverance from all temporal judgments in this life, so far forth as they are curses and hurtful unto them. So we may read before the destruction came to the cities of the Jews, the angel of God went through the city with a writerŐs inkhorn, to set a mark upon those that did mourn and cry for their sins (Ezek. 9). And David saith, The righteous man standeth upon a rock, so as the floods of many waters shall not come near him (Psa. 40:2; Psa. 32:6). This is a point of great use; and the consideration hereof should move all persons that have been careless in religion, now to become careful and desirous to have their hearts washed in the blood of Christ; and those also which have any care, must have double care hereof; for they have freedom and security, both in temporal and eternal judgments.
Objection: But many of GodŐs dear children are taken away in common judgments. Answer: True, but they are never hurt thereby; but the judgment and affliction is sanctified unto them, because they have their hearts sprinkled with the blood of Christ. And as for those whom God knoweth it good for, they are delivered in general judgments; and preserved for His glory and use of the church.
But how did the angel destroy the firstborn in Egypt, both of man and beasts? Answer: By taking from them their temporal lives, by destroying or killing their bodies. That is the sense and plain meaning of the Holy Ghost; and to this signification answereth the word in the original. Now some do abuse this place, and such like, for the overthrowing of the ancient censure of the church in excommunication; for (say they) the practice of St Paul (1 Cor. 5) is the principal ground of excommunication; where Paul bids that the incestuous man be given to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. Now they that deny excommunication, would have that place to be interpreted by this, because the same word is there used; and therefore (say they) PaulŐs words must be understood of destroying the incestuous manŐs body, and taking away his temporal life. This interpretation doth quite overthrow excommunication; for if nothing else be there understood, but only the tormenting of the body, thence excommunication is not thence proved. But the truth is that the censure which the apostle urgeth there, cannot be understood of the punishment of the body; which I prove thus: In that place, St Paul opposeth the flesh and the spirit. Now usually when he maketh this opposition, flesh signifieth the corruption of the whole man, and the spirit signifieth the grace of God in the man; so that his plain meaning is this: Let him be delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh; that is, for the destruction of his natural corruption and of the body of sin.
Further, where it is said the firstborn, we must understand it of the firstborn of the Egyptians, both of man and beast. And whereas he saith, should touch them, he meaneth the Israelites, who were not touched in this destruction.
Hence we learn two points further:
(1) First, the firstborn of Egypt are destroyed, both of man and beast. This is remarkable; for the Egyptians in former times destroyed the IsraelitesŐ children, and especially their firstborn; for they slew all the males, lest they should increase in their land; and now it comes to pass that their children, even the principal of them, their firstborn are slain for the IsraelitesŐ sakes; when they are preserved. Where we may observe a most righteous, and yet an unusual kind of judgment with God. He doth often punish the wicked in their kind, with their own sins. This is true even in the best, so far forth as they are sinful. The same injury which David did to Uriah, was done unto him by his own son, even by his son Absalom (2 Sam. 10:10,11; 16:22). And this our Saviour Christ teacheth us (Matt. 7:1), saying, Judge not, that ye be not judged. We find this true likewise by experience; that they that give themselves to backbiting, railing and slandering, by the just judgment of God, have for the most part the same done unto themselves by others; so that men are often punished in their own sins. For God hath His storehouse full of judgments, and He can punish men what way He will. But He often observeth this order: to punish men by their own sins, and to catch the wicked in their own devices.
(2) This must be a motive to look unto ourselves, and to have care against all sins of the second table; for look wherein thou takest thy pleasure to GodŐs dishonour, therein thou shalt feel and see GodŐs judgements upon thee, to thy correction and confusion (Psa. 109:17), As he loved cursing, so shall it come unto him; and as he loved not blessing, so shall it be far from him. This Adonibezek felt and confessed when his thumbs were cut off (Jud. 1:6,7). As I have done, so God hath rewarded me. Lastly, in that the destroyer killeth the firstborn of Egypt, mark a strange kind of GodŐs judgments. King Pharaoh and his people sin, because they will not let the Israelites go; but the punishment of their sin is laid upon their children and cattle. The like we read of (2 Sam. 12:14) when David had committed those grievous sins of adultery and murder, a part of his punishment was the death of his child. When he numbered the people, the plague light on them (2 Sam 24). Now we must not too curiously pry into the reason of GodŐs judgments; for He is not bound to give account of His actions; and yet in reason we may see the equity thereof. For we must consider of kingdoms and societies, and of towns and families, as of bodies; every society is a body, and the particular persons therein are members of that body. Now look, as it is in the natural body, so it is in the body civil or politick. Oftentimes in the natural body, when the stomach is sick, the heart acheth; the foot is hurt and the head acheth; and the offence of the tongue may be punished with stripes upon the back. Even so it is in civil societies, the prince sinneth, and the people are punished; or the people sin, and the prince is punished. This is no injustice with God, for sith the prince and people make but one body, and so parents and children; God may justly lay upon any member the temporal punishment of sin committed by another. And thus much of this example, and of the faith of Moses alone.