Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
Therefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Expurgate vetus fermentum, ut sitis nova conspersio, sicut estis azymi. Etenim pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus:
Itaque epulemur, non in fermento veteri, neque in fermento malitiae, et nequitiae: sed in azymis sinceritatis, et veritatis.
There be two things give themselves forth upon the very first view of this text. 1. First, here is news, that we Christians, we also have 'our Passover;' 2. Then, that in memory of it, we are 'to keep a feast.' Pascha Judæorum, 'the Jews' Passover' we find in John, chapters two and eleven. Pascha nostrum, 'our Passover,' never till now. And indeed, to find a Passover in St. Paul's Epistles, and his Epistle, not to the Hebrews but to the Corinthians, their Passover as well as his; for him to call, not his countrymen the Jews at Jerusalem, but the Gentiles at Corinth, to keep such a feast, [290/291] is news indeed. But Pascha nostrum, the words be plain, one we have. Itaque, and 'therefore let us hold a feast' for it.
And truly upon this word, celebremus, may this feast of Easter seem to be founded. There is not only a warrant, but an order for the making of a feast. And sure, howsoever it will fall out with other feasts, this of Easter, if there were nothing else but the controversy that was about the time of keeping it, in the very prime of the Primitive Church, even immediately after the Apostles, it were enough to shew it was then generally agreed of all, such a feast was to be kept. And the alleging on either side - one, St. John's manner of keeping, the other, St. Peter's - proves plainly it is Apostolical, this feast, and that the Apostles themselves kept it. Itaque celebremus 'therefore let us keep it.'
The word itaque, in the latter verse, is ever a note of a conclusion; and where a conclusion is, there is an argument, and so is the text. It standeth of an 1. antecedent, and a 2. consequent. 1. The antecedent, in these words: 'Christ our Passover,' &c. 2. The consequent, in these: itaque celebremus, &c. Supply but this maxim of reason and law -If we have one, we are to hold one; the text will make up a complete argument: but one we have, therefore we are to hold it. Habendum et tenedum, as our tenures run.
In the antecedent there rise these five points: 1. the main word 'Passover,' what is meant by it; - Pascha. 2. That we have one, in the word nostrum. 3. Who it is expressly; - Christ. 4. Christ how, or when? not every way, nor at every time considered; but as and when He was 'offered up,' immolatus, 'offered up as a sacrifice.' 5. And lastly, the word of our interest, propter nos, 'for us;' that so we might pass over our sins, and be passed over by the punishment due to them.
In the consequent there arise two points: 1. There is an itaque, to conclude is to 'keep this feast.' 2. And there is a non and a sed, to direct us how to keep it. The former binds us to celebremus, to celebrate a feast, or to epulemur, to make a feast. Both are read; and both well, for both are due. The latter, by non in fermento, sed in azymis, not so but thus, teacheth us how to hold it. How to keep a Passover? but as a Passover should be kept. How was that? not with leaven, but with sweet bread. And then he takes off [291/292] the veil from Moses' face, that under the legal type of leaven, and sweet bread, these evangelical duties are expressed unto us. By 'leaven' is meant 'malice and lewdness,' and so we may not. By 'sweet bread,' is meant 'sincerity and truth,' and so we are with them to 'celebrate our feast.'
So, in the antecedent, there is the 1. benefit, and the 2. means; - that is Christ's part. In the consequent, 1. the feast, and the 2. duty; - that is ours. Indeed, to the word 'Passover,' ye may reduce them all. 1. The benefit: fit for it is a 'Passover,' even the passing over of the destroyer. 2. The means: that is Christ, by the sacramental figure called the 'Passover,' as the means of it. 3. 'The Feast:' whether that we solemnize, or that we are invited to, either is a 'Passover.' 4. And last our duty: for that is also a kind of 'Passover,' from vetus fermentum, to nova conspersio. So, 1. the benefit, 2. the means, 3. the feast itself, and 4. the duty of it, all are recapitulate in this one word 'Passover.'
The sum of all is, that we perform the duty that we so may partake of the benefit: all is but to conclude us ad hoc festum, ad hoc epulum, 'to the feast and the feast of the feast,' that we pass not them over. This is all that St. Paul here pleads for, and all that we. Enough, to let you see the text in the feast, and the feast in the text: in the text, the parts and the order of them.
Pascha, 'a Passover.' Quænam est hæc religio, (saith God) shall be our question? 'What is the meaning of this observance,' and what good is there in it? For, every feast is in remembrance of some benefit, eopt_ Ôti e_ Ôruutai. Passing over is, of itself, a thing indifferent; good or bad, thereafter as that is which passeth over us, or we over it. For if any good overpass us, we lose by it; but if any danger, we are the better. Again, if we pass from better to worse, it is a detriment, but if from a worse case or place to a better, it is a benefit. And this is a benefit, for here is a feast held for it. Then did some evil pass over us, or we ourselves pass over into some better state.
The Law must be our line, to lead us all along this text; the character of it legal. How was it there? Evil passed them; a destroying angel, that 'slew the first-born in every house through Egypt,' but passed them over, and touched [292/293] them not. And yet there was another: they passed out of Egypt, to the land of promise, over the Red Sea. They passed it well; as for Pharaoh and his host, they perished in it. Ye shall find both these thus set down together; Heb. 11 in the twenty-eighth verse, the destroyer did pass over them; in the twenty-ninth verse, they did pass over in to Canaan. The Egyptians perished in both, had no Passover; God's people had.
But what is this to us? Here is Pascha, but where is nostrum? We are not in Egypt, no fear of our first-born, here is no destroying Angel; and we are far enough from the Red Sea. What then, if our case fall out to be like, if our danger as great, and so it will. Here we live, we call it a 'vale of misery;' in a world whereof Egypt is but a corner, and was but a type; nor their Pharaoh but a limb of the great Pharaoh that tyrannizeth here in this world. 2. We have every one a soul; it is not our first-born, it is more, even unicam meam, as the Psalmist calleth it, the first, and all that we have. 3.It skills not for the Angel; God's wrath is still ready to be revealed on our sins: from that cometh all destruction. The Angels do but carry the vials of it. 4. And death will match the Red Sea; all must through it, and some pass well, but the most part perish.
Now then for nostrum. Our abode here is as dangerous as theirs in Egypt; as many destroyers, yea as many crocodiles too, and therefore we need a Pascha, to escape God's wrath, to have it pass over us here.
And yet there rests another besides. For how well we shall do with that former I know not, but to the latter we must all come, to death, to the Red Sea brink; and there either perish, or pass well over, one of the twain. Sure, Pascha nostrum is not more than needs; Pascha nobis opus est, we need one, a Passover, no less than they.
Nay, I go further, ours is such as theirs. Theirs is nihil ad nostrum, 'nothing to ours.' For what talk we of a delivery of one poor nation, and that but from a bodily danger, and but one neither? Call you that a Passover? How much more than ours, the great and general Passover that freeth us? That freeth all mankind from the total destruction both of body and soul, and that by an eternal delivery both here and for [293/294] ever? How to escape that, God's wrath, ira ventura, that is the true Passover. And what mention we Canaan? Is there any comparison between the two kingdoms of Canaan and Heaven, whither Christ shall make us pass? Indeed, Pascha nostrum is it, ours, and none but ours. Theirs but a shadow, ours the substantial, very Passover indeed. When all is done, Pascha nostrum is it.
Will ye give me leave to present you with a meditation upon this point? it will fit the feast well, and serve us for a preparation to our Passover, and I will not fetch it far, but even from the word Passover. For all the labour is, but to make us feel the want of it.
Est sapientis querala, transire generationem, aliam succedere, aliam quoque transire. It is that the Apostle tells us, and we feel it, mundus transit, that 'the world passes.' Par£gei, saith St. Paul, par£getai, saith St. John, in the active and passive both; 'the world passeth away.' Et en Pascha, en transistus, a kind of Passover of the world itself, of this transistory world, as we term it, ubi habemus manetum, &c. 'where we cannot long have any abode.'
But then, if we look home to ourselves, we shall find another Passover there, even that of the Psalm, Cito transit et avolamus, 'we pass as a shadow, as a dream, when one awaketh,' we bring our years to an end, as it were a tale that is told. Cito transit, 'so soon passeth it and we are gone.' St. James very excellently expresseth it, ttrrrrocÕj, a very 'wheel' of our nature whirling about; that the world passeth, but we faster than it.
But the third is the complaint indeed; that transitory though this world be, and we yet more transistory, yet we cannot pass it quietly for all that. But some wipe we have of the Angel's sword. at least-wise in fear we live still of those in the Psalm, sagitta volans, or terror nocturnus, or incursus, or dæmon meridianus. One of Egypt's ten plagues, one of the Angel's vials, or of the horses, red, black, or pale, are still abroad; much ado we have, without some mishap, to pass this life that passeth so fast.
But lastly, say that we have the good hap to scape well here, yet hence we must ere long to the Red Sea bank, we must to death all; and death is not interitus 'a final end,' [294/295] but transitus, 'a passage over' to a new estate. There is the main peril, that we miscarry not - great odds there is, for many do - but pass well over into the land of promise.
These four Passovers it will not be amiss to think of. And in all these, need we not one to help us well through, that these perils may well pass us over? Need we not one that may make the Red Sea passable for us, that we may well come to the land of the living?
And now then tell me, what is the sum of all our desires? Is it not bonum Pascha? While we are here, the destroyers may pass, and when we go hence, we may well get over? Is it not so to pass these transitory things, that we may well come to those that shall never pass? A good passover is our wish, and against we shall need it, a good one God send us! Upon this point, if we weigh well, salus ipsa nihil est nisi Pascha, 'the benefit of all benefits, salvation itself, is comprised in this word, is nothing but a passover;' as much in one word as the other, transire a malo, 'to be saved from evil,' transire ad bonum, 'to be set safe in good.' To these two may all be reduced; this is all we need, and all we seek. And this parasceue, or preparation, will set us in hand to seek it, and make us say with our Saviour, desiderio desideravi ut &c. 'earnestly to desire, to have our part in this Passover.'
The next point: if we need one, and if we desire one, where we shall have one? Quis revolvet nobis hunch lapidem? 'Who will roll away the stone.' said the women this day. To our line again, the Law. How did they there in the type? for so it must be in the truth. They had a means that helped them through both, which, per metonymian causæ. they called their Passover. And it was a lamb.
Have we so? Yes. Ecce Agnus Dei, said the Baptist at first sight. But every lamb will not serve, it must be a Paschal Lamb. Is Christ that Lamb? St. John puts it out of question. That which was said of the Paschal lamb, 'ye shall not break a bone of him,' he applies to Christ, and saith, in Him the 'Scripture was fulfilled.' Eodem tempore, illorum, et nostrûm, adductus in Festo ipso.
Then a Paschal Lamb He is, and so in case to be made a Passover of. But a Passover He is not, till He be offered. [295/296] For if you mark it, offering is a passing over of that is offered to Him we offer it to; offered He must be. Et oblatus est, saith Esay, 'offered He was.'
Oblatus: so He may be, and yet alive; but the word is etÚqh, immolatus, 'offered,' and 'offered in sacrifice.' A live lamb is not it, it is a lamb slain must be our Passover. And Christ is a 'Lamb slain,' saith St. John, 'from the beginning,' and the sprinkling of His blood in Baptism maketh the destroyer pass over us.
There be many kinds of offerings; this determineth, which of them Christ was. Such a one, as we must epulari; that is the peace-offering. For of the peace-offering, the flesh was to be eaten. Part God had, and part the offerer eat, in sign of perfect peace and reconciliation between them. Christ's blood not only in the basin for Baptism, but in the cup for the other Sacrament. A sacrifice - so, to be slain; a propitiary sacrifice - so, to be eaten.
Thus 'Christ is a Passover.' But where is nostrum, without which all this is nothing? Propter nos 'for us,' that maketh it ours, that which is 'for us offered' is ours, and we so reckon it. The lamb was not slain for itself - Quid agnus committere? but for the first-born. So, Christ not for Himself, ('nothing worthy death in Him' - witness Pilate) but for us.
For us, that is for our salvation, to save us. Save us from what? From our sins. And here now, we are come to the point of the Passover indeed; the quitting us, and the manner of quitting us from our sins. And here now, we are come to the point of the Passover indeed; the quitting us, and the manner of quitting us from our sins. All the business whereof was carried in the very manner of a Passover.
First, sin itself, what is it but a transgression or passing over the lines and limits of our duty, set us in the law of God? And why hovers the destroying Angel over us? Why goeth he not on his way, but seeks to bring destruction upon our heads? What is the mark he striketh at? What, but our sins? But for them, no destroyer should ever have power over us. But for them that hang so heavy on us, and so press us down, we should go through well enough.
Why then, 'all is but this, to have our sins taken away.' And who will take them away? Ecce Qui tollit peccata mundi, That taketh away ours, nay, 'the sins of the world.'
[296/297] How 'taketh away?' 'God hath taken away thy sin,' saith Nathan to David; the word is not abstulit but transtulit, that is, transferendo abstulit; or as the Hebrew word is, transire fecit. To take it from David, make it pass from him upon some other, that is, even the Son of David, Him God hath given us, to pass our sins over from us to Him.
And when that? when He was offered, made a sacrifice for us. It is the nature of every sacrifice, transferendo auferre. He that offers it, 'lays his hands on the head of it,' confesses his sins over it, and his just desert to be smitten by the destroyer; but prays he may put this offering in his own place, and what is due to him, that is death, may be transferred from him, and light on the offering; that may serve, and he escape.
In all offerings thus it was, but in the Paschal lamb especially, that it hath carried away the name from all the rest, to be called the Passover only. In it evidently, the death of the first-born was translated over upon the poor lamb. The lamb died, the first-born was saved, his death passed over unto the lamb; that it was justly called the Passover, for so it was.
But much more justly Christ, Who sure was even a Passover throughout from the first to the last. At the first: His birth, what was it but a Passover from the bosom of His Father to the womb of His mother, to take our nature? And His circumcision what, but a Passover from the state of one free, to the condition of one bond, to undertake our debt? And at the last, His Resurrection, this day, what was it but a passage from death to life? And His Ascension another, de mundo ad Patrem, `from the world to His Father?' First and last, a Passover He was.
But above all, His death, His offering was it. Then He was Pascha pro nobis indeed. For then He passed over into the estate of us wretched sinners, laid off His own, as it were, and took upon Him our person; became tanquam unus e nobis, nay, tanquam omnes nos. For God took from us, and laid them on Him, posuit super Eum iniquitates omnium nostrum, 'laid upon Him,' our Passover, 'the transgressions of us all.' Fecit peccatum, 'made Him sin for us.' - there, our sins passed from us. Fecit maledictum, 'made Him a curse for us;' [297/298] there the punishment of our sins passed from us to Him. Then, and there, passed the destroyer over us.
Over us, to Him. But when he came at Him, he passed Him not, Transeat a me calix would not be heard, and it was Pascha, non Pascha, 'a Passover,' to us, no 'Passover' to Him. We had one, He had none. Him it passed not, but light upon Him so heavy that, it made a sweat of bloody drops pass from Him, yea life and soul and all, ere it left Him. At which His Passion He was a right Passover, Christus p£ocwu, Christus Pascha. Then He was pro nobis, then He was nostrum; 'Christ,' 'Christ offered,' 'offered for us,' of which passing our sins to Him, and God's wrath over us, this day, and the action of this day is a memorial.
And so let us pass over from the antecedent to the consequent, which is itaque celebremus, 'therefore let us keep a feast.' 'A feast,' and Christ slain, and so handled as He was? A fast rather one would think. True, but that we heard again of ours; so did not they of theirs. For this He came again safe, and opened unto us a new passage by his second Passover. All we spake of right now was done the third day since, but we hold not our feast till this day. For till this day we knew not what was become of Him. Passed He was hence, but whether in His passage He had miscarried or no, we knew not. But now, this day, by His Resurrection we know He is well passed over, and so omni modo a true Passover. So now we hold our feast, as a feast should be held, with joy. And a double feast it is. 1. One, that by His suffering He passed from life to death for our sins; 2. Second, that by His rising again this day, He passed from life to death 'for our justification.' And so two passovers in one. He died, and by His death made the destroyer pass over us; He rose again, and by it made death, as the Red Sea passable for us; Itaque celebremus, itaque epulemur.
'Eort£jwmeu, the word is one, but two ways it is turned. 1. Some read, celebremus. 2. Some other, epulemur. But well: for first, it is kindly when we keep a feast, we make a feast. But this feast is not celebrated sine hoc epulo. If Christ be a propitiatory sacrifice, a peace-offering, I see not how we can avoid but the flesh of our peace-offering must be eaten in this feast by us, or else we evacuate the offering utterly, [298/299] and lose the fruit of it. And was there a Passover heard of, and the lamb not eaten? Time was when he was thought no good Christian, that thought he might do one without the other. No celebremus without epulemur in it.
But first, will ye lay the former and this together, immolatus and celebremus, and see how well it falleth out wth us? Immolatus is His part to be slain. Celebremus is ours, to hold a feast. Good-Friday His, Easter-day ours. His premises bitter, our conclusion joyful; a loving partition on His part, happy on ours.
Again, will we lay immolatus to epulemur? That the Passover doth not conclude in the sacrifice, the taking away sin only, that is, in a pardon, and there an end, but in a feast, which is a sign, not of forgiveness alone, but of perfect amity, full propitiation. Ye may propius ire, 'draw near unto Him;' ye are restored to full grace and favour, to eat and drink at His table.
Besides, there was an offering in immolatus, and here is another, a new one, in epulemur. Offered for us there, offered to us here. There per modum vitimae, here per modum epuli. To make an offering of, to make a refreshing of. For us in the Sacrifice, to us in the Sacrament. This makes a perfect Passover. We read both in the Gospel, pp£sca qÚeiu, 'to sacrifice the Passover,' and p£sc fagea, ' to eat it.' It was eaten, the Paschal lamb, and it was 'a sacrifice;' it cannot be denied, there is a flat text for it. Both propounded here in the terms of the test: 1. the Sacrifice in immolatus, 2. the Supper in epulemur.
Celebremus, and epulemur. There be that refer celebremus to the day, epulemur to the action, and so it may well; both day and action have interest in this text. And then the text is against them that have never an Easter-day in their calendar. But the Fathers usually refer both the action. Their reason, because in truth the Eucharist now in the Gospel is that the Passover was under the Law, the antitype answering to their type of the Paschal lamb. It is plain by the immediate passage of it from the one to the other, that no sooner done, but this began. Look how soon the Paschal lamb eaten, presently the holy Eucharist instituted, to succeed in the place of it for ever. And yet more plain, that [299/300] this very Scripture of my text was thought so pertinent, and so proper to this action, as it was always said or sung at it. And I know no cause but it might be so still. Two things Christ there, gave us in charge: 1. ¢u£muhsij, 'remembering,' and 2. l»yij, 'receiving.'
The first, in remembrance of Him, Christ. What of Him? Mortem Domini, His death, saith St. Paul, 'to shew forth the Lord's death.' Remember Him? That we will and stay at home, think of him there. Nay, shew Him forth ye must. That we will by a sermon of Him. Nay, it must be hoc facite. It is not mental thinking, or verbal thinking, there must be actually somewhat done to celebrate this memory. That done to the holy symbols that was done to Him, to His body and His blood in the Passover; break the one, pour out the other, to represent klèmeuou, how His sacred body was 'broken,' and ekcuu_meuou., how His precious blood was 'shed.' And in Corpus fractum, and Sanguis fusus there is immolatus. This is it in the Eucharist that answereth to the sacrifice in the Passover, the memorial to the figure. To them it was, Hoc facite in Mei praefigurationem, 'do this in prefiguration of Me:' to us it is, 'Do this in commemoration of Me.' To them prenuntiare, to us, annuntiare; there is the difference. By the same rules that theirs was, by the same may ours be termed a sacrifice, In rigour of speech, neither of them; for to speak after the exact manner of Divinity, there is but one only sacrifice, veri nominis, 'properly so called,' that is Christ's death. And that sacrifice but once actually performed at His death, but ever before represented in figure, from the beginning; and ever since repeated in memory, to the world's end. That only absolute, all else relative to it, representative of it, operative by it. The Lamb, but once actually slain in the fulness of time, but virtually was from the beginning, is and shall be to the end of the world. That the centre, in which their lines and ours, their types and our antitypes do meet. While yet this offering was not, the hope of it was kept alive by the prefiguration of it in theirs. And after it is past, [300/301] the memory of it is still kept fresh in mind by the commemoration of it in ours. So it was the will of God, that so there might be with them a continual foreshowing, and with us a continual showing forth, 'the Lord's death till He come again.' Hence it is that what names theirs carried, ours do the like, and the Fathers make no scruple at it - no more need we. The Apostle in the tenth chapter compareth this of ours to the immolata of the heathen; and to the Hebrews, habemus aram, matcheth it with the sacrifice of the Jews. And we know the rule of comparisons, they must be ejusdem generis.
Neither do we stay here, but proceed to the other, epulemur. For there is another thing yet to be done, which doth present to us that which celebremus doth represent. From the Sacrament is the applying the Sacrifice. The Sacrifice in general, pro omnibus. The Sacrament in particular, to each several receiver, pro singulis. Wherein that is offered to us that was offered for us; that which is common to all, made proper to each one, while each taketh his part of it, and made proper to each one, while each taketh his part of it; and made proper by a communion and union, like that of meat and drink, which is most nearly and inwardly made ours, and is inseparable for ever. There celebremus passeth with the representation; but here, epulemur, as a nourishment, abideth with us still. In that we 'see' and in this 'we taste how gracious the Lord is,' and hath been to us. And so much for these two as two means to partake the benefit, and we do use them; and as duties required of us, and we to perform them.
Will you mark one thing more, that epulemur doths here refer to immolatus? To Christ, not every way considered, but as when He was offered. Christ's body that now is. True; but not Christ's body as now it is, but as then it was, when it was offered, rent and slain, and sacrificed for us. Not, as now He is, glorifed, for so He is not, so He cannot be immolatus, for He is immortal and impassible. But as then He was when He suffered death, that is passible and mortal. Then, in His passible estate did He institute this of ours, to be a memorial of His passibile and Passio both. And we are in this action not only carried up to Christ, (Sursum corda,) but we are also carried back to Christ as He was at the very instant, and in the very [301/302] act of His offering. So, and no otherwise, doth this text teach. So, and no otherwise, do we represent Him. By the incomprehensible power of His eternal Spirit, not He alone, but He, as at the very act of His offering, is made present to us, and we incorporate into His death, and invested in the benefits of it. If a host could be turned into Him now glorified as He is, it would not serve; Christ offered is it, thither we must look. To the Serpent lift up, thither we must repair, even ad cadaver; we must hoc facere, do that is then done. So, and no otherwise, is this epulare to be conceived.
Now all we have to do, is to shew what we think of this itaque, whether it shall conclude us or no; and that we shew it by our practice, for other answer the Apostle will take none. If we play fast or loose with it on this fashion, as divers do, upon the matter as good to say, The Holy Ghost cannot tell how to make an argument; Christ is offered, but no itaque epulemur for all that. Thus we will not say, for very shame. What then? will we dispensare contra Apostolum, which we blame as a foul abuse in the Pope? and yet I cannot see, but every mean person takes upon him papal authority in this case; and as oft as we list, dispense with the Apostle and his itaque, exempt ourselves from his conclusion:- that we will not seem to do. No, it is not at itaque; the truth is, it is at non in fermento we stick; we love our leaven so well, be it malice or be it some other leaven as bad, so well we love it, we will not part with it; we loath the lamb, rather than the leaven shall out. But in the mean time, there is no trifling with this conclusion, there is no dispensing ourselves will serve. Itaque will not be answered; not, but with epulemur. It layeth a necessity upon every one, to be a guest at this feast. The Jews we know were held hard to theirs upon a great pain, to have, not their names, but their souls cut off from God's people. And is it a less trespass for Christians to pass by care at our hands? No indeed; we must know the Holy Ghost can tell how to infer, and that this itaque of the Apostle's is a binding conclusion. To the next point.
[302/303] Absolutely, we are to keep this feast, but not to keep it quovis modo, no matter how, prepared, unprepared, in any garment, in any sort. No; this non and this sed, not on that manner but this, shew plainly every manner will not serve. What then is the manner? 'Not in the old leaven.' With the Passover he began, and he holds him to it still; that if it be a Passover, reason would it should be kept like a Passover, even in the same manner. Now the Passover was not a loose lawless thing, to hold it in any fashion, it skilled now how. No; it had his laws. Even that, Hæc est lex Paschalis, ye shall read it, Exod. 12.43, 'this is the law of keeping it.'
Indeed, divers laws it had in type, that concern us in truth; among the rest this, for one, in the text. The lamb would not be eaten with every kind of bread, every paste was not for this feast, not leavened in any wise. Such an antipathy there was between leaven and it, as it might not, I will not say come to the board, but not be endured in the house all the feast long, though it were neither tasted nor touched. If it were not thrown out, if nay never so little of it remained in any corner, the law was broken, the feast illegitimate. To make it up then a perfect Passover, here is another yet, which I called our Passover duty; the not staying still in our old leaven, but passing over, as it were, to a new paste, a necessary condition for the right holding this feast. For sweet bread was so proper to the Passover, as ye shall find they be but two diverse names of one and the same thing.
Omnia in figuram illis, saith the Apostle, 'with them all was in type.' What is the spirit of this letter? what meant by leaven? The Apostle tells us the old leaven of Egypt is our former vicious course of life, soured with the leaven of the old Adam, and nova conspersio, is newness of life. The time of offering the lamb, is the time of casting out this. Meet if we would have our sins pass from us, we should pass from them also, and throw their leaven out.
And well is sin likened to leaven. Leaven will grow noisome, if it be kept long; and sin, if it lain long in us, or we in it, turns to a certain sourness, that we ourselves feel an unpleasant savour or upbraiding of it in our souls. Our Saviour felt it so, I am sure; the vinegar He took showed the relish of it. [303/304] By which upbraiding, we find, we need an expurgate for it, as it were a corrupt humour in our souls, that needed to be purged out.
Generally, all old leaven whatsoever; namely, two sorts of it, 1. kaka, and 2. pouhra, turned 'naughtiness and malice.' The words in their own nature - as they properly signify, 1. one noteth a loose licentious lewdness, lightly ending in lust; 2. the other, an unquiet working wickedness, that will take pains to do a shrewed turn, commonly the effect of malice. The sins of lust are well set out in old corrupt leaven, for so they end, most what in corruption and rottenness. The sin of malice likewise. For, as leaven, it makes men swell one against another as if they would burst; and sour are the fruits of it and unpleasant, as any leaven in the world.
These two to be cast out, as those that have a special antipathy with this feast and offering. For no agreement between a foul life, and the feast of an undefiled Lamb. Nor no fellowship between sour malice, and the feast of sweet bread. And these two are specially named, because they were the faults wherewith the Corinthians specially were leavened, to whom he writes. Incest, at the first verse, as we know Corinth heard evil for looseness; - there is nequitia. And again, swelling one against another at the second; - there is malice.
As to rid ourselves of this leaven, so to furnish ourselves, as with new paste, with two leaven-less virtues, 'sincerity and truth.' 'Sincerity,' that is, cleanness of life, a word thought to be taken from honey, which is then mel sincerum when it is sine cera, unmingled, 'without wax' or baggage in it. Eilikrueia, the Greek word, is properly of uncounterfeit wares, such as we may krueiv eu elh ,bring forth and shew them in the sun; as need not the false light of a close shop to utter them. But truth that runs through all, flat against all kind of leaven, if it have any manner leaven, true it is not, and so out it must.
Of leaven in the Gospel, I find three sorts interpreted to our hands, that we cannot mistake. Christ willed His disciples to 'beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.' It is after said, He meant it of their 'doctrine,' that was full of corrupt leaven. 1.The Pharisees: of the leaven of superstition consisting in phylacteries, phrases and observances, and little else. [304/305] 2. 'The Sadducees,' of a leaven that smelt strong of profaneness, in their liberty of prophesying, calling in question angels and spirits, and the resurrection itself. 3. and a third leaven Christ's names, 'the leaven of Herod;' beware that too: many times it is the bane of true religion, when God's truth and worship must be moulded up with Jeroboam's and with Herod's ends; squared to them just as is fittest to do their turns, that Jeroboam may be safe. No superfluous caveat; many times, this marreth all. Let all be abandoned; Pharisees', Sadducees', Herod's, and the truth take place.
Now as in that place the Pharisees' leaven is 'doctrine,' so in another I find that Christ expounds it 'hypocrisy;' and that is merely opposite to truth in meaning, speaking and dealing. The Pharisee was a great dealer with this leaven. He had it on his face, to make him look sour; men might take notice when they fasted. He had it on his tongue; Rabbi, O you teach the truth, you respect no man's person; then they sought to cut his throat. He had it in his whole course, all for show, to seem that they were not; Gabbatha without, and Golgotha within.
But yet even they, though they used it, they taught it not for a doctrine, nor avowed not the lawful use of it; that one might speak the one half without, and the other half within, as our Pharisees now do. Men, ye shall never have any sincere truth from them. Search them, they have still a piece of leaven in their bosom; speak so, and deal so, as if they would take the sentence by the ends, and turn it clean against the Apostle; to purge out all his sweet bread, all sincerity and truth, and hold their Passover ion leaven, or not at all. Antichrist's goat may be so eaten; the Lamb Christ cannot. To the Lamb's nature that is sincere, nothing so contrary as this, to mean, speak, or deal insincerely.
You see a leaven of doctrine and life; that is the leaven of the Gospel. A third there is, the leaven of the Epistle, and that is of corrupt company; and that is, in very deed, the leaven of this text. For when the Apostle would have this leaven here purged, what means he? To have the incestuous Corinthian removed, and cast out of the fellowship of the faithful, by the censures of the Church. True; but those not in every man's power. But this is, to avoid and shun [305/306] them, and their company; so we may, and so we are bound to cast them out.
There is very great danger in persons so leavened, great scandal, even to the well disposed; but far greater danger to the most, that will soon take this leaven; our nature is apt to take it, it is easily fermented that way. As much god that serve three bushels, and never leave till it have soured them all. That, except this be looked to, all the rest ill be to small purpose.
Now when St. Paul speaks of persons thus leavened, he means not only such as are lewd of life, tainted that way, but even such also as are unsound in matter of religion, and have a sour savour that way. Here to the Corinthians, he would have the incestuous person cast out, with his leavened life; but to the Galatians after, he presseth the same point against another kind, such as leavened the Gospel with Moses' ceremonies, and so corrupted the truth in religion; and them he would have cut off, both Corinthian and Galatian leaven, both must out. And mark; upon the same reason both, and in the very same words. That a little leaven doth not a little hurt, but otherwhile marreth the whole batch of bread. Evil doctrine is against truth, evil life against walking in the truth, evil company will bring us to both. Therefore away with them; but away with this especially. If they will not purge out their leaven, purge them out. And that especially, against this feast in the nature whereof there is a contrariety to all leaven.
Now then, this is our conclusion: come we must, and itaque celebremus. this is our caution: thus we must come, non in fermento, sed azymis. If we say, it skills not whether we come, itaque meets with us; if we say, it skills not how we come, non in fermento meets with us too. It is with us here, as with the Prophet; when we would heal one, the other breaketh forth. If we press non in fermento, we lose itaque epulemur, they come not at all; no feast. If we urge itaque epulemur, they come, how? leavened, and unleavened, all clap them down together. We need a quomodo intrâasi hue? to keep some back; and yet we need a compelle intrare, to bring others in. But the manner, but the caution, remember that. The [306/307] main conclusion is that we come. The other we must not leave undone, but this peremptorily we are bound to do.
The Apostle binds us to do it; the time to do it, now. For if this follow - Christ is offered, therefore we are to come to His feast; this will follow as strongly, Christ is now offered, therefore let us now come. Go by degrees: the Christian Passover, our Passover, a time it must have, sometime it is to be kept. We would so it at that time, when it were best for us to do it. When best for us to do it, but at the time He did it Himself? And that did He, even at this feast, now. Now then at this feast it is most kindly to do it; most like to please Him, and to prosper with us.
And indeed, if at any time we will do it, Quando Pascha nisi in Pascha, 'what time is the Passover so proper as at the feast of the Passover?' Quando tempus epulandi, nisi quando tempus immolanndi, 'when the time of His receiving as at the time of His offering?' Therefore they both, the feast and the lamb, have one name, to show the near conjunction that should be between them. When the day comes, to remember what was done on the day, and so what we to do on that day. Pascha quod celebremus, to put us in mind of Pascha quos epulamur. For tell me, will the sacrifice commemorative, or the Sacrament communicative ever fall more fit, than when that was offered which we are to commemorate, and to communicate withal? Is not the fittest time of doing it the time when it was done? Of hoc facite then, when hoc factum est? So that without any more ado, the season itself pleadeth for this effectually.
And now is the time of expurgate for our bodies, the corrupt humours that leaven it, now we cast them out. And why not likewise, those that lie sour in our souls? And even nature's Passover, the general Passover is even at this time, both in Heaven and earth. Above in Heaven, where the sun having past over all the signs is come about, and renews his course at the first sign of the zodiac. And beneath in earth, from the sharp time of winter, and fermenting time of the earth, to the renewing sweet time, the time of the spring, wherein there is nova conspersio in nature itself. And why should not the Passover of grace be now likewise in season, and have due concurrence with nature?
[307/308] Sure all agree well, if we but agree ourselves. And if we agree for our part to do the day's duty, Christ will not be behind with His, the day's benefit; but during our time, and in the hour of death, be our true Passover; shielding us from all deadly mishaps while we here live, and giving us a sure and safe passage at our end, even a passage to the last and great Passover of all; the truth of that whereof theirs was the shadow, and ours the image now. For we have not yet done with our Lamb, or the work of this Passover is not yet fully accomplished.
There is a further matter yet behind; for as this feast looks back as a memorial of that is already past and done for us, so does it look forward, and is to us a pledge of another and a better yet to come, the feast of the marriage of the Lamb here That is our Passover, where whosoever shall be a guest, the angels pronounce him happy and blessed for ever.
That is the last and great feast indeed, when all destroyers and all destructions will cease and come to an end for evermore, and we hear that joyful voice, Transi in gaudium Domini, 'Passover into the joy of the Lord,' the joys of Heaven, joys not mingled with any sour leaven as this world's joy is, but pure and entire; not transient as that of this world, and ever flitting and forsaking us then soonest when we think we have best hold of them, but permanent and abiding still. A Passover that will never be passed over, but last and continue as feast to all eternity. Of that, this here is a pledge, if we neglect it not as it were not worth the taking. And He That at this time gave us this pledge, in His good time also bring us to the Passover whereof this is the pledge, even to the never-passing but everlasting joys and happiness, of His heavenly kingdom, through the offering of His blessed Son the very Paschal Lamb.! To Whom with, &c.