Imágenes de páginas

henceforward when we see this sign of security, when we measure the vast compass or admire the brilliant colours of the bow in heaven, let us remember who has guaranteed our freedom from a deluge, and trust the promises of his better covenant.

We will not trace our patriarch through the varied events of his latter days. Long he lived honoured and respected; respected as the revered father of our race; honoured as a man pre-eminent in piety, on whom Almighty Providence, in that signal preservation, did seem to set his seal to give the world assurance of his worth. One lamentable fact, one deed of sin and shame, sullies the bright fame of our venerable patriarch. A sad memento that no living man is perfect; that the best and the wisest, if left to their own resources, may become in evil hour the legitimate object of pity or contempt to the weakest or the basest of their fellow men. But let no man pour contempt on the memory of our patriarch for this one offence, perhaps incautiously committed, and which we have no reason to believe was repeated a second time. Let no man think the better of habitual intemperance, because Noah the man of God thus fell in evil hour. It is easy the vices of the best, but it will by no means follow that we have their virtues too. A transient offence, unwitting. ly committed, bitterly repented, and never again repeated, is a very different thing from habitual indulgence in the ways of sin. It was the praise of our patriarch that he was “a just man, and perfect in his generations; and Noah walked with God.” When you merit such a character; when like him you walk with God; then compare yourself with him. But let no man assume his pretensions or his hopes, because in one sad instance there was a like,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

to copy

dess in their crimes.—Peace to his memory, his offence has been forgiven, his ashes rest in hope, his piety still endears him to the hearts of his posterity, and the spirit of olir, father rests peacefully in heaven, awaiting the day when he shall again revisit earth; to witness a second and a final restoration from desolations far more fearful than those which he witnessed when its surface had been drenched with the waters of the flood.

We may not now detain you with the many thoughts suggested by that horrible catastrophe whose history we have been tracing for three successive sabbaths. Its ravages still remain as a beacon to all the nations, tradition has carried it down through ten thousand channels to a's most every family of the earth. To-day we celebrate another and more recent deliverance from a deluge far more frightful, the deluge of our crimes and a perdition that awaits; we celebrate a kindness which lifts more than a single patriarch with his family of seven souls, a kindness which elevates "an exceeding great multitude which no man can number, of every kindred and tongue and people," high above the dangers and the fears of that dread hour And to such celebration it is fit that we should hasten,

Yet ere we quit intirely this affecting subject, let us read what God has written in characters so legible on the cer tainty and rigor with which he vindicates his holiness.

How often do we hear it quoted with approbation from the scriptures that the living God is no respecter of persons! And how often is this sentiment perversely applied to calm the fears and sustain the hopes of those who live without professing like Noah to walk with God, whose conduct knows no reference to the law supreme, and is never moulded by sentiments of love. Such persons will tell us


[ocr errors]

that God respects not persons; and therefore they infer that though they neglect his service, profane his institutions, and in the face of earth and heaven disclaim alliance with his Son, that still they shall be saved as well as those who love and trust him, becanse "God accepteth not the person of any man.” Nay, we will point you to a fact much more consonant with the sentiment than are those crude interpretations which you force upon such sayings. We will point you to the deluge in attestation of the truth, that not the pomp of learning, nor the pride of genius, nor the wealth of provinces, nor the veneration of a world, will save any man under heaven from the strict and rigorous execution of heaven's justice. Vain and short-sighted, how ready are we to think that God adopts concerning us that same standard of judgment which we know to be applied to us by our fellow men. And because that glowworm light, a spark of human genius; because a little learning or a little wealth, bloats up our nothingness in the estimation of our fellows, and we strut our hour in pageantry and pride, we verily believe that Almighty God will reverence these little gifts which his own hand bestows, and will concede to us the importance which our arrogance assumes. Almighty Father! what blushes of shame should mantle in our cheeks, when we reflect that we who are but worms and of yesterday, should feel as if condescending to worship in thy sanctuaty, or should bristle up with pride and refuse to ask thy favour.

Fellow mortals, look upon that deluge. There floated the corpse of many a man of talent, many a man of state. But palaces and provinces are now laid beneath the waters, the decorations of a world are floating undistinguished from the drift-wood and the leayes, dark and unexpressive

is now the eye of science, and the tongue of the eloquent is dumb. Goodness alone is valued, goodness alone is safe; such goodness as is bottomed on the fear of God, and is moulded by daily fellowship with him. Goodness rests safely in the bosom of that ark.--Look upon that delug-, mark how the waters roll. Then say if God respects your pitiful acres or your bales of merchandise; say if the Omniscient so estimates your science, as to set any man living above the obligation of his law, above the dangers of its penalty. Where then will be those acres, where then those shops or palaces, when the disembodied spirit stands before his throne; how dim will be your tapers of learning and of genius, when brought under the effulgence of that supreme intelligence, that infinite understanding, that underived, undiminishing, eternal light.

Nay, look upon that deluge, and tell me what is man in the estimation of his Maker. Say what riches or what numbers the Eternal so respects, as to stain on their account his bitherto spotless glories, the glory of his right. eousness, the glory of his truth;-as to consent for their sakes that justiee no longer shall be the measure of his doing, that order do more shall be the watchword of his rule.

And now lift your eyes towards the lights of heaven. Were this God's only world, were all his riches here, there would be better ground to think him a respecter of your state. But when we see that this expansive, this interminable universe teems with life and with the habitations of life--when we see eighty million' suns, the centres of other systems, the lights of other worlds, shooting their glories from afar to tell us that they exist.-- And when we think that all these bodies, all these eighty million suns form but

one little province in this vast creation; when already stand revealed through the aid of optic glass five and twenty hundred provinces, as vast and still more vast; who will talk of his greatness or of the greatness of this earth; who will call it waste that in this universe of life one little world was whelmed beneath its waters, because the dwellers there despised the God of grandeur.

Nay, look upon the variety that decorates creation; see suns innumerable isolated like our own; and then see other suns, various in numbers, in size, and in appearance, how by twos, by threes, and in still greater numbers, they are combined to wheel around one common centre, and purs sue their many and their mystic dance. What grandeur dignifies, what variety decorates the face of this creation. Look then upon those heavens which shew the glory of their Maker; look upon the flood which declares to man bis righteousness; and now while you may, lay hold upon his power, embrace with our patriarch the faith of God's Messiah, like him display your hope when you worship in his, sanctuary, when you mingle with the world. And then expect like Noah his protection and his blessing, though all the world a second time should perish. “They that know thy name will put their trust in thee; for thou. Jehovah, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.?"

« AnteriorContinuar »