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because “ the invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being anderstood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead :"* what then must be the inexcusable blindness and infatuation of those, who living in a christian land, still cherish sceptical and unbelieving thoughts; who have not only the books of nature and of Providence spread out with all their wonders before their eyes, but enjoy also the bright light of inspiration, to assist them in their researches. that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for all the wonderful things that he hath done for the children of men." When we observe the wonders of the visible heavens and material earth, but especially when we behold the beautiful rainbow in all its varied hues and brilliant colours, then let us remember God's covenant with Noah, and reflect that all these things are silent witnesses to the faithfulness of Him who

pro• claimed their perpetuity four thousand years ago. Whilst the undeviating course of nature affords to the unbeliever a wretched argument against his God, and the probability of a future judgment; and he impiously asks, “Where is the promise of his coming ? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as heretofore,” we will derive from the changeless tenour of creation, unerring proofs that He who is immutable in the works of his hand, will be equally so in the words of his mouth!

* Rom. i. 20.

Let us therefore proceed to consider, II. The bow which God has " set in the cloud” AS A

TYPE OF THAT COVENANT OF REDEMPTION WHICH

HE HAS MADE WITH ALL THE CHILDREN OF MEN. And in pursuing the beautiful illustration thus afforded us, we shall find that it is not the creature of an inventive fancy, but that in Scripture itself there are direct allusions under this metaphor to the Saviour and the covenant of grace. And here it might be observed that the general state of the world at the present moment in nothing differs from that in which it existed previous to the deluge, except in the great numerical increase of God's faithful people. Lamentable proofs are daily afforded us that the wickedness of man has not abated, and that the “imaginations of his heart are still only evil and that continually.” Human “ flesh” is just as corrupt now as it was then, the human heart remains the same, and the crimes of the antediluvians, and of the cities of the plain, are still committed even in nominally christian lands. Looking at the state of the world, which is like “ the troubled sea whose waves cast up mire and dirt,” we see no reason why the holy indignation of the Lord should not fall upon us as it did on them. Already the gathering clouds of God's vengeance may be seen like a mighty tempest in the distant horizon, they almost cover

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our world, wrath is about to come forth from the Lord! But behold “ a bow in the cloud,” an arch of mercy, the emblem of hope and peace, spans the heavens-it is the promised Saviour! The lustre of the Sun of Righteousness gilds the darkened sky, and the storm shall pass away from a sinful world!

Ezekiel the prophet was favoured with a glorious vision of “the Lord's Christ” under this symbol.* He had seen " a throne, and the appearance of A MAN upon or above it;" and then he beheld “as the appearance of THE BOW THAT IS IN THE CLOUD IN THE DAY OF RAIN, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. THIS WAS THE APPEARANCE OF THE LIKENESS OF THE GLORY OF THE LORD! And when I saw it, I fell upon my face !” This was evidently a manifestation of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, presented in the vision of a beautiful rainbow. In the book of Revelation the Saviour is again exhibited in this figure. “A throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne-and there was a rainbow round about the throne in sight like an emerald.” And in another vision of the same glorious Being, “a rainbow was upon his head!” |

Behold then this splendid vision! It is the rainbow! How lovely and how delicate its blended

+ Rev. iv. 3.

* Ezek. i. 28, 29.

Rev. x. 1.
VOL. II.

N

colours, how perfectly do they amalgamate, and melt into each other, while each retains its primitive purity! How brilliant and how tender the mist which hangs around it! It is the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ ! All his perfect attributes, justice and mercy, holiness and love, power and goodness, concentrated in one glorious Saviour! He is one among ten thousand, and altogether lovely! No appearance in heaven or in earth can be half so beautiful as he! Such dazzling glory, such melting tenderness ! such majesty, such humiliation! INIMITABLE APPEARANCE! How impotent the pencil of the painter to communicate to the canvas the vivid colouring of the rainbow! It is beyond the

power of art effectually to represent it! And what pen can describe, what tongue adequately declare the glories of Messiah! WONDERFUL too are the phenomena of that luminous appearance. The natural causes of the rainbow were totally misunderstood for centuries : and even now the more the philosophy of this common object of observation is studied, the more complex and wonderful it appears. But what is this compared with the great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh! What are the most profound arcana of nature when contrasted with the wonders of redeeming love, with the simple yet magnificent idea of Incarnate Deity! a truth which the humblest and most untutored mind is capable of receiving even to the salvation of the soul; while the proudest intellect is unequal to explain the mystery! Observe, too, how WIDE THE SPAN OF THAT GLITTERING ARCH, which seems to rest its utmost points on either horizon! It is the emblem of universal redemption. High above the heads of all, each eye is invited to gaze upon its beauty. Universal is the curse, the ruin, the condemnation; the righteous judgments of an offended God impend alike over all, whilst to each uplifted eye is visible the emblem of eternal love, and of the glories of redemption! To the rainbow indeed there belongs one peculiarity : it appears only when the bright sun gleams upon falling drops of rain. Neither can the glories of Christ be seen except through the tears of godly sorrow! In the deceptive glare of this world's pleasures, honours, and gains, the Saviour cannot be seen by faith. He is hidden alike from the vain and trifling, and from the wise and prudent; but when the threatened storm of God's holy law seems ready to burst upon the convinced and prostrate sinner, who is now melting into tears of genuine repentance, presently a bright gleam bursts through the opening cloud of God's vengeance, and the bow is displayed, the sure emblem of returning mercy !

Once more; we have seen the perpetuity of this token of the covenant. Four thousand years have passed, and still the bow is in the cloud !

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