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a little, perhaps, beyond the bounds of modera-, tion; or at worst, for pursuing their career of pleasure, in a few cases, to a culpable excess. Besides, with full allowance as to the corrupted state of the world, and stating the sum of its iniquity at the height of the most pious computation, was there not much to admire, much to revere in it? Were all its advances in knowledge, arts, and civilization, to be left out of the account? Were all the comforts of human invention no symptoms of improving happiness? And because of a little evil here and there, were they to be terrified with the superstitious dotage, that every vestige and form of this fair creation would be swept away into utter and endless ruin? Unwilling to deny, or borrowing a sort of security from such convincing arguments, they went on, as our Saviour tells us, eating and drinking, marrying and given in marriage, until the day arrived when Noah entered into the ark, and the hour of conviction became to them the hour of destruction.
In spite of all this specious train of reasoning, (and which pretty much accords with the liberal opinions of the present day) the word of GOD
prevailed; the flood did come, as Noah had foretold; and the despised preacher of righteousness now alone found help and safety in the God of his salvation. His friends, his neighbours, and relations, who had either neglected, or presumptuously derided, his admonition, looked in vain to him for help! There was no hiding place, no refuge from the storm, but within the ark—and God had shut the door. The waters, which soon rose above the highest hills, bore all away with irresistible force; the day of acceptance was over, and the night of judgment closed in for ever on a corrupt and perverse generation! Thus Noah condemned the world, and thus, by confiding in and acting upon the promises of his God, he became, as the Apostle states, heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
But interesting as this dreadful narrative must appear, either as a striking monument of divine indignation, or as confirming the certainty of revelation on which our belief is founded, when from the prediction thus proclaimed, and thus fulfilled, we bring the mercy and judgments of our God into nearer comparison, it
speaks, or it ought to speak, with more awakening effect. And if the preacher of righteousness to the old world be allowed to stand forth as a type of the messenger of peace and salvation to the new, if the deliverance from a flood of water be the picture of as sure a deliverance from the flood of sin and death, over which we are to be borne triumphant, through faith in Christ Jesus, then the history applies itself to all our hopes, and to all our fears; then it gives to precept the confirmation of experience; and in its beginning, its progress, and its end, marks the rise, the success, and accomplishment of a Saviour's doctrine and kingdom.
To establish the final covenant between the Creator and his creatures, to fulfil the last promise of forgiveness to his rebellious subjects, and to shelter us from the wrath to come by timely notice of our danger, did the Son of God (the seed of the woman that was to bruise the serpent's head) take our nature upon Him, and visit us in great humility. And unless we refuse to attend to the purport of his coming; unless we disdain, like those in the time of the despised Patriarch, to listen to his admonitions ; we shall see the same protecting arm held forth to save, the same avenging hand uplifted to destroy; we shall find a repetition of the same consoling promises, and the same tremendous consummation. My spirit, said the Almighty, shall not alway strive with man, for that he also is flesh, and the end of all flesh is come before me; but come thou and thine house (addressing himself to Noah) into the ark. Is the language of our Saviour less authoritative, or less explicit-Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish? But, as in the case of Noah, holding forth the means of salvation to all believers, Come unto me, says he, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. He saw the tempest that was ready to break on a guilty world, and viewing it in all its desolating consequences to impenitent men, he prepared an ark for the saving of his house ; he instituted and ordained his church, against which the gates of Hell were not to prevail, to shelter the family of the faithful from the impending storm..
Here, safe with our spiritual Noah, we may defy the raging elements; from hence the Angel of Peace, at the final wreck of all things,
will go forth and return like the Dove with the olive branch, to tell us that our footing is sure, that new heavens and a new earth appear, and that we may again tread with safety in the presence of our God and Saviour.
If, then, salvation by Jesus Christ be the object of our hopes and wishes; if in faith we would truly turn to him, lest with hearts of unbelief we should fall into condemnation; if also the Patriarchal, the Mosaic, and the Christian dispensations (as we trust to prove) were only different inclosures, which God by several ordinances had fenced, to keep his church unmixt with and separate from the world, and to preserve within its fold the adopted children of Christ's holy family; are we not summoned to look to our everlasting Deliverer, and to consider how these things are accomplished in us, who live in this last age of the world?
The same Spirit, my brethren, that preached in Noah to the old world, and in Christ to the Jews, preaches now to you in the ministration of the Gospel. We are appointed and ordered to warn you from God of things not seen as yet, of a sudden and invisible destruction coming like a