« AnteriorContinuar »
the water of the flood typified the water of baptism, and maintains that as the former destroyed the wicked antediluvians, but preserved Noah, by bearing up the ark which contained him, so baptism may be said to destroy the ungodly and save the righteous, as it was prefigured by the Deluge in both these effects. * Fairbairn also considers the water referred to, and regards the essence of the type as consisting in this double effect; but he differs from MʻKnight in applying the destructive effect of the water to the corruption of believers instead of the persons of the wicked. •
Were it a never-failing practice with the sacred writers to observe the rule of the original language, to which the former of these writers refers, then, not only would his remarks be correct, but what he relates would at once fix the sense of the Apostle. In that case, to the water and the water only, should we be justified in referring the type. It is presumed, however, that few persons who are acquainted with the liberty taken by the writers of the New Testament with the language in which they wrote, will risk the meaning of any passage of Scripture merely on such an uncertain basis; and how M'Knight could attach much importance to the circumstance on which he founds his conclusion, appears strange, since he himself has shown that they did not always confine themselves, as he seems to think they did, in this instance, and admits that this very relative may sometimes refer to any one of the words in a preceding sentence, and even to the sense ex
* See M‘Knight in loco.
pressed by the whole of it, and gives instances in which this is the case.*
Now if the relative in this case be allowed to refer to the sense of the preceding verse, then it is the salvation, which Noah enjoyed, that was the type, and not simply the water by which it was effected.
What seems to have induced the writers above-mentioned to consider the water and not the salvation as the type, was the circumstance of water being used in baptism. They appear to have thought that since it is certain that baptism is the antitype, and water is used in that ordinance, therefore water must be the type referred to; but to say nothing of the undue importance which this view of the subject would seem to attach to the mere rite of baptism, and the danger to which it might, if adopted, expose some, of expecting to be saved by its efficacy, it should be observed, that the Apostle does not speak of water at all, but he makes the type to be that which the water ordinance signifies, and expressly says, “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” +
The term baptism here seems to stand for a renewed life, called by John “the baptism of the Holy Ghost and of fire ;"and by Paul, “ the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."|| As those who are the subjects of this Divine change are interested in Christ, they may be said to be saved by it, as * “ Preliminary Essay,” vol. i., p. 98, No. 65-6. + 1 Pet. iii. 21. Matt. iii, 11. | Titus iii. 5.
Noah was saved by the ark and the waters of the flood. If the propriety of our remarks be admitted, then the salvation of Noah and his family from the effects of the Deluge, and not the waters merely by which it was effected, was the type of the salvation of believers in Christ, from the effects of Divine wrath. It was so,
I. In respect of its origin. The ark was of Divine appointment.
Self-preservation is the first law of nature ; and as it is not the design of Divine grace to destroy our concern to maintain this, it is reasonable to suppose that Noah, although a good man, would naturally feel desirous to guard himself against the appalling effects of the Deluge, when he knew
it was coming upon the earth; and, no doubt, like others, he would have had recourse to all the most ingenious schemes necessary to keep himself and his household alive, unless God had expressly told him that he was to fall in the general destruction, in which case he would probably have submitted to the will of heaven; but it may be questioned whether, at the worst, he would have had recourse to such an expedient as the ark. It was altogether unprecedented—nothing of the kind ever having appeared or been required before ; and if any such preparation had been made by him, it would have proved utterly useless, and, like every other refuge, have failed.
The same is true with respect to the gospel method of salvation. It is exclusively a contrivance of God—the result of his infinite wisdom, mercy, and power. Therefore it is said, “Eye hath not seen, nor
ear heard, neither have
entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."*
Not only was the salvation of Noah by the ark an invention which was beyond the reach of human wisdom, but when revealed, how great must have been the surprise which the knowledge of it produced in the mind of the patri. arch! For the announcement that the Almighty would destroy the world, on account of its depravity, or that he would bring some heavy judgment upon its guilty inhabitants, he may have been prepared; but he could not be otherwise than astonished that Divine mercy should make so great a distinction in favour of him, and especially of his family. And is there not a parallel to this in our salvation by Christ? We talk of scepticism, but surely if there be any one thing more than another in the Gospel of Christ calculated to cause us to hesitate in our belief, it is the circumstance that men and not the angelic hosts should be the objects of his merciful regard; such, however, is the course which the Divine compassion has taken. “ For verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham.”+ Hence this is spoken of as “the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints;"I and “into these things the angels desired to look." The salvation effected by the ark was typical,
II. In the kind of security which Noah enjoyed. He was taken under the special care of the Almighty. • 1 Cor. ü. 9. + Heb. ii. 16. Col. i. 26.
$ 1 Pet. i. 12.
Had God only revealed his method of deliverance to his distinguished servant, accompanying his announcement with directions as to the way in which the mercy was to be enjoyed, leaving it to him to secure his own safety, he would then have conferred an unspeakable privilege upon him; and no doubt the same care which he exercised in following the Divine instructions in preparing the ark, he would have manifested, if left to himself, in regard to any that might relate to his entering and remaining in it. To prevent all possibility of error in the latter case, however, and especially to show his unspeakably great mercy, God interposed his own special influence, and the Lord shut him in; nor was this an act of grace merely, but mercy exercised with all the sympathy and compassion of a tender parent. It was the result of his covenant love.
So in Christ there is both an abundant provision for our continuance to the end, and the final perseverance of the saints is secured. Their safety is confirmed in Christ. “ This is the Father's will which hath sent me," said our Lord, " that of all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again, at the last day."* “ They shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”f And Paul, addressing the Philippians, says, “ Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”. And hence his triumphant exclamation to the Romans: “ Who shall separate us
* John vi. 39. † John X. 28. Phil. i. 6.