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from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long, we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” *
These memorable events are alike,
III. In the exclusiveness of the privilege enjoyed. There was but one ark; and while all whom it enclosed were saved, those without perished in the waters. “ Neither is there salvation in any other (than Christ]: for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved."
As true religion produces the same effects in every age of the world, no doubt the antediluvians saw much of its power and fruits in the life and conduct of Noah ; and remembering the benevolence of his disposition, whatever might be the opinion they formed of his undertaking, they would entertain the hope, that, should the worst they were taught to expect be realized, he would allow them a share in that provision, which, amidst their taunts and jeers, he had been so long making for himself and his family. But, alas! in this they were fatally disappointed; nor is there any reason to believe * Rom. viji. 35-39.
+ Acts iv. 12.
that, at the most dreadful crisis, any opportunity of entering the ark was afforded to them, whatever may have been the case at an earlier period. This refuge was an expedient prepared for a chosen few. To offer its advantages, therefore, to those to whom he had in vain preached righteousness, was not in the power of Noah. “Come thou and all thy house into the ark," was the invitation which the Almighty gave to him; but to no other was his mercy offered, after the warning had been so long despised.
In like manner it will be in the last great day, when the guilty world, roused from its slumbers by the noise of dissolving elements and the trumpet of the archangel, will be brought to believe the reality of the predicted judgment; but their concern will be for ever too late. " Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came;
and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage : and the door was shut. Afterwards came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”* “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." +
THE LAND OF CANAAN. That heaven is a place as well as a state, appears from the fact that Enoch, Moses, and Elijah, were translated without dying; and our Lord also ascended in the body in which he rose from the dead. As the idea of it, in the former of these characters, is the first to strike the minds of sensitive beings, when it is made the subject of contemplation, and since to set it forth in that light was especially suitable to the church of God in its rude state, it is natural to expect that from the earliest period there would be some knowledge of it as such conveyed to the minds of the servants of God.
To supply what seemed to be required in this respect, as well as for other purposes, the land of Canaan was selected and appointed. That it was a type of heaven, we are not expressly told in the Scriptures; yet such is the
* Matt. xxv. 1–13. + Matt. xxiv. 38, 39.
of the eling monarchs in the daypoken was held
manner in which it is spoken of, and the light in which it was always viewed by the patriarchs themselves, that we can come to no other conclusion concerning it. The promise which God made to Abraham included the literal bestowment of that country upon him and his seed after him: and what he had spoken was fulfilled, when the Jews, in the days of David and succeeding monarchs, came into full possession of the extensive blessing.
In what sense the Almighty intended this gift to be regarded by them, he did not distinctly state; but it is certain that the patriarchs never considered themselves at home in Canaan, but were looking for something beyond, and far superior to anything which that residence offered; for it is expressly said of Abraham, that he “ sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God."* So, when speaking of them with others, the same inspired record says, “ These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an
* Heb. xi. 9, 10.
heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”* It is worthy of remark, that Abraham's seed was mentioned when the promise was renewed, which was not the case at the time it was first given; a circumstance that might seem to indicate the intention of the Almighty to defer the fulfilment until after the time of that patriarch's life: and since such may have been the Divine intention, it is possible that nothing more was intended by his having no possession, and confessing himself a stranger and pilgrim, than to show his conviction that the accomplishment was deferred, and the greatness of his faith in its ultimate fulfilment: but still, since it is said that “he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God,” and that he desired “ a better country, that is, an heavenly,” it seems a fair conclusion that he regarded Canaan as a type of that better portion which he still had in expectation.
The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, however, when speaking of Canaan in connection with the Israelites, whose entrance into it had been forfeited by their unbelief, seems to fix its character and design, at least in their day, beyond a doubt. After alluding to the persons whose failure is recorded, he addresses those to whom the Epistle was immediately directed, and says, “ Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” † The promise here referred to appears to have * Heb. xi. 13-16.
+ Heb. iv. 1.