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provision. And as surely as the threatening was carried into execution, in the former instance, by a deluge of water, so surely will it be, in the latter, by a deluge of fire; and none will escape but those who are previously lodged in the ark. For “as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the son of man be: 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.” Math. xxiv. 37-39.*
The ark in which Noah and his family were saved, was contrived by Infinite Wisdom, so as to be perfectly accommodated to the important purpose for which it was built. The grand requisites in its formation were capaciousness and strength. Had the safety of Noah and his numerous associates in the ark, been left to the efforts of his own wisdom, even when forewarned of his danger, it is evident that his mind must have sunk into despair, and the wished for escape been abandoned. In like manner, the contrivance of the Gospel-Salvation is the result of infinite wisdom. No finite understanding could have laid such a plan: for the remission of sin and the justification of the offender, in a way not only consistent with the justice and the truth of God, but highly honourable to both, must have proved, to the intellect of men and angels, an utter impossibility. The antitypical ark is so capacious, that all who will may find admission into it; and it is built of such materials that it will outlive every storm, and infallibly secure its inhabitants from every danger that otherwise awaited them.f The door is now open, and the “preacher of righteousness,” even of “ the righteousness which is of faith,” is commissioned to continue the proclamation, that "yet there is room;" and that our ark is sufficiently capacious and strong “to save to the uttermost" all who fly to its shelter. It was Divinely constructed for the express and exclusive purpose of receiving and securing from destruction all who,
* See Faber's “Dissertation respecting Christ's prophecy delivered from the Mount of Olives, as immediately connected with the period of the 1260 days."
being warned of God,” and “moved with fear," seek the refuge it affords.
The assemblage of creatures, who were admitted into the ark of Noah, may fitly represent the various characters of those who find salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ. Some of all sorts
t “Thou shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.” Gen. vi. 14. the bitumen with which the ark was covered, is the word which is elsewhere often used for atonement, expiation, appeasement : and with a feminine termination signifies the lid or covering of the ark in the Mosaic tabernacle, and afterwards in the Temple, in allusion to which St. Paul, speaking of Christ, says, “ He is the propitiation for our sins."
were received. Animals, clean and unclean, found a refuge there.
This distinction, as is well known, is used in the Prophetic Scriptures, to denote that of Jews and Gentiles. In the ark of redemption there is no exclusive enactment respecting Jew or Greek, Barbarian, Scythian, bond or free. None were rejected by Noah on account of their nature or previous qualities and instincts. The door was set open; and the lion and the bear received as hearty a welcome, as comfortable accommodation, and as full security, as the useful ox or the harmless sheep. Thus, in Christ Jesus, all who are cordially disposed to seek salvation in his name, are equally welcome to it, and sure of obtaining it. Here the pious T'hyatyrian Lydia, and the adulterous woman of Samaria, meet on equal ground. Both needed salvation, and both found it: the dying thief and the devout centurion; the bloody Manasseh and he who, touching the righteousness of the law, was blameless,-all stand on a level as sinners and as saved by grace. None can be saved but by entering through the same door; and all who so enter are eternally secure. “Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out,” was, as it were, inscribed over the door of Noah’s receptacle for perishing creatures, and was the rule by which his conduct was regulated. And the same inscription, in characters large and distinct, meets the eye of every returning sinner who ventures to
raise it in the hope of obtaining mercy in his time of need.
The influence by which Noah's refugees were collected in the ark, is the same with that by which sinners are gathered to Jesus Christ. In both cases the power of God is exerted. For it is evident that no rhetoric of Noah could have induced the stately lion, or the timid hare, to have entered into his ark. He might have invited and threatened, till every argument wa exhausted, and till his tongue clave to the roof of his mouth, ere a single animal would have been induced to comply with his proposal. He, the Almighty and Allgracious Being, who willed the salvation of a remnant of the various tenants of his world, by His own invincible influence, counteracted all their natural instincts, and effectually constrained them to flock to the receptacle which He, in his mercy, had prepared for them. In like manner, all those who come to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, are drawn to Him by the energy of Almighty Grace. Thereby their natural propensities are overcome, and they are made willing in the day of God's power, according to the saying of our blessed Lord, “No man can come unto me, except the Father who hath sent me draw him ;” and “ all that the Father hath given me shall come to me."
The different manner in which the various animals must have come to Noah for admission
to his ark, may also afford us an instructive lesson. While the antelope and the eagle, instigated by their newly acquired instinct, hastened rapidly to their new habitation, the snail and the sloth may be supposed to have made their removal thither a very tedious journey. Yet all who were drawn at length came and were saved. So some among those whom the Spirit of God awakens to a concern about salvation, impelled by fear or won by love, concur at once in the Gospel-proposal, and fly without delay to the cross and are saved. While others, from a variety of natural character, or obstacles interposed by circumstances of education, station in life, or relative connexion, are more tardy in their spiritual motions, and are long before they arrive where only peace and safety can be found.
“ The sloth never leaves the tree in which it lives and on which it feeds, while any thing remains that can serve it for food. When destitute of provisions above, it crawls slowly from branch to branch, in hopes of finding something still left, till it is obliged to encounter all the dangers that attend it below. Though it is formed by nature for climbing a tree with great pain and difficulty, yet it is utterly unable to descend. It therefore is obliged to drop from the branches to the ground ; and as it is incapable of exerting itself to break the violence of its descent, it drops like a shapeless heavy mass, and feels no small shock in the fall.