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ed unto them when they were dead? Does not the nature of the case direct us to conclude, without any
hesitation, that the preaching unto them was while they were living? If we compare the two passages together, we shall find, that the same mode of interpretation applies with equal propriety to each. But we have another particular to notice, viz. The medium through which Christ preached to these antediluvians. “This,” says the apostle, “was by his Spirit;" that is, by the warnings, the exhortations, the reproofs of his Spirit, in the ministry of his inspired servant Noah. This accords with what the apostle had suggested in the first chapter of this epistle, ver. 10, 11, 12, where he informs us, that the prophets, and, doubtless Noah among others, conceived and spake as the Spirit of Christ, which was in them, did signify; and it also serves to explain the declaration of Jehovah, respecting those very persons to whom the passage before us refers: “The Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man."*
The above is no novel interpretation of the passage in question; it corresponds with the commentary of the venerable Bede. Paraphrasing on the words, as Fulke, in his notes on the Rhemish Testament observes, he expresses himself thus: “He, who in our time, coming in the flesh, preached the way of life to the world, even he himself came before the flood, and preached to them who were then unbelievers, and lived carnally; for even he, by his Holy Spirit, was in Noah, and the rest of the holy men, who were at that time; and, by their good conversation, preached to the wicked men of that age, that they might be converted to better manners.”
* Genesis vi. 3.
servants unto men.
The passage thus interpreted, suggests some very interesting remarks. Hence we observe, First, That it is Christ himself who preaches by the ministry of his
Thus he preached by his Spirit in Noah, in the prophets, and in the apostles. Thus also he preaches by his ministering servants in the present day. They are not indeed immediately inspired by Christ, so as to be rendered infallible, as the prophets and apostles were; but the office of a gospel-ministry is ordained by him: he qualifies and sends forth persons to engage in this office, he has given them his word as the rule of their ministry; and so far as their addresses accord with this rule, it may be truly said, that Christ himself preaches by them. They who disregard the instructions,the warnings,the exhortations, thus given unto them in the name of Christ, are chargeable with the rejection of Christ himself, and must account unto him for their conduct.
Another idea which this passage suggests is, that multitudes of those to whom Christ preaches by his ministering servants, are disobedient to his word. This is the character here given of the persons to whom he preached by Noah. Moses often complained of it in the Israelites, and so did the prophets in general. “All the day long,” said Isaiah, “have I stretched out my hands to a gainsaying and disobedient people.” We have sad evidences of the fact, even under the personal ministry of Christ himself, and that of his apostles. It is glaringly manifest in the present day. The word here rendered disobedient,properly signifies unpersuadable; and is not this descriptive of the generality of persons around us, to whom the gospel is sent? Neither warnings, exhortations, nor encouragements, can persuade them to flee from the wrath to come. Ignorance, insensibility, self-righteous pride, delusive hopes, depraved affeca tions, satanic influence, so fatally stupify their minds, that they are equally unaffected by the threatenings of God's vengeance and the proclamations of his mercy.
From this passage we remark further, that God bears for a season with those who are discbedient to the word which Christ preaches by his ministering servants. Thus he did with these antediluvians. His patience bore with them during the long space of 120 years, swhile the ark was preparing.” Thus has he born with similar characters in every age. What instances have we of this among ourselves! How long has he born with us! He acts thus, in order to magnify his long-suffering,--that he may have mercy on his chosen at the appointed periods--that the ungodly may fill up the measures of their iniquity, and that the finally impenitent may be rendered the more inexcusable.
Lastly, We learn from this passage, that they who continue disobedient to the preaching of Christ by his ministering servants, shall, at death, have their spirits cousigned and cast into the prison of hell. This was the miserable fate of those who were disobedient in the time of Noah. Though God bears with these characters for a season, yet he does not overlook their conduct. He marks all their ways: his patience has its limits. With respect to some, it is of comparatively short duration. They who are yet disobedient, are in a most perilous condition. The period of God's longsuffering toward them is very uncertain: it may terminate the very next moment! If they should be cut off in their disobedience, by the stroke of Death, their de parting spirits would be dragged like criminals, by the authority of God, into the prison of hell: there they would be confined in chains of darkness, in a state of misery, and reserved unto the judgment of the great day! Let every reader examine himself, and beware lest he become a companion of them who were disobediont in the days of Noah!
ON 2 PETER i. 19,
The difficulty in this passage arises from the seeming reference of the comparative more sure, to the heavenly voice mentioned in ver. 18. How can the word of prophecy be more certain than the voice of the divine Father in the holy mount?
This difficulty ceases when we consider that the use of the comparative degree, in the sense of the superlative, is authorized by the purest classics, as well as in several passages of the New Testament.* There is, therefore, no comparison intended between the certainty of the prophetic Scriptures and that of the voice from heaven. The former is introduced merely as an addi. tional ground of certainty and confirmation of faith. “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, we ourselves were eye-witnesses of his majesty, and we heard such a voice from the excellent glory; we have also the more sure word of prophecy."
" See, in the original, Mat, xi. 11. xiii. 32. xviii. 1, 4. 1 Cor. xiv. 18.
+ Taken from Isaiah xlii. 1.
Mr. Markland gives the passage a different turn, retaining the proper force of the comparative word: “This voice, saying, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,t we heard in the mount; and we have, by that means, the words of the prophet more fully confirmed.” That βεβαιότερος and προφητικός λόγος are most strictly capable of being thus translated, is shewn by this excellent scholar, from the practice of the best Greek writers.
REMARKS ON REVELATION xiv. 6, 7.
I saw another anget fly in the midst of heaven, having
the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come; and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and
sed, and the fountain of waters.
I BELIEVE it is the general opinion of Christians that the Lord is now fulfilling this prediction. Several Missionary Sernions have lately been preached on this text, and under this apprehension. I was particularly pleased with one I lately read, preached by Dr. Livingston, before the New York Missionary Society, in 1804: and which a friend lent me. The judicious author first endeavors to ascertain the object of this prophecy, and, secondly, the period of its accomplishment. As to the latter, he observes that commentators have either restricted it to what happened at the Reformation, or thrown itinto the great mass of events which are to take place after
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