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the vanities of this ensnaring world, and open them to behold the unveiled beauties of my glorious Redeemer; to whom, be universal and everlasting praise!
SEEMING CONTRADICTIONS RECONCILED.
Gen. vi. 6. It repented the Lord that he had made man
on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 1 Sam. xv. 29. The Lord is not a man that he should
The seeming contradiction in these passages arises from the same term being used in the one metaphori. cally, and in the other literally. It is literally true, that repentance is not predicable of the Divine nature, inasmuch as it implies mutability, and imperfection in knowledge and wisdom, neither of which can be applied to the infinitely blessed God. But in order to address himself impressively to us, he frequently personates a creature, or speaks to us after the manner of men. It may be doubted whether the displeasure of God against the wickedness of men could have been fully express. ed in literal terms, or with any thing like the effect produced by metaphorical language. To evince this, I shall take the liberty to introduce a few brief expository notes, on the six preceding verses in Genesis: this chapter gives us an account of the corruption which pre.
ceded the flood, and which moved an infinitely good and merciful Being to bring it upon the earth. We may notice,
1. The occasion of this corruption; viz. the increase of population: it was when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, that they began to corrupt one another. Population is itself a good: but it often becomes the occasion of evil; because men, when numbers of them assemble together, excite and provoke one another to sin. Hence it is that sin commonly grows rankest in populous places. We are originally made to be helpers of one another; but sin perverts the course of things, and renders us tempters of one another. We draw and are drawn into innumerable evils. Oh, draw me not with the workers of iniquity?
2. The first step towards this corrupt state of things was, the mixing of the church and the world in marriages.* The sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair, and they took them wives of all, whom they chose. The sons of God were those of the family of Seth,t of whom we read lately, that they called upon the name of the Lord. (iv. 16.) The daughters of
• Query. Is it unscriptural for a professor of religion to marry a person who is not a professor?
This is a delicate and important question.
Without expressing an opinion upon the validity or invalidity of the arguments for and against mixed marriages, the Editor does not hesitate to say, it must be at least a pleasing circumstance, where conjugal affection unites, in this most endearing of all earthly connexions, two persons of real experimental piety.
† A different sense is given from Cooper of this passage at page 289. The reader can judge which is the most accurate probably as well as the Editor.
VOL.III. * 36
men were of the race of Cain, whose parents having gone forth from the presence of the Lord, or turned their back on religion, were a kind of atheists.
3. The great offence which God took at this conduct, and what grew out of it: The Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4. Observe the estimate which God makes of things: God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Such is the case when the church is gone, and lost in the world. There were some hopeful appearances when the sons of God began to call upon the name of the Lord: but now, a very few excepted, they are all gone. What a picture is here given of what the world naturally is! It is evil: without mixture; only evil; without cessation; evil continually: from the very fountain-head of action; the thoughts of the heart: and all this is not the exaggerated language of creatures: God saw it!
5. Notice the amazing displeasure of God against sin: It repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart! Was ever such language uttered! What words, besides them, could convey to us such an idea of the evil of sin? It is true, we are not to understand them literally: but they convey to us an idea that the sin of man is so heinous, and so mischievous, as to mar all the works of God, and to render them worse than if there were none. So that if God had not counteracted it, there had better have been no world! Any created being, on seeing all his works. thus perverted, would repent, and wish he had never
made them. Oh the exceedingly provoking nature of sin! What must be that grace which could give his only begotten Son to die for it; and could find in his heart, for his sake, freely to forgive it? Be it our great concern, that, like Noah in the ark, we may be found in Him!
1 Cor. x. 33.
I please all men in all things.
Gal. i. 10. If I yet pleased men, I should not be the ser
vant of Christ.
Though both these kinds of action are expressed by one term, to please, yet they are exceedingly diverse; no less so than a conduct which has the glory of God, and the good of mankind for its object, and one that originates and terminates in self. The first of these passages should be read in connexion with what precedes and follows it: ver. 31, 33, Whether, therefore, ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence; neither to the Jews, nor to the gentiles, nor to the church of God; even as I please all men in all things; not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. From hence it appears plain, that the things in which the apostle pleased all men, require to be restricted to such things as tend to their profit that they may be saved. Whereas, the things in which, according to the latter passage, he could not please men, and yet be the servant of Christ, were of a contrary tendencỹ. Such were the objects pursued by the false teachers whom he opposed, and
who desired to make a fair shew in the filesh, lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. Chap. vi. 12.
The former is that sweet inoffensiveness of spirit, which teaches us to lay aside all self-will, and selfimportance; that charity which seeketh not her own, and is not easily provoked; it is that spirit in short, which the same writer elsewhere recommends from the example of Christ himself.
We then, who are strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please oilrselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good, to edification: for even Christ fileased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee, fell on me, Rom. xiv. 1, 3.
But the latter spirit referred to, is that sordid compliance with the corruptions of human nature, of which flatterers and deceivers have always availed themselves; not for the glory of God, or the good of men, but for the promotion of their own selfish designs.
Genesis viii. 22. While the earth remaineth, seed-time
and harvest shall not cease. Genesis xlv. 6. There are five years in which there
shall be neither earing nor harvest.
The first of these passages contains a general truth, or rule, which as is common with general rules, has its particular exceptions. And yet it hardly amounts to an