Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

be so diligent to secure the rewards which perish; and shall we be slothful to toil for God, in sight of that “ crown of life which fadeth not away?" Let us contemplate the future with the solemn resolution made in God's strength,“ to live no longer to ourselves, but to him who died for us and rose again.” Let us awake to a keener and more candid inspection of every part of our conduct, that we may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour, and vindicate before an opposing world, those truths of God " which are indeed according to godliness.” Let“ our light shine,” that others may be blessed through our instrumentality. The time is very short; 6 the night is far spent, the day is at hand. Let us cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light.” A few short years and he whom we expect and desire, will come. He doth not forget his church, which he hath purchased with his blood. His happiness as Mediator is incomplete, until his redeemed shall see him face to face, and fully partake his glory. Oh, he longs for the time of full redemption more than the most suffering saint ever longed for it! even for that moment when he shall say to God in the regions of bliss, “ Behold I, and the children which thou hast given me.”



By the Rev. EDWARD CRAIG, A. M.,
Minister of St. James' Chapel, Edinburgh.

MATTHEW xxiv. 37. As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.

THERE is something very tremendous in this announcement; and something deeply interesting to us all. On that solemn occasion, we must all be present to take our part; and if it be true that that day shall burst unexpectedly upon a large portion

VOL. II.-2

[ocr errors]

of mankind, it becomes us to look diligently to ourselves, that we may be found ready, watching unto prayer, with all seriousness and perseverance, redeeming the time.

With a view, then, to impress our minds more powerfully, let us consider the similarity which is thus declared to exist between the two cases,—the coming of the Flood, and the coming of the Son of man; between the destruction of the old world, and of that which is now present.

I. And first, we will speak of the awful event which the early Scriptures record, as happening in the days of Noah.

66 The flood came and took them all away,” or as St. Luke says,

66 Destroyed them all.” The whole surface of the earth was covered with an extraordinary flood of waters; and “all flesh dicd.”

There are several points in the case which it will be well to notice successively; but previously I would observe, that the evidence of facts is now considered as having abundantly established the truth of such an universal deluge, as the book of Genesis records. It was at one time the fashion with modern infidels to deny this. But as the face of the earth has become better known, and the researches of men into the phenomena of its surface have become more abundant, accurate, and well arranged; the proofs have so extensively accumulated, that every fair and candid mind has been compelled to admit the fact. The geological proofs are now ample, that at some time not very remote, the waters of the ocean have flowed over the tops of the highest mountains; and from this point of the argument, which has so long been made one of the strong-holds of Satan, and in which the question was carried only by the presumptuoas assertions of a few, against the admitted ignorance of many, the abettors of a base, dishonorable, and carping infidelity have been compelled for ever to retire. The presumption against such a penal visitation has been silenced by facts. But whatever are the proofs which the surface of the earth exhibits of the deluge, we receive it not on that ground, though we are thankful for the confirmatory evidence; we receive it on the strength of the Scripture testimony, and we proceed to notice from the account of it there given, several interesting particulars. And,

Ist. This fearful judgment was for sometime threatened. It hung for a long time over that devoted race which peopled the old world. “God said to Noah, The end of all flesh is come



before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold I will destroy them with the earth.—And, behold I, even 1, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.” And there can be no question that this threatened judgment was proclaimed to the men of those days. Noah is spoken of by Peter as “ a preacher of righteousness," at the time of the bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly. And from a passage in 1st Peter. chap 3, it appears what bis preaching was; viz. that by the influence of the Spirit of Christ, he preached to the disobedient who are now in the eternal prison, during those days of long-suffering, in which God waited while the ark was preparing; that is, in fact, during the whole period in which the erection of the ark was going on, he warned them of the coming danger, and of his own plan of escape. And this appears also from the 11th chapter of the Hebrews, where it is stated, that by Noah's obedience in preparing an ark, “ he condemned the world." He listened and obeyed; they might have done the same: and since they did not, his obedience to the injunction marked and reproved their sin, and sealed their doom. They were condemned because they did not believe the warning, and seek the appointed way of escape, as he did. It is quite evident, then, that they knew of the threatened evil.

2d, This judgment was for a time delayed. When God saw the wickedness of man on the carth, he 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.” It seem probable, then, that for one hundred and twenty years, the visitation was delayed, and that during the whole of that time, the Spirit of God strove with men, by the preaching of Noah and by the testimony of conscience; and that the ark gradually rising, bore witness to the expected judgment. These hundred and twenty years were “the days of long-suffering, in which God waited;" days in which he “ bore with much long-suffering, the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction."

3d, This judgment was deserved. The deluge of a whole world, and the destruction of all flesh except eight persons is awful. We start from the ncar contemplation of the idea with horror; but our better judgement is convinced, that fearful as

[ocr errors]

was this punishment, it was fully merited. It was the due and legitimate consequence of sin. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” And “all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth;" so that “God saw that the wickedness of man was great upon the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was evil only continually.” At any moment, therefore, God might vindicate his own honor, and satisfy his offended justice, by the infliction of the deserved penalty on the whole race. Multitudes, innumerable as the sands on the sea-shore, do not alter the question. Had the whole universe of worlds been in the same moral circumstances, the case would still have been clear and simple.

But the evil was still more manifestly deserved than as the direct punishment of sin. It came at last in conscquence of men's persistency in evil, and in disregard of the warning and the way of escape. They are surely condemned ten-fold who equally disregard the threat of vengeance and the offer of mercy, and who fill up the period of long-suffering with willful rebellion.

4th, This judgment was at the last unexpected. The habit of unbelief cherished against sufficient and credible testimony, is of the most debasing and slupifying kind. It proceeds in an increasing ratio; so that the hour immediately preceding the impending evil, is the most unbelieving, hardened, and atheistical of all.

It appears that when the ark was finished, and the hundred and twenty years were nearly run out, Noah and his family at the command of God went into the ark, and remained there waiting seven days; during which period the judgment yet delayed. It was a period of much long-suffering, for then the provision for the safety of Noah and his family was completed. The righteous were secure. All this delay could have no other object, but compassion to that race who were now near the crisis of their fate. So that is any one had repented cven on the last of that seven days, and sought the ark as a refuge; surely the Lord, who had shut iu Noah, would have opened that ark for his protection. But we know how unbelief operates. Every day of the seven would add to the confidence and impiety of the wicked. They would directly misinterpret the period of mercy, and turn it against their own souls. Their in pious daring would rise just in proportion as the gliding moments of long-suffering increased in value; and this process of unbelief would be so hardening, that when at last the clouds began to gather blackness, and obscure the day, the last misgiving would be silenced by an infidel laugh, that a mere passing shower should make a faint heart tremble. And in this way, then, notwithstanding the solemn respite of those seven days, the waters of judgment found them unprepared. “They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,"—that is, carelessly absorbed in the sensualities of this life, “ till the flood came and destroyed them all.” Till then, probably, the face of nature was calm and unruffled; on the previous evening, the flowers closed, and the animal creation lay down to rest as usual, with the set of the sun; and man only, the enemy of God, remained awake at his lengthened revel; till at last exhaused, sleep stole over him also, without the faintest consciousness that he had fulfilled the measure of his iniquities, and that on the coming morning he should be waked from his last slumber, by the raging of Almighty wrath.

And when the morning came, and all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened, and the mighty torrent began to fall,-how strange must have been the conflict in every breast, between unbelief and unwilling conviction; between unbending pride and rising despair! Many would yet with philosophic calmness watch for the subsiding of this remarkable shower,--speculate upon its causes, and record

, its phenomena; many, as it increased, would try to brave it with a forced and heartless laugh; and the rising fear would never be suffered to amount to conviction, till the way to the ark was cut off by the swelling current; and whilst it floated peacefully in the offing, there remained nothing for them, but the bitter howling of despair. So that with such minds, to the very last, it would be unexpected.

Then again, this visitation was fatal. The progress of the tide as described in Scripture, involves some awful details. —“ The flood was forty days upon the earth, and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. And the waters prevailed, and increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth, and all the high hills that were under the whole heavens were covered; fifteen cubits above them did the waters prevail.” From this it appears that the ark was built in some low valley; and that the earliest waters raised it

« AnteriorContinuar »