Imatges de pÓgina
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sessed considerable wealth and authority, or he could not have accomplished the undertaking, circumstances which must have contributed to give great publicity and weight to his admonition and example; yet, with all this additional influence, no effect was produced even on his own household, of whom none but his wife and children were saved. The ungodly sinners hardened their hearts against the day of wrath and vengeance on the enemies of God.

Of those saved in the ark, the religious character of Noah is alone particularly noticed. His family is mentioned, but only as such; and subsequent events lead us to conclude, that one was an unbeliever, but spared for his parent's sake, and preserved from the general ruin.

The day of grace, the space allowed for repentance, during which they had not repented, being past, God opened the windows of heaven, the flood-gates of the torrents of divine wrath, and poured forth the streams of his vengeance, which swept away the impenitent inhabitants of a polluted world. The abiding place of the Almighty, where the redeemed are to find a refuge from every sorrow, and treasures of happiness, becomes the store-house of a deluge of destruction, to blot out the generations of the wicked from the earth.

The same waters which executed the sentence of wrath upon a guilty world, bore up the ark. It floated in peace and security amidst the devastation which every where prevailed around it.

The judgment was universal. In the execution of it two distinctions of character are alone admitted; the righteous and the wicked. The former are saved, the latter are destroyed. There is no favour or difference but what arises from the general principle of divine government,

It was also inevitable: as it came from the supreme authority, so it excluded all hope of escape, and debarred all thought of appeal to a higher tribunal. It was final and decisive.

It was forewarned. The declaration was clearly and fully manifested: the signs of its accession were made evident. Even the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air obeyed the heavenly summons; but the sinners, to whom it was particularly directed, alike shut their eyes and closed their ears against the invitations of mercy, or the warnings of punishment. The approach of judgment produced no alteration; the clouds cover the heavens with blackness; the waters descend from above; the foundations of the great deep are broken up,

and their secret stores are poured forth to complete the work of punishment, but no impression is made; the guilty creatures are compelled to fly to the hills to save them from the great day of their Creator's wrath. Vain refuge-the flood knows no limit to its increase, but the accomplishment of the purpose for which its sources are employed, but not exhausted.

The person of Noah presents to us an emblem of him who was perfect in his generations; who was sent to comfort us concerning our toil, and the work of our hands; the sin which we have committed, the bondage of corruption by which we are enslaved, the sorrows of this life passed in a land cursed because of transgressions. Him hath God accepted, not only as a preacher, but also as a minister of righteousness to all, who believing in his name, flee to him for salvation. For his sake his family, the church of the true and living God, shall be saved. When the floods of destruction are poured upon the ungodly, none shall make them afraid. The ark of God shall receive them, and his power shall preserve them for his glory and their everlasting happiness. Hence Noah appears in the twofold distinguished character of the son of God; as the denouncer of punishment, and the preacher of righteousness. The principles on

which he proclaimed the latter, must have been those on which his own practical piety was established; faith in the sacrifice of a perfect and immaculate victim, influencing the believer to a holy life. Those on which he declared the former, must have been the justice and holiness of God, which prevent his sparing the guilty. In each character, he is an illustrious type of the Son of man, who came by his own sacrifice to seek and to save that which was lost; and to declare the wrath of God against all workers of iniquity; and as announcing the day of vengeance, to warn them to flee from the wrath to come.

The judgment, its denunciation, its slow, yet sure approach, correspond to, and foreshow the grand conclusion to which God shall bring the earth, the doom by which he will terminate this portion of his kingdom and government. Fire or water are equally the instruments of his displeasure against them that know not, nor obey his gospel. The warning of judgment is given; it is inevitable; it is divinely appointed. Inattention or incredulity will neither defeat its purpose, or retard its approach. When the time determined by the Disposer of all things arrives, the elements will be found in league with him and his servants to execute his commands. Neither the rocks nor

hills will be able to cover from the wrath of the Lamb.

Yet, in that great and dreadful day, God will separate the sheep from the goats, the righteous from the wicked, between him that serveth him and him that serveth him not.

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