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crimes at length rendered it to no purpose for the ·Spirit of God, whether by outward reproofs and admonitions, or by inward checks of conscience, to strive any longer with man; so entirely, in body and soul, was he given up to the flesh" and the lusts thereof. And as the conversion of a sinner is said to cause joy in heaven, so here, to show the exceeding love of God towards us, and his unwillingness that any should perish, he is represented as repenting that he had made man, and being grieved at the heart". He whom David may be supposed to personate, when he says in spirit-Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law; and who once wept over wretched Jerusalem, at the prospect of her impending woes, is described as looking upon an apostate world with what we cannot express but in terms borrowed from human affections. And this is done with an infinitely greater propriety than some imagine, who do not consider, that in his person who, from the beginning, presided over and conducted the affairs of his church, the two natures of God and man were to be, and in due time actually were, united, he being made in all things like unto us, sin only excepted. As therefore the husbandman, after all his care and pains bestowed upon a favourite field sowed with the choicest seed, when he beholds, at the time of harvest, a crop, not of corn for the granary, but of thorns for the fire, repents him of the time, and labour, and seed he has expended, and is grieved at the heart to find so ill a return made him; such are

in Gen. vi. 3.

n Ibid. 6.

• Ps. cxix. 136

we to conceive the concern of our heavenly Father, the great husbandman of his church, to be, when having sowed therein the seed of his word, and watered it with his heavenly benediction, it produces vices for punishment, instead of virtues for reward; or, to speak in the language which he himself uses by one of his prophets, when he has done all that can be done to his vineyard, and looked that it should bring forth grapes, it brings forth wild grapes. When this is the case, it repents Jehovah, and he is grieved at the heart. Thus an all-merciful God is pleased to represent himself as feeling for us, what we, alas, do not feel for ourselves, or for one another.

7. The Flood denounced.

And now the awful period approached, when the nature of sin was to appear to all the world by its effects and consequences upon the earth and all that lived and moved thereon, their total destruction being resolved upon in the counsels of heaven. The end of all flesh, says God, is come before me. I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the creeping things, and the fowls of the air-I will destroy them with the earth. But, that the Almighty might be justified in his saying, and overcome when his proceedings shall be submitted to the inspection of men and angels at the last day; that none of the antediluvian sinners might then plead ignorance, and complain that they perished for want of warning; he sent not the flood immediately

VOL. IV.

b Isaiah, v. 4.

c Gen. vi. 7, and 13.

upon the earth, but gave man a long notice of its coming-Yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. So when the apostasy of the Gentile Christian church shall be completed, and the measure of her iniquities filled up; when faith shall scarcely be found, and charity shall be frozen at the fountain; in a word, when all flesh shall again have corrupted his way upon the earth; then shall the end of all flesh again come before God, and the earth and all the works that are therein shall be finally destroyed; as the writings of the prophets, evangelists, and apostles, read in our churches, do admonish us from day to day. Notwithstanding which, as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man, they knew not till the flood came, and took them all away. I may add, as it is with the world, so is it also with nations and individuals. They have their times and their seasons of trial and probation, and they have their warnings; after which the axe is laid to the root of the tree, and nothing in heaven or in earth can stay, for one moment, the uplifted hand of justice from striking the fatal stroke.-Open, then, blessed Lord, our eyes, that we may see the things which belong unto our peace, before they are hid for ever from our sight.

8. Noah in Favour with God.

In these worst of times Noah found grace in the eyes of Jehovah'. Human favour is hardly obtained, and easily lost; or, at best, like wine exposed to the sun

d Gen. vi. 3

e Ibid. vi. 12.

f Gen. vi. 8.

and air, soon loses its flavour, and grows vapid in the cask while the favour of God is acquired by only seeking our own happiness; its relish improves with time; and the fruit of this vine shall be drunk new in the kingdom of heaven, to all eternity. Divine favour is better than all the abundance a man can possess, or covet; nay, better than life itself. It makes holy, and it makes happy. The world cannot do the former; and therefore fails in the latter.

9. Just and perfect in his Generation.

Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generation. He was, as the apostle tells us, heir of the righteousness which is by faith", a believer in him, who justifies the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith, if through that faith they work righteousness, as Noah did, being perfect, or upright in his generation: perfect, not as the holy Jesus was perfect, or as the spirits of just men are to be made perfect in heaven, but with such perfection as man can attain unto in this his state of pilgrimage, not by sinless obedience to the law of works, but by repentance and faith, by pardon and grace, and by a service acceptable to God in Jesus Christ, who forgives us our sins, and heals our infirmities, and leads us into the paths of righteousness, and enables us to walk therein. Thus was Noah perfect in his generation, or in the age in which he lived:

Among the faithless faithful only he;

persevering in his integrity, when all around him was

Gen. vi. 9. h Heb. xi. 7.

i Rom. iii. 30.

k Heb. xi. 33.

infidelity and idolatry, intemperance and debauchery, riot, violence, and confusion; not saving himself by flight, but fighting the good fight and conquering; not going out of the world, but living uncorrupt in it; a lily among thorns, diffusing its sweets in the wilderness; a light burning and shining in blackness of darkness. Therefore was he the favourite of Heaven, and the delight of the Most High, who was pleased to constitute him the representative deliverer and restorer of the human race. Noah (says the son of Sirach) was found perfect and righteous in the time of wrath, he was taken in exchange for the world; therefore was he left as a remnant unto the earth, when the flood came'. Let not then the Christian, whose lot it is to live in the midst of a crooked and adulterous generation, plead the impossibility of withstanding the force of custom and example: but let him, like Noah, buckle on the Christian panoply, and watch, and pray, and so enter into the battle; and then, like him, he shall overcome, and triumph in the name of the Lord his God, on that day when the world of the ungodly shall sink into the devouring flames, and be no more heard of for ever and ever.

ness.

10. A Preacher of Righteousness.

Noah is styled by St. Peter a preacher of righteousNot content to save himself from that untoward generation, he strove continually to save others also, by declaring to them their sin, and their danger, and calling them to repentance and amendment of

1 Ecclus. xliv. 17.

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