Now Noah was 600 years old when the floodwaters came upon the earth.
Come thou and all thy house into the ark, &c. Covenant mercy. A type of the Christian Church, with its special privilege and defense, surrounded with the saving strength of God.
I. DIVINE PREPARATION. Providence. The ark.
1. Human agency under inspired direction. The word of God. The institutions of religion. The fellowship of saints.
2. A preparation made in the face of and in spite of an opposing world The history of the Church from the beginning.
3. The preparation as safety and peace to those who trust in it, notwithstanding the outpoured judgment.
II. DIVINE FAITHFULNESS. "Come thou for thee have I seen righteous." fret the merit of man is the ground of confidence, but the Lord's grace. I have seen thee righteous because I have looked upon thee as an obedient servant, and have counted thy faith for righteousness. Faithfulness in God is an object of man's trust as connected with his spoken word and the preparation of his mercy.
III. DIVINE SUFFICIENCY. The weak creatures in the ark surrounded by the destroying waters. A refuge opened in God. His blessing on the household. His redemption succoring the individual soul, the life and its treasures, family peace and prosperity, &e. The ark a type of the prepared salvation, carrying the believer through the flood of earthly cares and troubles, through the' deep waters of death, to the new world of the purified heaven and earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. - R.
On the morning when the ark door was opened you might have seen in the sky a pair of eagles, a pair of sparrows, a pair of vultures, a pair of ravens, a pair of humming birds, a pair of all kinds of birds that ever cut the azure, that ever floated on wing, or whispered their song to the evening gales. In they came. But, if you had watched down on the earth, you would have seen come creeping along a pair of snails, a pair of snakes, and a pair of worms. There ran along a pair of mice; there came a pair of lizards; and in there flew a pair of locusts. There were pairs of creeping creatures, as well as pairs of flying creatures. Do you see what I mean by that? There are some of you that can fly so high in knowledge that I should never be able to scan your great and extensive wisdom; and others of you so ignorant that you can hardly read your Bibles. Never mind: the eagle must come down to the door, and you must go up to it. There is only one entrance for you all; and, as God saved the birds that flew, so He saved the reptiles that crawled. Are you a poor, ignorant, crawling creature, that never was noticed — without intellect, without repute, without fame, without honour? Come along, crawling One! God will not exclude you.
Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him. I.
IT WAS OBEDIENCE RENDERED UNDER THE MOST TRYING CIRCUMSTANCES.
II. IT WAS OBEDIENCE RENDERED IN THE MOST ARDUOUS WORK.
III. IT WAS OBEDIENCE RENDERED IN THE MOST HEROIC MANNER.
When Paul was in danger from the forty men who laid wait to kill him, Providence shut him up in Caesarea, where he was free from the peril. When Luther
would probably have been slain by wicked Papists, he was taken by force to a strong castle, where he was in good keeping till it was safe for him to go abroad. Jesus, too, as a babe, was taken into Egypt for His preservation from death.
At last the allotted time is fully or nearly expired. Noah has laid the last planks of the ark, which now stands up like a mountain, relieved against the sky. But that sky is as yet serene and cloudless, and there seems as little prospect of a deluge as there was a hundred and twenty years ago. The general interest in the matter has languished and nearly expired, when it is suddenly awakened into an intense glow by an extraordinary occurrence. The people bad laughed at the immense size of the ark, at its many rooms, at the quantity of food Noah had collected, and had asked, "Whence are the animals to come that are to fill these corners and to consume these stores?" But now a strange rumour flies abroad; it is, that a vast and motley throng of birds, beasts, and creeping things are thronging from every quarter toward the ark. There are cries, indeed, in contradiction to this "It cannot be, it is a mere report got up by Noah"; but soon it forces itself as a fact upon the conviction of all, and the most obstinately incredulous have to stand dumb beside; and worse, have no power to obstruct the passage. It is a sight the sublimity of which they are compelled to admire, even while they tremble thereat; being, indeed, a repetition on a larger scale of the passage of the animals before Adam. The lion and the lioness come, loth, it would seem in a degree, to circumscribe their wild freedom and majesty, yet unable to resist the pressure of the power above. The tiger and his mate, like fiends chained, but the chains not seen; the rhinoceros, buffalo, and mammoth, causing the earth to groan beneath their tread; panthers and leopards swiftly advancing; the slow-moving bear and the "solemn" elephant; the bull, the stag, and the elk, with their flashing horns; the horse, the glory of his nostrils terrible still, although tamed somewhat in the shadow of his unseen rider, God; the antelope and the wolf met together; the fox and the lamb embracing each other; the hyena, horrible even in his transient tameness; besides fifty more forms of brutal life, clean or unclean, beneath whose ranks you see thick streams of reptile existence, from the serpent to the scorpion, from the boa constrictor to the lizard, wriggling on their ark-ward way. And high overhead are flights of birds, here all oracular of doom, winging their courses — the earnest eagle, the gloom glowing raven, the reluctant vulture, the heavy kite, the fierce-eyed falcon, the high-soaring hawk, the lark with her lyric melody, the dove with her spotless plumage, the humming bird with her sparkling gem-like shape, the nightingale with her sober plumage and melting song, the swallow with the dark-light glance and shivered beauty of her wing, and a hundred more of those skiey demons or angels now sweep past to their prepared nests in the ark, even as spirits from a thousand deaths on a battlefield find their winged way to the "land of souls"! Surely you might have expected that such a throng of nature's children, all subdued into one harmony, aiming at one mark, and animated by one spirit, as by one supernatural soul, should have not only awed, but convinced and converted the multitude who saw their passage. But it was not so. In what way or through means of what sophistry they contrived to evade the impression made by such a startling event, we cannot tell; but evade it they did — proving that there have sometimes been hearts so hard and consciences so seared that the most stupendous miracles have been unable to move them or melt them into repentance.
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