« VorigeDoorgaan »
It is hoped, and without presumption, that this little volume may be permitted to lay on the table, or in the window of various places, where larger publications might be inadmissible. The friend while waiting for his friend in the parlour; the man of business, or the traveller stopping at an inn; the youth from school, or the servants in the kitchen; with a great variety of other characters, which constitute the different departments in life; might, by such means, meet with this publication, and derive pleasure and profit from the perusal. And let it be remembered, that the Extracts here presented, are wholly from the sacred WORD OF GOD. The Notes and Observations, accompanying them, are with a design to render more familiar their several contents. And as it hath been known that sometimes, and not unfrequently, a word, or portion from holy Scripture, when unexpectedly brought to the view, hath been made particularly useful; the present selection is done with the hope, that similar events may be found now to follow; and from the Lord's blessing on the Lord's word, his gracious promise may be fulfilled in many an instance, when he saith, "I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not." (Isaiah lxv. 1.)
NOAH AND THE ARK.
"But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
"Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generations; and Noah walked with God.
"The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
"And God looked upon the earth, and behold it was corrupt: for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” (Gen. vi. 8—12.)
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS.
THE first and distinguishing feature in the person and character of Noah; and which is indeed the leading feature of all that followed in his eventful life, is what the Lord himself said of him in the very opening of his history; "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." Amidst the universal corruption of all flesh, this man found grace in the eyes of the Lord. And I pray the reader to observe;-it is not said that the Lord found grace in Noah, but that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. So everlasting, sure, and certain is that sweet Scripture, which the Holy Ghost hath given us by John, (John iv. 19.) and so uniformly marked in all ages, in the characters of the Lord's people: "We love him because he hath first loved us." There is in no man's heart, by nature, any love to God. "The carnal mind is enmity against God." (Rom. viii. 7.) A stone wall hath no warmth in itself,
but from the sun's shining upon it. If there be any warmth of love in a man's heart towards God, his grace hath put it there. And this grace, as in the instance of Noah, is the sole cause of all the blessed effects which follow, in the lives of the Lord's people. Hence we find the same accurately defined in every age of the church. Hence the Lord said unto Moses; "Thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name." (Exod. xxxiii. 12.) Hence it is said also of Lot, when the Lord saved him, and sent him out of the overthrow of Sodom; "the Lord being merciful unto him." (Gen. xix. 16.) And in like manner, down to New Testament times, it was said to Mary by the angel; "Thou hast found favour with God." (Luke i. 30.) Hence Simeon, under the same impression of grace, exclaimed: "Lord! now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation." (Luke ii. 29, 30.) It is very blessed to trace all our mercies to their source: and connect with present enjoyment, God's everlasting love. For this not only gives a double relish to them, be they what they may; but shews the security there is for their continuance ; since this proves that they originate, not in any thing we have done or can do to bless God; but in what God hath done, and will do, to bless us. "Not by works of righteousness (saith one that could not be mistaken) which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour, that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus iii. 5, 7.)
I cannot conclude this part of Noah's history, of his finding grace in the eyes of the Lord, until that I have first desired the reader, (if peradventure he knoweth the Lord, or more properly speaking is thus known o
the Lord,) to remark with me, the peculiar blessedness of such a frame of mind. For my own part, I love to the Lord himself, in all his ways towards me; and to mark his goings in the least, as well as the greatest of his kindnesses. For if, as my Lord assureth me, "the very hairs of my head are all numbered;" if Jesus watcheth over the most minute things in my life, and such as I myself do not watch over; how very blessed must it be upon all occasions, to trace our blessings from the stream to the fountain; to run up from time into eternity; and in this day's grace to discover God's everlasting love. There are indeed, a thousand, and ten thousand mercies, which pass and repass in my poor and unthinking life, unnoticed by me, after all my wishes to catch the view of them; but such as the Lord enables me to lay hold of, and connect together, as so many links in the chain with the first spring; I find in them inexpressible sweetness, and a "joy unspeakable, and full of glory." It will be well if the reader, under divine teaching, should learn to trace his mercies; yea, even his most ordinary mercies, to the same source. Sure I am, the engagement of the mind to such a study is from the Lord, because it leadeth to the Lord. (James i. 17.) And what can be more blessed for the daily employment of our time here, than that which will hereafter be our everlasting employment throughout eternity, even "fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." (1 John i. 3.)
"And 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.
"And God said unto 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."
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS.
To enter into a scriptural and spiritual apprehension of this part of Noah's history, and what God said unto him on the fall of man, and the Lord's determination to destroy man with the earth, (or as the margin renders it from the earth,) we must previously take a view of what the word of God hath stated of man's total apostacy before God; and that "every imagination of the thoughts of his heart, was only evil continually.”
And, First: the Scriptures of God, uniformly, throughout the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelations, and with one voice, declare, that by the fall of the first man Adam, the whole nature was tainted with corruption; and became the subject of inherent sin.
Secondly: That this evil is an universal evil. Not one of the posterity of Adam is exempt from it. The declaration of God himself, to this amount, is final and decisive. "All flesh hath corrupted his way upon the earth." This monarchy of sin reigns with absolute sway. Every individual of the human race, by nature, is born under this dominion; all alike are enrolled at their birth in this army; and all wear the. same uniform of this regency: sin faced with death.
Thirdly The disease of sin is so deeply rooted in the very nature of man, as renders it incurable by all human aid; yea, not only incurable, but unsearchable, by mere human apprehension. For thus speaketh the Lord in one Scripture, of the total impossibility for man to heal himself; that the Lord compares it to the tawny hue of the Ethiopian, and to the spots of the leopard; which in both, form their very nature, and cannot be removed by art. "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil?" (Jer. xiii. 23.) And in relation to man's ignorance of the depth of his own depravity ; the Lord in another Scripture solemnly declares, that