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shall be willing in the day of thy power," Isa. xl. 29: “He gives power to the faint, and to them that have no might he increaseth strength."
I conclude this exhortation with two or three advices:
1. Be convinced and persuaded of your dangerous and deplorable case, while married to the law, and your lusts; for which see the use of reproof and lamentation.
2. Conceive and entertain hopes of getting the match between Christ and you accomplished and brought about. A hopeless despair as to this matter cuts the sinews of all activity : “ There is no hope; I have loved strangers, and after them will I go,” Jer. ii. 25; and therefore, “ it is good that a man should hope,” Lam. iii. 26.
3. Be much in studying the love of God in providing such a help every way meet for you. It was an evidence of God's kindness to Adam, when he said, “ It is not good that the man should be alone,” Gen. ii. 18. I will make “ him a help meet for him.” Much more is it an evidence of the love of God to lost man, that he has laid help for him upon one that is mighty, Psal. Ixxxix. 19.
4. I recommend to you to be much in studying the love of the eternal Son of God, in marrying the human nature to a personal union with the divine, that he might act the part of à Kinsman Redeemer. Oh! think what he has done in order to get a bride for himself in Adam's family, for one love kindles another, and “we love him because he first loved us, 1 John iv. 19.
5. Be much in viewing the glorious fulness and suitableness of the Bridegroom through the lattices of the word read and preached; " For we all, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory," 2 Cor. ii. 18.
6. Oh! cry and plead much for the purchased and promised Spirit, that he may glorify Christ, and testify of him to your souls, according to the promise of the Bridegroom, before he left this world, John xvi. 14: “He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine, and show it unto you."
7. In matching with the Bridegroom, disband all other lovers, saying with Ephraim, Hos. xiv. 8: “What have I any more to do with idols."
Is. xxvi. 13: “O Lord my God, other lords besides thee have had dominion over me, but henceforth 'by thee only will I make mention of thy name.” If you be for me (says Christ,) let these soul-murdering lusts go; let go your lust of covetousness, your lust of uncleanness, your lust of pride, malice, revenge, your lust of drunkenness and gluttony; for as no man can serve two masters, Matth. vi. 27, so can no man be, at the same time, mar
ried to Christ and these lusts; Christ says, Destroy these, Crucify them, "Mortify the deeds of the body," Rom. viii. 13: Fornication, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry," Col. iii. 8. I came to destroy these works of the devil, John iii. 8. And, therefore, give a bill of divorce to them, if you would follow me.
I close this discourse with a word of counsel and advice to believers, who, through the power of grace, have been determined to go forth and meet the Bridegroom.
Oh! bless the Lord that ever gave you counsel to do so, for this was never effected by the power of nature, but only by the power of victorious grace, Psal. cx. 3: "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." Thou wast dead in sin, Eph. ii. 1; but he "passed by thee, and said unto thee, Live," Ezek. xvi. 6. Thou wast full of enmity against God and his Anointed, Psal. ii. 2; but he captivated thy heart with his own love and loveliness. Who made thee to differ from others that are left behind," in the gall of bitterness,. and in the bond of iniquity?" Why, it was the blessed Bridegroom that drew thee to him with the cords of his own love; and therefore let the high praises of the Bridegroom, and of his eternal Father, be continually in thy mouth, Psal. cxlix. 16.
John vi. 44. "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him." Let the bride, the Lamb's wife, put much confidence in the Bridegroom; and well may she do it, for he is "the confidence of all the ends of the earth, his name is FAITHFUL and TRUE," Rev. xix. 11.
THE NEW TESTAMENT ARK OPENED AGAINST THE
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house.-HEB. XI. 7.
THE FIRST SERMON ON THIS TEXT.
In the preceding chapter, the apostle, in the close of it, had exhorted the believing Hebrews to persevere in the faith; and, to enforce the exhortation, he demonstrates, in this chap
ter, the excellency of the grace of faith, and that, first, Abstractly in itself considered, ver. 1-3; secondly, By laying before them the example of their believing ancestors, both before and after the flood.
This verse which I have read, contains the example of the faith of Noah, who was the last patriarch of the old world, and the first of the new world; I mean the last before, and the first after the flood. More particularly, in the words you have these things:
1st, An alarm sounded, (warning is given of God of things not seen as yet.) The party who gives the warning is God. And when God speaks or, warns, well does it become all the inhabitants of the earth to listen, Psal. I. 1: “ The mighty God the Lord hath spoken, and called the earth, from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof." When the lion roars, the beasts of the field tremble. The subject matter of the warning is about things not seen as yet ; that is, the approach of the general deluge, or destruction of the whole world by water, of which there was not the least visible appearance, when the warning was given of God. Sirs, the word of God deals mostly about things that are not seen, things invisible and eternal, which as yet lie behind the curtain; hence faith, that believes the word of God, is called, ver. 1, of this chapter, “ the evidence of things not seen;" a "setting to the seal” to what God says, though not obvious to sense.
2dly, in the words we have the person, and the only person, that took the alarm in all the old world, namely, Noah, whose character we have, Gen. vi. 9, just man, and perfect in his generation.” He was a just man, being justified by faith, in the promised seed of the woman; and he was a holy man, whose walk and conversation justified his faith, in the view of the ungodly inhabitants of the old world. And being such a person is lived near God, God takes him upon his secrets, and imparts that to him, which was hid from all the world besides. “ The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and unto them will be show his covenant.” Yea, sometimes he not only imparts to them the secrets of his covenant, and the mysteries of his kingdom ; but also the secrets of his providence, what he is about to do in the world: so did be to Noah; and so did he to Abraham, when he was about to destroy Sodom: “ Shall I hide from Abraham the thing that I do?” The Lord will do nothing, but he will reveal it to his servants, the prophets. It is dangerous to pry curiously into the secrets of God's purpose or providence; but when he is pleased to reveal them, they are welcome.
3dly, We have the way in which the warning was taken
by Noah. It was by faith; that is, he believed the word of God, that the flood would come: and the ground of his believing was the faithfulness and power of God; his faithfulness, "for it is impossible for God to lie;" and his power, that was able to give being to his word of threatening, as well as his word of promise.
4thly, We have the affection of Noah's soul, that was stirred or exercised by this awful warning of the approaching deluge; he was moved with fear. When faith sees a smiling and reconciled God in Christ, it moves the soul with joy and gladness, yea, a "joy unspeakable, and full of glory." But when faith sees a frowning or a threatening God, then it begets fear, not a slavish, but a filial fear; like a dutiful child, that falls a trembling when he sees the rod in his Father's hand, and anger in his countenance. Such was the fear of Noah; and God declares, that he has a particular regard to the soul that thus fears him, Is. lxvi. 2: "To this man will I look, who is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and who trembleth at my word.”
5thly, We have the wise improvement that Noah made of God's warning concerning the deluge: why, his faith and fear excited him to prepare an ark: "The wise man,” saith Solomon, "foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself." True faith of God's operation is a sagacious grace; it takes up things not as yet seen, dangers that are out of the view of the rest of a blind world, and provides for safety against approaching dangers. So here, Noah's faith engages him to prepare an ark against the deluge. Noah had not the ark to build when the deluge came; no, it was ready for use, when the windows of heaven, and the fountains of the great deep, were opened; and the fruit and effect of his faith and fear, and diligence in preparing of the ark, was the saving of himself and his house.
Now, I do not stand so much upon the literal, as the mystical and spiritual intendment of all this. The history and mystery of the Old Testament is opened and unveiled in the New Testament. It is granted by all, that the deluge of water, by which God destroyed the old world, was a typical representation of the wrath of God that is revealed from heaven against all the wickedness and ungodliness of the children of men, which will infallibly sweep away the wicked, and all the nations that forget God, into hell: and that Noah's ark was a type of Christ, and of that salvation that believers have in him, from the wrath of God, and the curse of the broken law; for "whosoever believeth in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life." The apostle Peter gives us a hint, and that not an obscure one, of what I am saying,
concerning this typical design of the deluge and ark, 1 Pet. iii. 19-21: “ By which also he went and preached to the spirits in prison: which some time were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water. The like figure whereunto, even baptism, doth also save us . (not the putting away of the filth of the filesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Where, by the spirits in prison, we are to understand the inhabitants of the old world; who, in the days of Peter, were imprisoned in hell, but, in the days of Noah, they were alive in their bodies. Noah, by
, the direction of the Spirit of Christ, went and preached to them, and warned them of the approaching deluge; but they never regarded him, but went on in their sinning trade, until the water came, and carried them away, except eight souls that were saved in the ark. Now, there is the type, and then follows the antitype, ver. 21: “ The like figure where-unto, even baptism, doth also now save us,” &c.
The main doctrine that I have in view from the words, is as follows:
Doct.—"That Christ is the great New Testament Ark into which sinners must enter, if they would be saved from the deluge of divine wrath."
The method, through divine assistance, shall be as fola lows:
I. I would speak a little of the wrath of God, with allusion to the universal deluge,
II. Of the warnings God has given, and is still giving, of the deluge of his wrath.
III. I would speak of Christ as the only ark in which safety is to be found.
IV. Speak of the access that sinners have to this New Testament Ark.
V. How it is that a sinner enters into this ark, so as to be saved from the deluge.
VI. Deduce some inferences, and make some application of the whole.
1. The first thing is, to speak a little of the wrath of God, with allusion to the universal deluge in the days of Noah.
1st, Then, The sin and wickedness of the old world was the procuring cause of the deluge, Gen. vi. 5-7: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and