« FöregåendeFortsätt »
heavy cares; and a few bold and honest teachers of divine truth discharged from their warfare. He was left alone to endure the contempt and rage of deceivers and destroyers. But in the conflict of the world against one righteous man, God taught his hants to war and his fingers to fight; and covered his head in the day of battle. Through the grace of God he was safe among hosts of foes; and preserved from the deluge which destroyed the world.
3. God supported Noah in his services against powerful opposition. It is said, once and again, “ according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” Yet his conduct must have been an object of enmity and ridicule to the profane multitudes of that day. In more grave and polite circles, his supposed craziness would be treated with apparent compassion. While the reasoners and philosophers of his time would attempt to remove his unhappy impressions and confute his gloomy opinions. Sometimes false reports and gross slanders would be raised, like a storm, to destroy his influence and prevent the effect of his faithful instructions and most worthy example. But God was with him until the day he entered the ark; and the flood came and the waters prevailed ; and “all flesh died that moved upon the earth.”
4. G manifested his approbation of Noah, while he condemned the vast numbers who lived before the flood. It must have been strange to the people of that day, that Noah could be so singular; and that he would not conform to the liberal sentiments and social manners of that enlightened and improved era. It seemed unwise in him to speak and act against the world, as if he were the only righteous man on earth. There were other teachers and professors of religion, whose opinions and measures were popular and successful. As they were followed by multitudes and were prosperous and joyful in their religious prospects, they believed they were right. And they were sure that Noah was befooled and blinded. But God approved and saved Noah, while he condemned the millions who rejected his sentiments and opposed his labors.
5. God gave Noah the highest honor, while he brought
contempt upon the world. The wicked would attempt to honor and exalt themselves. They would boast of their property and their partizans, of their offices and their prospects. They would pride themselves in their amusements and fashions. But God was provoked by their folly and madness. He could see in the objects of their confidence and triumph, nothing, that was worthy of his esteem. But, in the sight of God, Noah was a man of worth. And God delighted to honor him, with his friendship and by every needed honor and kindness.
6. God bestowed salvation upon Noah, while he consigned the people of the old world to destruction. Not a single family or person of the millions, who then lived on earth, except Noah and his house, was saved. Husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters, the aged and the young, the rich and the poor, by the righteous judgment of God, were swept from the earth in one common ruin. “ They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered the ark; and the flood came and destroyed them all.” But Noah and his family, through the favor of God, was saved from that sudden and terrible destruction.
II. It is proposed to show why Noah found grace in the sight of the Lord. For the conduct of God towards Noah, there was one plain, simple, decisive consideration: — Noah was righteous. God said to Noah, “ Thee have I found righteous before me in this generation.” At his birth, his father “ called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed.” There is reason to believe that Noah's father, at his birth, offered his son to God in faith, with prayer and praise ; and that he received tokens of acceptance. Though Noah was, by nature, a child of wrath, it is probable he became pious in early life ; and so was prepared for eminent holiness, as he advanced in years. He was five hundred
when God warned him of the flood. For his righteousness, he was approved of God and found grace in his eyes.
Of the righteousness of Noah, it may be observed, 1. His affections were righteous. He had true love
to God and man. With such love, he would hate what was evil and pursue what was good. He would love divine truth. He would confide in the mercy of God and receive the Holy Spirit.
2. His actions were righteous. He obeyed the instructions which God gave him. Against every selfish
interest and every earthly prospect, for hundreds of • years, he walked with God." His righteous affections,
under the influence of Divine truth, governed his words and actions.
3. Noah maintained the principles of righteousness. IIe boldly taught what was right in faith and practice. He proclaimed the righteousness of God in his law; and the perfect justice of God in the condemnation of sin
He would show, that men ought to be righteous in all their ways; and that they were bound to repent and turn to God and serve him. Noah was a preacher of righteousness; and he taught and preached the principles of righteousness, in respect to the great doctrines and duties of religion.
4. By his righteousness, Noah, through divine grace, preserved on earth the true cause of God. If he had not been righteous, as the world then was, the knowledge and worship of God would have been lost from the earth. And his object and glory in the Redeemer's kingdom and the salvation of his people, would have failed. The righteousness of Noah, in its connection with the
and work of God, shows, that he was of more worth than the whole world of sinners.
5. The righteousness of Noah induced him to have God for his supreme object. With the true knowledge of God and holy faith in his name, he stood and walked with him against the world. He labored and suffered for him against the wickedness and violence of sinners. He honored God by true faith and good works. And he was a proper object of divine favor, in distinction from the people, who perished by the Algod.
What has been said, on the subject before us, affords the following remarks.
1. No one can be approved of God, any further than he is practically righteous. God requires perfect holiness in the law and gospel. Though God offers forgive
ness to sinners through Jesus Christ, yet no one accepts the offer, until he repents and believes in his name. Nor can a penitent believer be accepted and approved of God, only for holy affections and actions. • Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid."
2. God will make as great a difference between the future state of the righteous and wicked, as he has declared in the scriptures.
Who would have believed, according to the common opinions of mankind, that God would have so greatly distinguished Noah from the whole world? But he declared he would do it ; and it was
: ; done. God declares he will raise the righteous to endless joy in heaven ; and consign the wicked to endless torment in hell. And the same holy principle by which he saved Noah and destroyed the wicked of his day, will induce him to reward the righteous and punish the wicked forever.
3. The righteous have the most powerful inducements to maintain their peculiar character. The conduct of Noah and God's grace to him show the immense value of righteousness. As great favors will be bestowed upon the righteous, in proportion to their faithfulness, as were bestowed upon Noah. And the useful and happy effects of righteous conduct will continue and increase forever, What manner of persons then, ought they to be, who are the saints and servants of God?
4. The unrighteous are loudly and solemnly called and warned to turn to God and become righteous. The arguments and motives, for righteousness and against wickedness, have increased, in number and weight, from the days of Noah. By Moses and the prophets, by Jesus Christ and the apostles, God says — " As I live, I have
no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the
; wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways: for why will ye die?” “Your judgment now of a long time lingereth not and your damnation slumbereth not. For if God spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly from temptations; and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.”
THE RIGHTEOUS AND WICKED.
That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the right
eous with the wicked; and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all earth do right ?
GENESIS, XVIII. 25.
When Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom, it is said, 6 The men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly." Their wickedness increased, until " the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me ; and if not, I will know.” When God had surveyed Sodom and
I Gomorrah, it is evident he was obliged to destroy those cities for their wickedness. It is also evident that he showed Abraham his purpose respecting their destruction. “ And Abraham drew near and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous in the city ; wilt thou also destroy and not save the place for the fifty righteous that are in it ? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee : shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?". The text places before us the following doctrine, God will distinguish the righteous from the wicked, according to their different characters. In our attention to this subject, it is proposed.
I. To mention the difference between the characters of the righteous and the wicked.
They do not differ in respect to their native character. For all mankind are, by nature, sinners. Nor do they differ in respect to their ill desert. For they who have sinned, forever deserve the curse of the law. But,