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In the mean time, while we continue in the world, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we may find abundant materials for thankfulness and self-improvement, in the contemplation of God's creating power. We were nothing, and he called us into being; not a being of pain and sorrow, as he might have made it; but of blessing and promise, of enjoyment and hope. What it contains of good, is from his free and unrequited mercy; what it presents of real evil, arises from ourselves. Its imperfections, if they can properly so be called, may be made conducive to final good; for that all things work together for good, to them that love God, we know, on the authority of him by whom all things were made. The blessings which are showered around us in the works of creation, in all their endless combinations and improvements, are blessings indeed, if we use them as though we knew them to be perishable, and not the ultimate objects of regard to an immortal soul. They that weep must be as though they wept not, and they that rejoice as though they rejoiced not, and they that buy as though they possessed not, and they that use this world as not abusing it; for the fashion of this world passeth away.22
21 1 Cor. i. 7.
22 1 Cor. vii. 30.
May these considerations find their way to your hearts; and may we be so renewed by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, that at the coming of that awful day, in which all that is mortal and material shall pass away, we may be restored to a state of spiritual perfection, exceeding even that in which the new creation was contemplated by its Maker, when he saw every thing that he had made; and, behold, it was very good.
THE GENERAL DELUGE.
MATT. XXIV. 37.
As the days of Noah were," so also shall the coming of the Son of Man be.
In these words our Saviour couples together, by a comparison, the two great catastrophes of the world, its desolation by the flood of waters, and its final destruction at the second coming of the Son of Man. Describing the solemn and awful circumstances which are to mark that dreadful day, of which knoweth no mun, no, not the angels of heaven, but the supreme Judge alone, he specifies with peculiar emphasis, and minuteness of illustration, its suddenness. As the days of Noah were, so also shall the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that were before
the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and knew not until the flood came and took them all away: so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.
We are so much accustomed from our early childhood to hear the general deluge spoken of, if not in familiar discourse, yet as a subject of philosophical speculation, that the expression passes across our mind, without exciting any strong or permanent feeling; and without leading us to dwell with any seriousness of attention upon the comprehensive horrors of the reality. But it ought not to be so. The history of the deluge is recorded in the pages of inspiration, as an awful lesson of eternal interest to every inhabitant of that world, which is itself a perpetual monument of the fact. If the characters of holy men, and the individual examples of God's righteous judgments, are there written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come,' how much more legibly are the traces of divine instruction impressed upon the records of that dreadful event, which stands prominent in the annals of the world, as a proof and memorial of the justice of God, in punishing obstinate
1 1 Cor. x. 11.
and impenitent wickedness. I think, therefore, that we cannot more profitably employ the present opportunity, than in considering some features in the scripture account of that memorable event, and in endeavouring to improve the consideration of them to the purposes of a holy fear.
I need hardly tell you that the Mosaic account of the deluge has been repeatedly called in question. This is not the place to answer in detail all the objections which have been made to it. But the general principles of those objections may be met by answers at once popular and satisfactory. In the first place, looking at it as a purely historical question, there is no single fact, to which the early history of mankind bears a more concurrent and universal testimony, than that of a general deluge. It is a leading feature in the most ancient records of every country, a landmark, as it were, in the mythology and the poetry of mankind. It is reasonable, therefore, to conclude, that it did actually happen; because it is not a fact, which the reason of man, in the earlier ages of the world, uncultivated by philosophy, and unaccustomed to induction, would have enabled him to infer. Considering Moses only in the light of an historian from tradition, it is impossible to deny, that his account of the