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and between him and Christ, will, if God permit, be the subject of the next Lecture. We cannot conclude the present without reflecting

On the danger and mischief which arise from forming graceless connexions. It administers a solemn and suitable admonition to the male part of my audience, who have not already contracted alliances for life, to consider a principle of religion, and a taste for devotion, as among the leading qualities to be sought after in the female character, and the only sure foundation of honourable and lasting friendship; as the basis of, and the prompter to every domestic duty.

It administers a just, and, I am sorry to add, a seasonable reproof, to that spirit of avarice and selfishness, together with that criminal love of pleasure, which too much characterise the young men of the present day, and to which the higher considerations of piety, modesty, and accomplishments really useful and ornamental, are daily sacrificed.

It instructs my female hearers, too, in the knowledge of what constitutes their real worth and excellence. "Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord she shall be praised."*

General declaim

ers against the female sex have got excellent topics for their spleen, in the seduction of the first man by Eve, and the corruption of the old world by the daughters of Cain. I would make a kinder use of these sad events, by considering them as instances of the great power which women have over men; and hence earnestly call upon christian women, to cultivate with care and diligence the graces of that character, and to employ their influence, according to their different relations and opportunities, to diffuse a taste for what is decent, pious, and praise-worthy; and they may rest assured that their friends of the other sex will at least study to appear, what they would have them to be. The example of Noah is a loud call to aim at singular goodness. The multitude of offenders lessens neither the criminality, nor the danger of any one. Let none then think of "6 following a multitude to do evil.” Community in vice may seem to diminish the guilt of sin, but community in suffering, is a bitter aggravation of it. Dare to stand, though alone, in the cause of God and truth; knowing that wicked men themselves revere that goodness which they do not love, and secretly approve the virtue which they will not cultivate. Remember who hath said, "Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."

You have heard of the destruction of the old world by water; your eyes shall behold that which now is, destroyed by fire. The preservation of Noah, by means which God appointed, is a striking type of the method of salvation from sin, death, and hell, by Jesus Christ. The present day of merciful visitation, is the precious season of resorting to that strong hold and place of defence; and to you the call is once more given, "look to me and be saved;" “come to me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

* Proverbs xxxi. 30.




And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged.

THE word and the providence of God are the only infallible interpreters of his nature. The existence, and the order of the visible creation, evince the being of one Eternal Cause of all things, infinite in wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, mercy and truth. But the harmony, the extent and limits of the divine attributes and perfections, are to be discovered only by observing what comes to pass; and by reading and understanding what God has been pleased to commit to writing, for our instruction. The light of nature is sufficient, for example, to instruct us, that God is righteous; and experience assures us, that he is merciful; but without the help of revelation, and the history of providence, we could not, we durst not say, where justice would stop, and when the tide of mercy would begin to flow. And is it not pleasant and encouraging to reflect, upon the authority of both scripture and experience, that justice, the awful and formidable perfection of the most high God, has its bounds; whereas goodness and tender mercy swell over all limits, possessing a height and depth, a length and breadth, which surpass knowledge? Justice, is the river confined within its banks, and terminating its course in the sea; mercy, the unconfined, immeasurable ocean, in surveying the vast extent of which, the eye fails, and thought itself is lost. It is, moreover, delightful to consider, that the very judgments of Heaven, however dreadful in their nature and effects, are upon the whole, and in the end, unspeakable blessings. The wrath of man, and judgments of which men are the authors, like the uncontroled rage of devouring flames, spare nothing; they consume root and branch together. But divine justice, like the refiner's fire, lays hold only of the dross, and bestows on the remaining ore greater purity and value.

The history of the deluge, among many other instances which might be adduced, is a plain and a striking illustration of these observations. The last Lecture exhibited the fearful triumph of divine justice. We beheld heaven from above, the earth and ocean from beneath, uniting their forces in their Maker's cause; "the windows of heaven opened," the "fountains of the great deep broken up," blending their waters, to overwhelm a world of ungodly men. What a prospect did this globe then present to the surrounding spheres; Involved in gross darkness for forty days together: and when the light returns, no dry land 66 for even all the high hills which were under the whole heaven were covered:" And O, tremendous object of divine vengeance! "All flesh died, that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beasts, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man. All, in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed


which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark."* "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." At length the tempest of wrath spends itself. At length, after a night so dark, so dreary, and so long, the morning light begins to dawn. Nothing but water is to be seen, except yonder little bark floating on the mighty surge, which threatens every moment to swallow it up, or to dash it impetuously on some rocky mountain's top. It contains the sad remainder of the human race; the hope of all future generations. It is preserved, not by the power of him who constructed, but of him who designed it, and who directed it to be built. It is guided, not by the skill of the mariner, but steered by the hand of Providence. That a vessel of such construction, should preserve its upright position for so long a time, in such a wild uproar of nature, must be ascribed to a perpetual supernatural interposition.


The ark has proved the protection and preservation of Noah; but is it not his prison also! How gladly do we submit to a temporary inconveniency for the sake of a great and lasting good! But the inconveniencies, to which we submit in fulfilling the designs of Providence, shall not be prolonged beyond their needful period, nor increased beyond our strength. What an amiable view of the mercy and condescension of God is presented to us at this period of Noah's history! 'O, Lord, thou preservest man and beast!” And "doth God take care for oxen ?" "God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged." He who makes sphere to balance on sphere, in the great system of nature, can make one element check, and control the rage of another, in the subordinate economy of our little globe. Wind stops the progress, and diminishes the fury of water at God's command. The dominion of any one element prevailing too long must soon prove fatal to the whole; but their powers blending with, opposing, balancing each other, produce that wonderful and delightful harmony, on which the being and the happiness of mankind depend. "The waters prevailed one hundred and fifty days, and after the end of them, they were abated."

According to the best chronological calculations, the different eras or stages of this great event, adapted to our reckoning of time, are thus fixed. A few days after the death of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, who was born two hundred and forty-three years before Adam died, and in whose person, of course, the creation of the world and the flood seemed almost to meet; I say, a few days after Methuselah's death, God commanded Noah, on the tenth day of the second month, answering to the thirtieth of November, in the year of the world one thousand six hundred and fifty-six, and before Christ two thou sand three hundred and forty-eight, to prepare that week for going into the ark, and to receive all the living creatures which came thither by direction of Providence, in the course of seven days.

On the seventeenth day of the second month, or the seventh of December, in the six hundredth year of Noah's life, the deluge began, after the Lord had shut him in with all his family. The rain from heaven, and the flux from the ocean, continued without intermission, forty days and forty nights, till the waters prevailed fifteen cubits above the highest mountains; and then stayed, on the seventeenth of January. It continued flood one hundred and fifty days, including the forty days from its commencement to its full height; that is, to the seventeenth day of the seventh month, or the sixth of May, when the flood abated, and the ark rested upon one of the mountains of Arrarat or Armenia

*Genesis vii. 21,-24.

On the first day of the tenth month, or July nineteenth, the waters still continuing to decrease, the tops of the neighbouring mountains became visible from the ark. At the end of forty days from thence, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, or the twenty-eighth of August, Noah opened the window of the ark, and sent forth the raven, which never returned to him. After expecting her for seven days in vain, on the third of September, he sent forth the dove, which returned to him the same day, having found no rest for the sole of her foot, through the continuance of the waters. After seven days more, on the tenth of September, he again sends forth the dove, which returned in the evening, with an olive leaf in her mouth, a proof that the waters had decreased below the height of that plant. After waiting yet seven days more, Noah again sends forth the dove, on September seventeenth, which returned not again to him, a proof that "the ground was dry," and that this bird could now find food to sustain life, out of the ark.

On the first day of the first month, answering to October the twenty-third, in the year of the world one thousand six hundred and fifty-seven, when Noah entered into the six hundred and first year of his age, on this first day of the new world, he removed the covering of the ark, and beheld that the ground was dry. And finally, on the twenty-seventh of the second month of this new year, or December the eighteenth, at God's command, who had shut him in, Noah came out of the ark, and all who were with him, in perfect safety; after they had been confined therein the space of one year and eleven days.

And now that he is liberated from so long confinement, what are his first sentiments; what is the first use he makes of restored liberty? It is neither a day of business, nor of pleasure, for himself, but of piety and gratitude towards God. A portion of the animals, hitherto cherished and protected with so much care and tenderness; and preserved in the general wreck of nature must yield their lives, and pour out their blood by their patron's hand, at God's altar. Was not this a direct acknowledgment, that his own life was forfeited with those of the rest of mankind; but spared by an act of distinguishing grace? The stock of living creatures was awfully reduced by the deluge; and this consideration, with a worldly and selfish mind, might have been pleaded as an excuse for delaying sacrifice till victims were multiplied by length of time. But when works of piety, charity, or mercy are to be performed, a gracious spirit considers the urgency of the call, rather than the largeness of means. What is saved from God and the wretched, from religion and humanity, will never make any one rich. What is bestowed on works of piety and mercy, is property laid out at more than common interest. Did Noah's six couple of beasts, and of birds, increase more slowly, that the sev enth was devoted in sacrifice to his Maker and Preserver? I suppose not. In this, if in any sense, what the wise man says, is true," there is that scattereth and yet aboundeth; there is that withholdeth more than is meet, and it tendeth to poverty." O how acceptable to God are the sacrifices of an humble, grateful, faithful heart! The ground that was cursed for the offence of one, and deluged for the offences of many, by the faith and piety of one is delivered from the curse, and forever secured from the danger of a second flood: "And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every living thing, as I have done."*

Having satisfied the demands, and received the consolations of religion, Noah and his sons are dismissed of God to their secular employments, to the

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possession and cultivation of their spacious inheritance. which had been given to the first man, and all the blessings pronounced upon him are renewed to Noah and his family. The whole animal creation is afresh subjected to their power and authority. And now, for the first time, we read of the flesh of animals being permitted unto man for food. But, in the very same breath, the use of blood is forbidden to mankind. Was it intended to admonish men to be tender of the lives of the brute creation; and not to take away, wantonly and unnecessarily, what they are unable to restore? Was it to teach men not to use as common food, what was, from the beginning, the symbol of atonement? Is it that the thing prohibited is unfit and unwholesome for aliment? Was it, by placing a fence round that which constitutes the life of a beast, to guard, with the greater sanctity, the life of man? The interdiction undoubtedly has a meaning, for none of the precepts of God are merely arbitrary. Wherever he interposes by a special mandate, there we may rest assured, some end of piety, of purity, or of mercy is to be accomplished by it.

God never communicates his grace by halves. He is but half preserved, who has escaped one great calamity, if he must afterwards live in perpetual fear. Noah's family has outlived the deluge; but every dark cloud is a memorial of that grievous plague, and a threatening of its return. Every watery cloud therefore, with the sun in opposition to it, shall be an assurance, written in the most distinct characters, to them and all generations of men following, that "the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh." The bow in the clouds existed no doubt before this; the natural cause always and uniformly must produce the same effect; but it has now a use and a meaning unknown before. It formerly manifested in its most beautiful colours, stupendous size, and exact shape and form, the God of nature; now it has become a witness for the God of grace. It was always an object beautiful to behold; but O, how much greater its excellence and importance, as the token of God's covenant! When natural appearances lead to saving acquaintance with nature's God, then they are truly valuable and useful.

We are now come to the last memorable event of Noah's life; which though far less honourable for him than those which preceded it, the sacred historian has nevertheless recorded, with the same exactness and fidelity, which he has employed in transmitting the rest of his history. Noah, though advanced to a late period in life, and assured that henceforth the duration of human life was to be greatly abridged, engages with alacrity in the labours of husbandry. That God who thought fit to save him from the flood, by an ark of his own building, will not preserve him alive, but by fruits of his own raising. He who would reap the clusters of the vine, must first plant, shelter prop, and prune the vine. But behold the juice of the grape in a new state; possessing a quality unheard of before. Eaten from the tree, or dried in the sun, it is simple and nutritious like the grain from the stalk of corn; pressed out and fermented, it acquires a fiery force, it warms the blood, it mounts to the brain, it leads reason captive, it overpowers every faculty, it triumphs over its lord. How often have arts been invented, which have proved fatal to the inventors? Every poison, it is said, contains, or is produced contiguous to, its antidote. Such is the care, such the goodness of God to men. But alas! must it not also be observed, that our very food and cordials contain a poison, through the ignorance or excess of man. Was Noah unacquainted with this intoxicating quality of wine, and overtaken through inexperience? Or did the faithful monitor of the old world, and the father of the new, deliberately sacrifice decency and understanding to this insinuating foe? In either case, who can help deploring his shameful, his degraded condition; and the consequences which flowed from it! We pity the dishonoured father; but we

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