« 上一页继续 »
translation, convince him that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. xi. 6).-Closely coupled and running parallel with these experiences, is that of the long-suffering of God; “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. i. 9): "And accounting that the long-suffering of God is salvation" (ver.17). This was exemplified in the preaching of Noah, when the Spirit of God strove with man for an hundred and twenty years (Gen. vi. 3).- The next doctrine is the grace of God, manifested in the gift of faith; faith being the assurance of the grace of God: “ By grace are ye saved, through faith ; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph. ii. 8): "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God : being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. iii. 23, 24). The fact of Noah's call is the demonstration of this doctrine : “ Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. vi. 8): “ 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 ; by which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith" (Heb. xi. 7);—this faith, which separates from the world, renounces and condemns it too, and acknowledges the righteousness of God in destroying it, being the line of demarcation which separates between the unregenerate and the regenerate soul.
At this point in the Christian experience stands that ordinance in the church of which the deluge was the type. The deluge divided between the old world and the new : baptism divides between the old man and the new. Baptism is the ordinance to regeneration; "an outward visible sign of an inward spiritual grace;' signifying a death unto sin, a new birth unto righteousness : Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God:” “ He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved.” Not that baptism itself is regeneration, nor that all the baptized are regenerated for this would be taking the election out of the hands of God, and giving it to an ordinance; and it would be departing also from the type, for there was a Ham in the ark; and in like manner many of the baptized are not saved—but the church cannot regard the baptized otherwise than as regenerate without usurping the sole prerogative of God. Wherefore the Church of England says,
We yield thee hearty thanks, most merciful Father, that it hath pleased thee to regenerate this infant with thy Holy Spirit, to receive him for thine own child by adoption, and to incorporate him into thy holy church. Of baptism, the deluge was the type. And baptism, again, prefigures the resurrection-life,' a death unto sin, a new birth unto righteousness. “ In the days of Noe.....eight souls were saved by water: the like figure where
unto, even baptism, doth also now save us.....by the resurrection
VOL. II.NO, I.
instances, as in the case of Noah, the dependents were included in the faith of their head, and were delivered, not by their own profession of faith, but by his ; his faith, not theirs, called forth the miraculous interpositions of our Lord.
On coming outof the ark, the first act of Noah was the founding of a church : " He builded an altar to the Lord” (Gen. viii. 20). On it he offered burnt-offerings of every clean animal; expressive of the death which he and they had deserved, and that their deliverance was of mercy alone; and if so with the clean, much more with the unclean: “ And the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake.” Our duty, corresponding with Noah's sacrifice is given, Rom. xii. : "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a LIVING SACRifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” “ Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me” (Heb. x.5). “Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead” (Rom. vi. 13). “ Therefore there is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. viii. 1).- When God called Noah to prepare the ark, he promised (Gen. vi. 18), “ With thee will I establish my covenant;" and after Noah's sacrifice on coming out of the ark, this promise is confirmed (Gen. ix. 9): “And I, behold I, establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you, and with every living creature that is with you.” This is the covenant of the earth's present stability : " While the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest, &c. shall not cease” (viii. 22). The parallel to this is the Christian covenant; the covenant of peace, the everlasting covenant, promised before the death of Christ, ratified in his death; applied by the Holy Spirit to the spirit and conscience of the regenerate now, as an earnest of its full accomplishment in their bodies, as well as souls, at the resurrection--(that its full accomplishment is reserved for the time of Israel's future restoration, is manifest from Jer. xxxi. 31): "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Heb. x. 14). “The blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, shall purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. ix. 14). "Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb. x. 22).-Now the sacrifice of Christ was life in death ; a realdeath, and yet a real surviving; a paradox, never realized except in Christ, and which, when spoken of us, can only be expressed by contradictory terms: "A living sacrifice" (Rom. xii. 1): “I am crucified with Christ” (Gal. ii. 20): “ Ye are dead....mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth” (Col. iii. 3, 5). This paradox also could only be represented by two parties; the death
of one and life of the other, shewing resurrection after death. The symbols of death-the beasts slain for a burnt-offering, and ascending in smoke to heaven-prefigure Christ slain for us, and ascending to heaven “ a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour” (Eph. v. 2); a savour of consolation or appeasement” (Gen. viii. 21);—and, like the deluge, point on to the application of the sacrifice of Christ to the consciences of men : Unto God a sweet savour, in them that are saved, and in them that perish” (2 Cor. ii. 15);- and onward still, to the final gathering of Israel: “Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord God : and I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant.... For in mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, I will accept you with your sweet savour” (Ezek. xx. 36, 40, 41). The symbols of resurrection-life-Noah and the living creaturesthe recipients of all the benefits of the covenant, prefigure first the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant (Heb.xiii. 20);-secondly, its application to the souls of believers, “ Ye are come....to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant” (Heb. xii. 24);—and which shall be openly manifested in the first resurrection, in the bodies as well as souls of all who have part in the death of Christ : “ Them which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him” (1 Thess. iv. 14).
God gave to Noah a token or memorial of the covenant, for perpetual generations; this was the rainbow: “ I do set my bow in the clouds; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth” (Gen. ix. 13–16). The token of the Christian covenant which answers to the rainbow, our memorial for perpetual generations, is the revealed word. The Hebrew word for “ token” is nix, the first and last letters of the alphabet; and its plural in Hebrew signifies letters: thus including not only the written word, but him also who is the WORD, the A and the , the Beginning and the Ending of the Gospel (Rev. i. 8, xxii. 13). Observe how beautifully the parallel holds between the rainbow and the word. The bow is a memorial of the covenant, and is derived from the
of the sun reflected and refracted by the drops of rain. Now, throughout all Scripture the sun is used as the symbol of Christ, and the rain as the symbol of the Holy Spirit: “ The Sun of Righteousness” (Mal. iv. 2); “the Light of men” (John i. 4): “ He shall come unto us as the rain” (Hos. vi. 3); “I will pour out of my Spirit.” Sometimes the rain symbolises the Spirit in its utterance : My doctrine shall drop as the rain” (Deut. xxxii. 2); “ As the rain cometh down from heaven, so shall my
word be” (Isai. lv. 10, 11). And as the glorious bow exhibits
He shall come down like rain” (Psal. Ixxii. 6); “ As the light of the morning when the sun riseth....by clear shining after rain” (2 Sam. xxiii. 4). In the rainbow, again, we see the soft and beautiful reflection of that blazing light; which is too bright to be gazed on directly by mortal eye, but dazzles us not in the bow, and is there examined with delight. In it the white light of the sun, which we are unable by direct vision to analyze, is broken down into various hues, and we can there contemplate each colour by itself, and yet see them all running harmoniously into each other. We are taught, too, by the bow, that the colour of objects is not in themselves, but in the rays of light which they severally reflect; and that all the beautiful hues of nature, whether in flowers, plumage, or gems, are but the refractions and reflections of different rays of the sun: whence the Christian learns that all the loveliness of character which he sees exhibited in a brother, is but a partial and imperfect reflection of the transcendant beauty of Christ, who is “chiefest among ten thousand, and altogether lovely.” The rainbow is but half a circle, which the earth intercepts, and which from the tops of mountains may be seen almost an entire circle : so, when the earthly obstructions are removed, God's purpose as declared in revelation will be seen as a complete circle: to prefigure which, the mighty angel (Rev. x.) has a rainbow encircling his head, when he comes down to declare that “the mystery of God shall be finished ;” and the beatific vision will consist in the demonstration that every thing done in creation, every thing overruled in providence, and every thing revealed in word, proceeded from Christ alone, and centres in him alone, like the rainbow glory around his throne (Rev. iv. 3; Ezek. i. 28), on which he shall for ever exhibit to the ages to