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But for the preservation of the righteous he instruct. ed Noah to make an ark
[This vessel was not constructed according to man's device, but by the special direction of God himself. To the eyes of man it doubtless seemed an absurd attempt: but “ the fool. ishness of God is wiser than man;" and the event justified the hopes and expectations of Noah.]
In the mean time he called the people to repentance by the ministry of Noah
[God exercised forbearance towards them 120 years. But they “received his grace in vain.” And the means used for their salvation only ripened them for destruction.]
When the appointed time was come, he ordered Noah and his family to go into the ark
[The symptoms of the flood did not yet appear; but these favourites of heaven were to condemn the world, not in word only, but in deed. By manifesting their faith, their fear, and their obedience, they were practically to condemn the world's unbelief, security, and disobedience. And, upon their en. trance into the ark, “ God shut them in” with his own hand, that the door might be secure against the violence of the wind and waves.]
Then the waters, that destroyed all the world besides, bore them up in perfect safety
[Every other refuge now proved vain. The unbelievers found to their cost the truth of God's threatenings. Their numbers did not screen them from his judgments. Nor was the fewness of the elect any bar to their acceptance and salvation. They rose, while others sank in the mighty waters. Nor, if any cleaved to the ark, did that avail them. The very builders of the ark perished. They, and they only, who were in the ark, were made the monuments of saving mercy.]
This history being altogether typical, we shall consider II. The correspondent salvation which we enjoy
Baptism is spoken of in the text as the antitype, of which Noah's flood was the type. But we apprehend the apostle's meaning to be, that Noah's salvation in the ark was typical of our salvation under the Christian dispen. sation. This subject will be best understood, not by
a Heb. xi. 7. b’Aytitutoy. The relative à cannot agree with xe6wty, which is feminine, but must agree with vdatos, or rather perhaps with the whole sentence; this last construction renders the sense of the passage incomparably more clear; on which account it is here preferred.
th stumbling led to pare wisdo
drawing the parallel between the flood and baptism, or between the ark and Christ, but by exhibiting the fact of our salvation as corresponding with that of Noah. :
God has determined to punish the world with an everlasting destruction
[His word bears frequent and most undeniable testimony to this solemn truth —
But he has prepareda Saviour for those who repent and turn unto him
[Human sagacity never could have devised a way of saving sinners consistently with the honour of God's perfections. But God has sent and qualified his only-begotten Son, that, through him, all who believe might be justified from all things. And though salvation through the death of Christ be“ to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness,” yet to them that are called to partake of it, it has invariably proved the power of God and the wisdom of God.e]
Ever since the method of salvation has been announced to the world, God has been inviting sinners to embrace it
[The first plank of this ark was laid, if we may so speak, when God promised to Adam a“ Seed, who should bruise the serpent's head,”—From that day, it has been erecting visibly in the world, in order that, while men were warned of their danger, they might see their remedy: and now, for nearly six thousand years, has God exercised forbearance towards an impenitent and unbelieving world.]
By “ baptism” we embark, as it were, on board this divinely constructed vessel
[When we are baptized into the faith of Christ, we profess our persuasion that there is salvation in no other,” and our · desire to be found in him," not having our own righteousness,
but that which is of God by faith in him. Thus we come to be in him, as a branch in the vine, as a man-slayer in a city of refuge, as Noah in the Ark. Not that this benefit is annexed to the mere outward form of baptism, but to that baptism which is accompanied with “ the answer of a good conscience towards God.”g]
Being then in Christ, we are saved by his resurrection"
[It should seem, that Noah's inclosure in the ark for so. long a period was a kind of sepulture; and his elevation on the waters, till he afterwards came forth from the ark, was a kind
d Matt. xxiv. 37–39. 2 Pet. ii. 5.9. Ps. xi. 6 and 9. 17.
f Acts iv. 12. Phil. iii. 9. & See the words following the text. Ib.
of resurrection, when he took possession of a new world. Thus, according to St. Paul, “ we are buried with Christ by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life: for if we have been planted in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection."i This appears to be intended by St. Peter in the text, and to be, on the whole, the most natural, as well as most beautiful, construction of it: as Noah entered into the ark, and was saved by its elevation above the water-floods, so we, by baptism, enter into Christ, and are, by his resurrection, saved from sin and Satan, death and hell; yea, like Noah too, we are brought safely to the possession of a new and heavenly world.k] : INFER
1. How deeply should we reverence the ordinances of God!
[What is said of baptism is true, in a measure, of every other ordinance: yet how shamefully is both that, and every other ordinance, profaned amongst us! Let us remember, that all the institutions of God are intended to help forward our salvation: but, if trifled with, they will fearfully aggravate our condemnation.]
2. How careful should we be to obtain “ the answer of a good conscience!”
[In the apostles days, as well as in ours, they, who applied for baptism, were interrogated with respect to their faith and practice; nor could the mere ablution of the body profit them, if they had not a correspondent purity of soul. Thus it is with ys: we shall in vain receive the rite of baptism, or partake of the Lord's supper, if we cannot declare, as in the presence of God, that it is our desire and endeavour to be holy as God is holy. Let us then not lay an undue stress upon outward observances of any kind; but rather seek a conformity to the divine image; for it will surely be found true at the last, that " the pure in heart shall see God," but that “ without holiness no man shall see the Lord.”
i Rom. vi. 4. 5. k Jf the opposition between dierálncan do datos and owseo de ávasárews be marked, the sense of this difficult passage will be more apparent.
CV. MELCHIZEDEC A TYPE OF CHRIST. Heb. vii. 1-3. For this Melchizedec king of Salem, priest of
the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him; to whom also, Abrahum gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation king of righteousness, and after that also, king of Salem, which is, king of peace; without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually. · THE principal scope of the epistle to the Hebrews is, to shew the superiority of Christ above the ordinances, and dispensers, of the Levitical law. In prosecuting this argument the inspired writer frequently mentions a priest. hood different from that of Aaron, a priesthood instituted by God before any one of Abraham's chosen descendants was born, and consequently intended for the benefit of the Gentile world; and he shews that Christ was, according to an express prediction,anda most solemn oath,to be a priest of this higher order, the order of Melchizerlec.a
The words of the text should properly be connected with ch. v. 10. the whole intervening part being, as it were, a parenthesis. The apostle, having laid great stress upon this prediction, now proceeds to illustrate it. He recites, in few words, the history to which the prediction itself refers, and declares, that it was altogether typical of Christ. The agreement between Melchizedec and Christ may be observed in two particulars 1. The dignity of their persons
Melchizedec, in reference to the import of his name, and the name of the city over which he presided, was called, king of righteousness, and king of peace: but in an infinitely higher degree do these citles belong to Christ,
e a priest ods of the text intervening pay
a Ps. cx. 4. with Heb. v. 6, 10. and vi. 20. and vii. 17,21.
b Gen. xiv, 14.20. c A very learned author has endeavoured to prove, that Melchizedec was not a man, but Christ himself. But, when the apostle so plainly speaks of him as a man, “like unto the Son of God," and lays so great a stress on the parallel which he himself draws between them, it seems scarcely allowable to say, that the inspired writer spoke of him as a man ( contrary to his own better knowledge) in conformity with the received opinion of the Jews. It appears safer to acquiesce in what the apostle has said (especially in such a place as this, where he builds so much of his argument upon his own statement) than to correct him, and teach him what he should have said.
[Christ is a king, not only over one city or country, but over the whole world; “his kingdom ruleth over all;" “ he has the utmost ends of the earth for his possession;" he is “ King of kings, and Lord of lords.” In his own person he is holy, harmless, separate from sinners; "he loveth righteousness, and hateth iniquity;" he is indeed “ the Holy One, and the Just." His laws are a perfect transcript of his mind and will, all holy, and just, and good. In his government he exercises the most perfect equity, not oppressing or despising any, but ever ready to afford protection, and succour, to all that call upon him. The very ends, for which he administers his government, are altogether worthy of his divine majesty; he rules his people, only that he may transform them all into his own image, and make them “partakers of his own holiness." In every view, he approves himself worthy of that august title which the voice of inspiration assigns him. “ The Lord our Righteousness."d But Jesus is also called, “The Prince of peace;" nor is this without reason, since he reconciles us to an offended God, and makes peace for us by the blood of his cross: yea, he brings peace into the wounded conscience; and calins the tempests, which were wont to agitate the soul — ]
That typical king is also called a “priest of the most high God;" yet, though glorious in this respect, he was only a shadow of Jesus, our great High Priest
[Melchizedec, though a king, was not ashamed to execute the priestly office. Whether the bread and wine, which he provided for the refreshment of Abraham's troops, had any mystical signification, we pretend not to say: but certainly he acted as a priest, when he blessed Abraham; and was regarded as a priest by Abraham, who presented to him the tenth of all his spoils. As for Jesus, there was not any part of the priestly office which he did not perform. He was not indeed of that tribe to which the priesthood belonged, and therefore he was not instituted “ according to the law of a carnal commandment;” but he was appointed of God with a solemn oath; and anointed to his office with a superabundant measure of the oil of gladness. Having, in order that he might have somewhat to offer, taken upon him our nature, he s presented himself an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.” And having shed his own blood, he is gone with it within the vail, and there carries on the work of intercession for us; and will soon come forth again, not like the Jewish High Priest, to bless one nation only, but, like Melchizedec, to bless the father of the faithful, together with all his children dispersed throughout the world.]: