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would not send another flood because by which he sees fit to oppose it, he tor, at least, though this evil ima- is alike earnest in punishing it. We gination remained uusubdued. may be thoroughly persuaded that
Now, there is something very re- though there was the same corrupmarkable in this adduction of the tion in our nature after the flood as same reason for quite opposite re- before, it was not because that corsults. Had God destroyed one race ruption had grown less offensive to because of the evil of their imagina- the Creator that he repeated not the tion, and had he destroyed another awful baptism which despoiled and on the same account, there would laid waste our earth. On the conseem to be uniformity of dealing, and trary, it is a truth forced on us, that we could understand the principle the same end was contemplated by by which the divine conduct was re the sparing, as by the smiting: in gulated. But when God is exhibited restraining the waters, God was folas saving for the same reason which lowing the very laws that guided him is given for his smiting, a subject of in the out pouring: and whether or -meditation is presented which de- not we can detecta reason for such a mands great attention: and this sub- marked difference of proceeding, we ject it is with which we shall engage are bound to believe, that, when he you on the present occasion. We cursed the ground on account of the wish to take our text, which is an évil of man's heart, and when he express covenant that there should determined not again to curse it on not again be a flood, in connexion account of that same evil, he had in with other passages which assign the view identically the like object--that cause of the deluge. We contend of expressing his hatred of sin, and that, when thus connected, that very his determination to root it out of the wickedness which provoked the out- universe. break of wrath, is represented either The great point, therefore, which as the reason why there should be demands examination is, that of the no repetition of the vengeance, or, same end being pursued by directly at least, as not a cause that should opposite means. We have God deteragain produce such a visitation. The mining at one time to take vengeance, evil of the imagination of man's heart and at another, though the producing moved God to the taking vengeance; cause seemed unchanged, determinand this same evil is exhibited, if not ing not to take that vengeance; and as influencing him to spare, certainly in each case we are certified he had not as determining to smite. We the like hatred of evil, and was achave therefore to inquire why, since tuated by the like resolve to punish there was no difference in the moral and exterminate it. Why, then, did aspect of mankind, there was to be he not follow the same plan throughsuch a difference in the dealings of out? Or why did he administer once the Almighty; or, why the evil which that punishment which he thought fit provoked one flood, seeing it con not to repeat? Such questions, you tinued unmitigated, was to provoke observe, are not merely speculative. not another.
If God himself had not given the Now, it is scarcely necessary for same reason for sparing as for smitus to remark, that wickedness must at ing, we might have thought that the all times be equal in God's sight; flood had made a change in the moral and that however various the modes circumstances of our race, and there
SUFFERING PRODUCE THE
WORLD AFTER THE FLOOD WERE THE
was not again the same intense pro- precisely the same circumstances, it vocation: but when we hear from is a matter which both deserves and the lips of Jehovah himself, that there demands examination: and such is was precisely as much after the de- the subject of our discourse. It reluge as before, yea, that he refrained solves itself into these two questions, from cursing in the face of that very to each of which we would attempt a wickedness, we are only endeavour- reply. ing to be wise up to what is written The first question is, SINCE A FLOOD in searching out the reason for the WAS AS MUCH CALLED FOR TWICE "AS change in God's conduct. is.
ONCE, WHY SHOULD IT HAVE BEEN SENT Now we wish to put your minds ONCE, THE PROVOCATION BEING JUST in possession of the point that de- THE SAME, AND YET THE DEALING mands examination before we enter MOST DIFFERENT? WAS ANY END ANat length on that examination itself. Swered By The Deluge ? We fear not so much the wearying The second question is, DOES LONGyou by repetition as by leaving you uninformed on the subject to be SULTS AS PUNISHING, SEEING THAT THE handled. We shall therefore again WORLD BEFORE THE FLOOD AND THE state succinctly the matter under review, and then enter at once on our OBJECTS OF SUCH OPPOSITE DISPENSAexamination,
TIONS, THAT IT WOULD BE HARD TO - If you search your Bibles, you will UNDERSTAND HOW with GOD THERE observe, that the reason why there is NO RESPECT OF PERSONS ? was one deluge is given as a reason Now, our first thought on finding why there should not be a second: that there was just the same reason the evil of the imagination of man's for destroying the world twice as for beart determined God to smite once, destroying it once is, that no end was and this very evil determined God answered by the deluge which might not to smite twice. Why was this? not have been answered without a If it were the best method of proceed- deluge. But then we only wonder ing to send one deluge, would it not that there should have been such a have been the best method of pro- tremendous visitation, and that God ceeding, seeing the circumstances should have come forth in his awfulwere confessedly the same, to have ness and dealt out such lamentable sent another deluge? Or if the spar- desolation. But though it is most ing mankind were as direct a method certain that there was as much proof accomplishing reformation as smit- vocation after as before the deluge, ing mankind, how can we account for it is a most unwarranted conclusion such a visitation as that of the flood ? that no great ends were answered by If you ask a man why the globe was the deluge. The delage was God's overflown with water, he will answer, sermon against sin, whose echoes « Because of the wickedness of its will be heard until the consummation inbabitants." Were, then, those in- of all things. We admit that when habitants more corrupt and depraved another century had passed away, than their successors? Undoubtedly and the children of Noah again not: God gives the same description peopled the earth, that there was as of mankind after the flood as before much reason for a flood as when God the flood. If, then, a world were de- poured down the waters, and swept stroyed and a world spared under away. the rebellious. We quite ad
mit that, in the present day, when server ; since it irresistibly proves to wickedness under every possible him that the earth has been the scene shape, and in the highest degree of of a tremendous devastation, and that enormnity, covers the globe, there is it cannot now be the sparkling and to the full as great provocation of richly hung creation which it was vengeance as in the days of Noah: when the first pair walked abroad and if the ocean should swell and in its beauty..." suck down in its depths and caverns Had there never been a fiood, we the swarming multitudes who were should have wanted our most striking doing despite to God, there would be attestation to the truth of the Bible. nothing but the repetition of that in- To the man who examines, carefully terference of justice which well nigh and scientifically, the surface of the annihilated mankind,
earth, its phenomena were inexplicaWe give no harbourage for a mo- ble were he not acquainted with the ment-we know there could be no fact of the flood, but well accounted thing more false than the opinion for when he is acquainted with it. that the antediluvians must have been The man who is contented with a less more wicked than ourselves because diligent vision, who merely throws visited with signal and unequivocal his glance across its various landpunishment: but if you infer from scapes, will discern such marks of this that the flood was unnecessary, disorder and dislocation that, if he that the antediluvians might as well know nothing of a flood, he must be have been spared as their successors, lost in amazement at the strangeness we at once deny the conclusion. The of the spectacle. The huge rocks deluge, we again say, was God's which he sees piled far above him, as sermon against sin, and its delivery though the work of giants-the vast was of importance to every succeed- deserts of sand, which look like the ing generation. In ejecting our first beds of the ocean drained out long parents from Paradise, God had centuries back--the mighty caverns given a fearful demonstration that the which are rent through as though by consequences of transgression were a pent-up river-all these must tell not to be told by human arithmetic; the most careless observer that the but the event was one whose nature earth on which we dwell has been and whose memory would easily pe- swept by some awful machinery of rish, and men, as they were further wrath, and that there must have been removed from their first acts of re a period when the Creator so disbellion, and extended their boun- organized the work of his own hands daries, would be sure to lose alto- as almost to reduce it to its original gether, or to deform into fable, the chaos. And if he bear in mind the history and the results of human apos- history of the flood, at every step he tacy. And therefore we may perceive takes, he will find the proofs of this a great necessity why God should history on the features of the landutter for once such a homily against scape; and his journey across its dissin as might be heard in every land tricts, and his stretching his gaze and by every generation : and by over its departments, will do nothing sending a flood God wrote this homily more than add to the evidence that on the mountains and valleys and the records of the Bible are true forests of this globe, so that they are records and credible. Thus in sendforced even on the most cursory ob- ing the flood, GOD sent a perpetual
attestation to the truth of his word; | - If we always kept it memory the and he disbelieves the evidence of na- foregoing expression, that the flood ture as much as the testimony of has been in every age God's sermon Scripture, who can doubt or deny the against sin, then we might readily fact of the deluge. We are prepared understand why, though it were not to contend that, in bringing water repeated, a deluge was once brought upon the earth, God was wondrously upon the earth. But we might think providing for the faith of every com- that since there was the same evil ing generation, and was writing in after the deluge as before, there was characters which no time can efface, the same reason for a second deluge and no ingenuity prove to be for- as for one: and it strikes you as geries, that he hates sin with perfect strange that, if God smote once, he hatred, and will punish it with rigid did not smite twice. But it is imporpunishment. He was telling out, in tant to bear in mind, that, when God language understood by the most illi- visibly interferes for the punishment terate, and which shall not cease to of wickedness, there are some ends · be heard till the baptism of fire shall of his moral government to be anhave fallen on the earth, that the swered, over and above that of the evil of the imagination of the heart chastisement of the unrighteous. Orbrought down his vengeance. dinarily God delays taking vengeance
If it be true that our globe is its till the last day of account; and we own witness to the fact, that ven-judge erroneously if we judge from geance has ridden over its provinces, God's dealings with man on this side and that the wicked land has been eternity. When there is a direct turned into barrenness because of the interposition, such as the deluge, wickedness of them that dwell therein, we may be sure it answers other dethen it is true that a twofold end sigus besides that of punishing unhas been answered by the deluge righteousness : and before, therefore, the veracity of the Bible, and God's we can show that there was the same indignation against evil -- these are reason for a second deluge as for one, alike stamped upon every fragment we must not only show there was the of wreck and confusion. I am firmly same amount of wickedness, and the persuaded that in the great day of same evil in the imagination of the general assize, when the sea as well heart-we must show there was the as the land shall give up its dead, same end of moral government to be and those who despised the preaching answered, over and above that of the of Noah shall rise up out of the deep, punishment of the rebellious. And awakened by the trumpet call, and here it is you will feel established in walk up to judgment, there shall be the belief, that a great lesson was reagain witnessed the same exhibition corded as to God's hatred of sin, and of wrath against an unbelieving ge- his determination to destroy, sooner neration, and the tens of thousands or later, the impenitent. And God who perished in the flood, shall call furnished this lesson, so that ages loudly and pressingly for sentence on bave obliterated no letter of the record, those who had denied God, and forgot by bringing a flood on the earth, and God, whilst they trod an earth which burying in the womb of waters the told them of the deluge, and inhabited unnumbered tribes that crowded its a world on which was engraven the continents. But the lesson required wrecks of a generation which died for not to be repeated; it was sufficient its iniquity.
that it should be given once--suffi
cient, seeing that it is still so power- | son had been given. The circumful and persuasive that it leaves in- stances were not, therefore, the same: excusable all who persist in rejecting there was, indeed, the same provocait. Thus there was a reason for one tion, but there was not the same readeluge which there cannot be for son why that arrangement should be another. When God had manifested interfered with, which makes the prehis hatred of sin, and his resolve to sent the probation time, and the future punish it, there was a witness sent the punishing time. And if the ciragainst the uprighteous; the ends of cumstances were not the same, we his moral government were answered, may readily understand why He who and it was not to be looked for that smote once should not smite twice; he would again display so striking a and why He who said “I will curse dispensation : so that while there was the earth, for man's imaginations are the same evil and the same provoca- evil,” should afterwards, when that tion, there was not the same reason earth arose before him with the curse for interference. The object of the stamped on its surface, declare, “I deluge was not only to punish wick- will not again curse the earth, though edness, it was also to give instruction man's imaginations are still evil.” --which is especially the business of Now thus far we have dealt only the present dispensation : and since with the first of these questions, which the instruction was immutably given the study of our text seemed to sugby one deluge, that object, which is gest. We have simply endeavoured confined to the present, could not de- to show, that there is no just cause of mand a second.
surprise in the fact that God, on aeThus there could evidently be no count of man's provocation, should thing more inconclusive than the rea have smitten once, but that, with son that, because the imagination of exactly the same amount of provocaman's heart was only evil, if the first tion, he should not have smitten twice. deluge were just, there ought to be a The common idea would be that the second. God sent the first that the destroyed were more wicked than the unborn might be instructed as well as spared; but this idea is overthrown the living punished. If the one had by our text, when taken in connexion been insufficient, we might have con- with the passage which refers to the cluded that a second was to be ex- producing cause of the food. The evil pected; but since it was full of which moved God to destroy is demeaning, there are none of the prin- clared to have existed when he deciples of God's government which termined to spare ; there was the would warrant our looking for a se same ground for a second deluge as cond interference. And thus we for the first; and we naturally think, show there was a great end answered that, since the second was withheld, by the deluge, and that, that end so might have been the one; and then being answered, there was no de we wonder at this outbreak of venmand for another: so that, without geance. But we have shown that the any want of equity, God might de- moral end which one deluge answered termine at one time to send a flood, did not demand a second ; and thus and at another time determine not to we have shown that, though the evil send a flood, though on both occasions was not greater before than after the the reason was, that man's imaginations flood, it was consistent with the prinwere evil. In the one case he had a ciples of God's government to smite lesson to give-in the other that les once, but that those principles would