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in their practical life, are without God, by omitting him and his will and sovereignty in their calculations. At the same time we must be very careful not to see God in judgments only, but in mercies and blessings also. Many persons are atheists when mercies are showered upon them, and recognise God only when judgments overtake them. I see God in sunshine, if possible, more emphatically than in cloud. I see him in the golden harvest in its plentiful abundance, more clearly than I see him in the waves and waters of misfortune. I would wish more to see God in prosperity, and more to see myself, and my sins, and my unworthiness in adversity. But man’s tendency is to see God when trouble comes, forgetting that his sin alone is to blame; and to see himself when prosperity comes, and to praise his own ingenuity and cleverness. It is the Christian's joy to see God in all that is beneficent, and beautiful, and happy; and to see his own sins, and wickedness, and guilt in the evils and the judgments that occasionally overtake him.
The associations of the antediluvians were all essentially depraved. “The sons of God married the daughters of men,” an expression which denotes that the pious mingled with the depraved, without discrimination and without distinction. The Apostle lays down what is duty always—that they that marry are to marry in the Lord. The antediluvians thought that that was good enough for the trancendentalist, but not for practical and every day life. And many think now, that it may be very beautiful for a higher dispensation, but that we must take other, and more sublunary, even mercenary elements into our estimate now. And again, “whether we eat or drink, we are to do all to the glory of God,” is the Christian maxim, but that was not the maxim then. It was thought good enough for monks, and nuns, and hermits, but not for the business men of this world. Christianity ought to be the cement of every association. Exhaust it from a nation, and it will fall to pieces; let marriage be separated from Christianity as its basis, and what will it be? Just what it has been among the Socialists — a bargain, a piece of convenience, and to be broken as soon as the one party is dissatisfied with the other; and held as ceasing to be seen in heaven, it soon comes to be broken upon earth.
There was in the antediluvian world total disbelief of the testimony of Noah as to the coming judgments that should burst upon the earth. When Noah predicted, yet a hundred and twenty days the flood should come, how did they receive it? Just as men will receive those who prophesy the coming of Christ at the close of this dispensation. “Knowing this first,” says Peter, confirmatory of the passage we are now commenting upon, " that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness: but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat ? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."
Those that lived in the days of Noah despised Noah's prophecy of a coming flood. Their conclusion was, There is not water enough in the basin of the ocean to rise to the great height to which it will be requisite it should rise in order to destroy the world. But just as scientific men had decided that Noah's prophecy was the mere crotchet of an old man who had lost his mind, the fountains of the great deep burst, the windows of heaven were opened, and the earth that then was perished. To argue, therefore, that the laws of nature prevent the fulfilment of God's word, is to assert that the law is greater than the Lawgiver, and the thing created greater than the Creator himself. Those who perished in that great and awful judgment had an offer of escape. The old and venerable preacher of righteousness stood upon the steps of the ark he had built by the prescriptions of his God, and told them that every one that would believe God's testimony by his lips, and come into that ark, should be saved from the deluge that would soon sweep the earth and depopulate it. They were, in the language of Scripture, disobedient then, and their souls are in the prison of hell now. “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” When you are told of the awful baptism, not of flood, but of fire, and when you are invited to escape, not by the ark of a temporal deliverance, but by Christ, the Great Deliverer, many thousands will despise the prophecy, deride the prophet, and turn aside, one to his farm and another to his merchandise, and care for none of these things. Nevertheless it shall be true, as stated by an Apostle in the Epistle
to the Thessalonians, where he tells us, that “Christ shall be revealed from heaven, taking vengeance in flaming fire on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.”
We have it recorded in the antediluvian days that the Spirit ceased to strive with man any more. When the Holy Spirit ceases to bless the preaching of the Gospel, it fails to have effect. When he ceases to imprint upon the heart the truths that are addressed to the ear, all preaching and all hearing is vain. And just before the close-before the lightning cloud shall come, in which Christ shall be seen as in heaven with power and great glory, God's Holy Spirit will cease to strive; the day of grace will be finished, the day of judgment will have begun-cut it down, it only cumbers the ground that is now to be blessed and sanctified with His presence, and become the bright dwelling-place of all that believe for ever and ever. To show that we have not exaggerated in the least, I will read the summary of all that shall be in the last days from 2 Timothy ii.: “ This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affec
the lightni ald. And just her preaching and