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there is to be nothing to which this feeling corresponds, in the eternal Archetype. This can only be because we do not really believe the words upon which all others in Scripture turn; because we do not think that goodness and truth are realities in God; we take them to be names for certain qualities utterly unlike those which we are to exhibit one to another. If it be so, brethren, our morality has no ground to stand upon; it is merely the sport of accident or the result of sin. If these expressions of Scripture are not true expressions, but are only used in accommodation to our habits and notions, Scripture is not that which it professes to be. It is not a revelation of God. It gives us hints respecting Him which we are not to believe, which it is rather our business to avoid believing, and that too, when events affecting the history of the world are said to have proceeded from these feelings in the Divine Mind, events which lose all their character and purpose when they are referred to any other origin.
This has surely happened with the story of the Flood. As it is told in Scripture, it is a most memorable part of the history of man, expounding the course of God's dealings with him. He is grieved that He had made man, because men were living wholly at variance with the law under which they were created. He uses the powers of nature to destroy those who had made themselves the slaves of Nature. The Laws under which he has established the earth become the instruments of its purification, and of the punishment of those who had misused it. A man is found who is perfect in his generation, who trusts in God and does not follow nature. In him the race is preserved, and every kind of creature. The waters do not overwhelm him. He is divinely taught how man may float above these waters and make them his servants. All in this record is orderly, consistent, moral. The righteous government which all physical things obey, which man is intended to understand and sympathize with as well as obey, is vindicated. God's repentance is reconciled with his divine, unchangeable Will. We, in speaking of the Deluge, are not content to dwell upon its moral history, upon its connexion with the being of man. We must build great theories upon it relating to the structure of the globe; theories of which the Bible suggests no hint, which interfere with the directness and simplicity of its story, but yet of which it has to bear the disgrace if science confutes them.
To-day, then, as on last Sunday, I plead for the Scripture itself against our crude interpretations of it, both in its history of the Fall and of the Deluge. I ask you not to believe that a man was able to frustrate the purposes of God, not to think that the world was created in Adam, or stood in his obedience, when the Scriptures of the New Testament, illustrating those of the Old, teach us that it stood and stands in the obedience of God's well-beloved Son; the real image of the Father, the real bond of human society and of the whole universe, who was to be manifested in the fulness of time, as that which He had always been, who was to exhibit in the sorrow, tears, death of a man, the full grace and truth of which all men, so far as they had trusted in God, had exhibited some tokens and reflections. I ask you not to think because Adam could only transmit to his descendants the nature which he had, and because all who lived according to that nature, were evil continually in the imagination of their hearts, that therefore God forgot the work of His own hands, or ever ceased, or ever has ceased, to seek after them and strive with them. I ask you, lastly, not to doubt that there is a true and holy repentance in God, since otherwise there can be no true and holy repentance in us. For though our repentance be for sin, yet it cannot spring from sin. The holy Being must be the author of it. And if He is the author of it, it must issue from something which there is in Himself. Oh! be sure that the repentance which He would awaken in us is in the strictest sense the counterpart of his own. He would have us wish, not that His order should be changed, not that His war against evil should be less exterminating than it is; but that our wills should be brought into conformity with His Will, that His punishments should do the work they are sent to do for us, and for mankind, and for the earth. He would have us say, 'Grant that it may repent us and grieve us at our hearts, that we and our brethren have made ourselves the slaves of nature instead of thy servants, that we have walked after the flesh instead of the Spirit, that we have lived each as separate individuals warring against each other, not as members of a kind redeemed and united in Christ—after the downward tendencies of the old Adam, and not according to the quickening Spirit of the new. Grant us and all thy children this repentance, that so we may pass safely through whatever judgments and chastisements Thou hast ordained for the corrupted earth in which we dwell; that we may be fit to behold it and offer thanksgiving sacrifices for it, when it comes forth from Thy hands purified and renewed!'
NOAH AND ABRAHAM.
Lessons for the day, Genesis IX. and XII.
Preached at Lincoln's Inn, on Quinquagesima Sunday, March 2,1851.
Genesis XII. 1, 2, 3.
Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father s house, unto a land that I will shew thee. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
THE following words opened the lesson for this morning:
'And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I