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deed on the supposition of a partial flood, the labour and expense of an ark might have been spared. Noah and company might have removed to a distant region, with far less apparent danger than that which they encountered in the ark. But, in that case, the ungodly would very soon have followed in his train, however much they had derided his faith. That the deluge was universal, is, we think, rendered indubitable, by the well-known fact, that vestiges of it are to be found in all parts of the known world. In Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, at the greatest distance from the ocean, far beneath the surface, and on the loftiest mountains, marine substances are to be seen, which bear unimpeachable and incontrovertible testimony that the flood was there. But where, demands the sceptic, could water be obtained to cover the whole earth, fifteen cubits above the Alps and the Andes? In the central abyss, says Dr. Burnet, who fancies the earth resembled an egg, and that its exterior covering was broken at the deluge, and sunk down beneath the prevailing waters. By the agency of a comet, says the ingenious Whiston, who supposes that one of those eccentric bodies involved the earth in its atmosphere, whose aqueous vapours being condensed by the contact, poured down in torrents of rain, which he imagines is what Moses intends by the opening of the windows of heaven. By violent earthquakes, says M. de la Pryme, an ingenious French writer. By the melting of the ice in the polar regions, says the eloquent St. Pierre. But however curious these hypotheses may be, they are far from being satisfactory. Moses mentions two sources whence the waters came, which, we think, are quite sufficient; viz. the extraordinary descent of rain for forty days and forty nights, and the breaking up of the fountains of the great deep. The Almighty is never at a loss for means to accomplish his designs. He who, in the beginning, said, “Let there be light, and light was,” and who made the world by the word of his power, could readily furnish water sufficient to drown its inhabitants. The opening of the windows of heaven, and the breaking up of the fountains of the great deep are, in our opinion, strong figurative expressions, intimating the fall of rain unusually fast, and for an unparalleled length of time. It is said, the waters prevailed for a hundred and fifty days; i. e. during that time its depth increased, and the ark rose higher and higher with its elect inmates. Then God remembered Noah, and caused the waters gradually to subside, and on the seventh month, and seventeenth day of the month, the ark, by divine guidance, rested on Mount Ararat, a noted eminence in the mountains of Armenia, between the Black and the Caspian seas, some hundreds of miles north-east of Palestine. Here a delightful scene ensues. The tenth month showed the mountain tops. Yet, forty days, and the window of the ark is opened. First, the raven is despatched; then the dove, thrice; on her second return she brought in her beak an olive branch plucked off, from which it would readily be inferred that the waters were decreasing; and from this circumstance the olive branch has been used as the emblem of peace by all civilized nations. The three missions of the dove were marked by an interval of seven days; whence it would seem, that Noah and his family observed the weekly Sabbath, and performed special religious service on that day. “And in the second month (i.e. in the second month from the beginning of the next year), and on the 27th day of the month, was the earth dried. And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark, thou and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee: bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee of all flesh,” &c. It appears that Noah was in the ark one entire solar year; for he entered it on the second month of the six hundredth year of his life, and left it the same month of the year next ensuing. In regard to the truth of the Mosaic account of the deluge, there cannot be a rational doubt entertained by any one who considers, candidly and dispassionately, the mass of evidence by which the fact is supported. On this point we with pleasure give an extract from one of the eloquent Dr. Collyer's Lectures on Scripture Facts: “Had there been no deluge, it were difficult to account for the universal traditions respecting it; still more so, to explain the appearances presented in the face of nature itself. It was impossible for Moses to impose the belief of it upon the Jews, appealing, as he did, to the names found in the line of their ancestors, and fixing a certain era for this wonderful event. Many of them were well acquainted with the contemporaries of Joseph; Joseph with the particulars of Abraham's life; and Abraham lived in the days of the sons of Noah. Now the Jews must have received traditionary accounts of every remarkable event, handed down through successive generations in other channels besides the writings of Moses. Had his history clashed with these traditions, they could not have failed to observe it; and had he attempted to impose a fable upon them, they could not have failed to detect it. And such a detection at the commencement of his history, could not have failed to weaken, in the minds of his contemporaries especially, the authority and validity of the whole.” And the writer might have added, that, on this supposition, the Jews would have utterly rejected the mission and writings of Moses, which all the world knows is far from being the fact. From the fearful manifestation of divine displeasure against sin, which we have been contemplating, we may learn that the
threatenings of scripture, no less than the promises, will certainly be executed in due time: for, although God is slow to anger and of great kindness, and has no pleasure in the misery of his creatures; and although he has set his bow in the heavens, and promised, by covenant, not to destroy the world again by water; yet has he pledged his veracity, that those who discredit his word, outrage his authority, and despise his grace, shall not go unpunished. “Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.” Psalm xi. 6. Reader, there is an ark of safety: believe God, come to Christ, and you shall be free from fear of evil. W. N.
This psalm is supposed by many commentators to have been composed, and originally sung, at the time in which David brought up to Jerusalem the ark of the covenant from the house of Obededom. It is indeed admirably suited to that occasion; for the whole multitude may have cried, “The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein: for he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.” The singers in Israel were divided into companies, who sang both alternately and collectively; and as the procession began to ascend the hill of Zion, some may have chaunted the interrogation, with a spiritual allusion, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord 3 and who shall stand in his holy place " while another section of the choir may have responded, “He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.”
When the procession drew nigh the gates of the city, the multitude may have shouted, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the king of glory shall come in.” A portion of the singers posted at the gates may have sung, “Who is this king of glory?” and may have been answered by those who demanded entrance for the ark of the divine presence, “The Lord, strong and mighty ; the Lord, mighty in battle.” The same scene may have been renewed when they came to the gates of the tabernacle, in which the ark was to be deposited.
“Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the king of glory shall come in.” “Who is this king of glory?” “The Lord of hosts, he is the king of glory. Selah.” The word SELAH, which occurs only in the Psalms, and in the most poetical part of Habakkuk, was probably used to guide the instrumental and vocal performers in the art of praise. Whether it enjoined an elevation of voice, or resting, or repetition, seems not to be settled by the learned. To all it must have been obvious, that the omission of it in reading in no case affects the sense. It is most probable that the portion of the psalm which intervenes between the first and second Selah, was reiterated as a chorus to the solemn song. If, however, this psalm was, or was not, sung at the removal of the ark to its tabernacle on Mount Zion, it undoubtedly had respect to some scene more sublime and glorious. Let us endeavour to analyze it, that we may derive from it instruction and comfort. In the first place, it asserts the earth and the fulness thereof, the world and them that dwell therein, to be Jehovah's property. Mankind are prone to think the objects of sense, which they are permitted to use, their own possessions; but our God claims the trees of the forest, the wildfowl of the rivers, the fishes of the sea, and the cattle on all the hills. Yes, he claims man. Our parents, our partners, our children, our domestics are his property. We are not our own. The silver and gold which the miser hoards, or the prodigal scatters, belong to Jehovah. He claims our minds with all their faculties, and our bodies with all their functions. Let us endeavour to fix this truth in our memory, and apply it for the subjugation of all discontentment, when God recals what he has loaned for a season. Should our nearest and dearest friends be called away from our side; or should we feel a disposition to use any creature of God in a way which he has forbidden, let us check every murmur and rebellious effort, by seasonably reflecting, that we have nothing but sin which we can call our own. Secondly, the psalm shows, that the property which God has in his creatures, and his title to them, are derived from creation and providence. The earth and all its inhabitants belong to the Lord, for this reason, “he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.” The relation which subsists between a Creator and creature, gives the Creator a right to use the work of his hands according to his own pleasure, and is an essential part of the foundation of moral obligation. Could any being show, that Jehovah had not made him, he would at the same time prove, that he is under no obligation to obey his will. But the Lord has formed the heavens and the earth; he has arranged and he upholds the oceans and the dry land; he has given man a suitable body and a reasonable soul, and therefore has he a property in them. Do you ask, O ye children of men, with what propriety Jehovah uses you for his own glory, and requires of you submission to his revealed will? The answer is given by Jehovah himself, “I have formed thee.” The Spirit of the Lord has given men understanding, feeling, choice, and activity. “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” If then Jehovah has made the world of mankind, may he not do what he will with his own : Every intelligent being who has a conscience, approves of the doctrine, when it is presented to him, that a creature ought to obey the will of his Maker. If he made us for his pleasure, it is both our duty and interest to consult his pleasure in all things. The question here arises very naturally, “Who of God's rational creatures then, does so please him, as that he may expect to stand in the presence of the Lord, and have an everlasting home in heaven?” Who shall ascend, with divine permission, into the hill of the Lord, on which Jehovah manifests himself in love and glory? Who shall stand in his holy place? Thirdly, the psalm, in answer to this inquiry, describes the character of all those persons, who seek the favour of the Redeemer, and shall enter heaven. Jesus is called Jacob in Isaiah, and in this psalm, because he is the heel that bruises the head of the old serpent, and because he like Jacob, in pleading for his people, has power with God, and prevails. “The man that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully,” shall stand in the holy place in which the gracious presence of God peculiarly resides. Such as this man is every one who belongs to the generation of them that seek HIM; that seek thy face, O Jacob. All the friends and followers of the Saviour, who may expect to be glorious and happy with him for ever, must evince themselves to be, comparatively speaking, men of clean hands, or of pure external conduct; of a pure heart, or of holy thoughts and feelings; men weaned from idolatry so as not to have lifted u their soul unto vanity; and men of veracity and fidelity, who swear not deceitfully. No living man is absolutely of clean hands and a pure heart, for all have sinned; yet all the people of the Lord, when compared with what they once were, and with what all unrenewed men now are, may be said to be perfect and pure. Hence it is said, “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace;” and “Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.” Let none, then, imagine themselves candidates for heaven, and in