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nefs shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of thy peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.”
I think we may reduce the whole instrucion to be gained from this awful affecting story, to these two heads; I mean we may learn the
severity” of God, on the one hand, and his “goodness” on the other.
Men are not apt to believe, that God will be true to his word, especially in respect to his threatenings against the wicked. They choose to conceive of him, as some easy being who, because he is merciful, will either not punish at all, or will not punish severely; or at least, will not extend his punishment to any great number of his creatures; and when the preachers of righteoufness stand up like Noah, and declare, in the very words of Scripture, his eternal judgments on all the wickea, multitudes are apt to think they will never come to pass, and they treat the preachers much as this wicked and unbelieving world treated Noah before them. But the history which has now been given, shews that God is not the fort of being he is supposed to be, and affords a full answer to this dangerons delusion. “ For if God spared not the old world, but faved Noah, the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; and burning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes,
condemned them with an overthrow, maki them an example unto those, that after shou live ungodly. The Lord knoweth how to d liver the godly out of temptation, and to reser the unjust unto the day of judgment, to be p nished.”
Such is the argument drawn by the aposti Peter, from these ancient judgments, and it i very
remarkable that our Saviour himself make nearly the same use, though in a ftill stronge way, of these well known and famous events explaining by the means of them, the surprise and confternation which will overtake not the few profligate and more abandoned only, but the worldly-minded and careless, and unbelieving in the day of judgment. And is it not then important, as well as truly charitable, to warn men plainly of these sayings of that Saviour, whose name we all profefs to reverence, and in the truth of whose words, how shall we refuse to trust! For are not many perfons apt to live at their ease, up to the hour of their death, who are by no means religious, and who are no more afraid that a day of wrath is coming, than the world of unbelievers were on the day before the flood. I say again, therefore, let such attend to our Saviour's description of the surprise which will one day overtake persons of this description.
“ As were the days of Noah, so also,” says Christ, “shall the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that were before the dood, they were eating and drinking, marrying,
and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew noi, until the flood came and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. Likewise, also as it was in the days of Lot, they did est, they drank, they bought, they fold, they planted, they builded. But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed."
But on the other hand, let the humble and fearful Christian learn from another part of the same story, to trust in the Almighty grace and goodness; for as the threatenings of God are sure to the wicked, fo also are his.promises sure to them that unfeignedly repent, and believe ia Jesus Christ. They shall be safe amidst all dangers. When " that great and terrible day of the Lord” shall come, “ in which the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth, with all her works thereof, shall be burnt up,” they having committed their souls into the hands of Christ, having believed his testimony, and walk. ed, though in the midst of an evil generation, according to his holy word, shall then be like Noah in the ark fafe, amidst the surrounding form. And it may be added, that even in this world, when times grow dark and threatening; and calamity, either public or private, seems to break in upon them like a flood, when the tempest lowers, and the clouds seem to
gather over all the surrounding countries—even then, I say, God's promises of mercy shall be seen by them, shining like the rainbow over the cloud, for even their troubles and afflictions shall remind them of their interest in the Saviour, and in the everlasting covenant of their God.
THE STORY OF
JOSEPH and his BRETHREN. The first part of Joseph's story, though both instructive and entertaining to all, is particu. larly so to children. I propose to tell the story nearly in the words of the Old Testament, but to make now and then a few remarks upon it.
Jofeph was the son of good old Jacob. 6 Now Jacob,” says the Scripture, “ loved Jofeph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his Brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his Brethren, they hated him and could not speak peaceably unto Him."
But was not this hatred of Jofeph's Brethren against Jofeph very wicked? It is true Jacob might be faulty in shewing so much partiality to one fon above another, yet this was no excuse for the hatred which was felt by Joseph's Bre
thren. Methinks this hatred, though as yet it is only concealed in their breasts, will, by-and-by, break out into some very wicked act or other. But let us go on with the story.
“ And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren; and they hated him yet
This is doing worse and worse, and it shows that when hatred once begins, we know not where it will end.
“ And Joseph said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and my fheaf arose and also stood upright, and behold your fheaves stood round about and made obeisance (or bowed down) to my fheaf.”
Joseph seems to me to have told this dream thus publicly, through his openness of heart and fimplicity; it was a dream moreover which God fent, and God caused afterwards the thing fignified by it to be fulfilled, as in due time we Ihall see.
“ And his Brethren said to him, shalt thou indeed reign over us? And they hated him yet the more, for his dream and now for his words.And Joseph dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, behold I have dreamed a dream more, and behold the Sun, and the Moon, and the Eleven Stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to his Father and to his Brethren, and his Father rebuked him, and said to him, What is this dream that thout