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listened to the warning; they saw the ark, God's appointed hiding-place, day by day being built; but doubtless many scoffed at the folly of building a big ship without water to float it on; others just did not trouble themselves about it; they had their own business to attend to; there was time enough. Thus the day of grace passed on; and at the appointed time God bid Noah and his family to come into the ark,' and 'He shut them in': only eight wise ones, who foreseeing the evil, hid themselves, and they were saved ; on the rest the flood came, and destroyed them all;"1 they passed on, and were punished.
“Now, Mrs. Loftus, while I am speaking to you to-day there is a terrible evil' hanging over the world; God warns us of it again and again in His Word; He tells us also of a sure Refuge, of a safe Hiding-place. And yet people live on as if there was no danger, no storm of 'wrath to come,' and so they pass on’; and unless God the Holy Ghost in mercy awaken them to see the awful, the everlasting ruin, to which they are so recklessly hurrying, there is, there can be, but one result, they pass on, and are punished '
punished,' awful words, with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord';2 banished from Him in whose
presence there is fulness of joy,' and at whose right hand there are pleasures for evermore.'3 How unlike the unsatisfying and fast-fleeting pleasures of the world, for the enjoyment of which the never-dying soul is given in exchange."4
“I am sure all you say is true, ma'am,” said Mrs. Loftus; “ but it's hard to feel what we don't see.”
“Yes, friend, it may be hard to feel ; but God does not tell us to feel, but to believe; and surely it ought not to be hard to believe God, for ‘God is not a man, that He should lie . . . hath He said, and shall He not do it; hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good ?'5 And our God and Father has told us of our danger, in order that we may i Luke xvii. 27.
2 Thess. i. 9.
3 Psa. xvi. II. 4 Matt. xvi. 26.
5 Num. xxiii. 19.
'flee from the wrath to come';' because out of the fulness of His great love He hath provided a way of escape, of which the ark was a type, or picture. Shall we open our Bibles and look at a few of the many verses which tell us of this coming judgment? and may God the Holy Spirit be our Teacher !
66 We read in Romans i. 18: 'For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness; but, lest any should say that text refers to open and hardened sinners, and not to those who in their own and their friends' eyes are very respectable, doing, as they think, their duty to their families and their neighbours, turn to the 3rd chapter of the same book, verses 19-23 : ‘That all the world may become guilty,' “ For all have sinned,' all come short, therefore all under condemnation; all in danger of the threatened ruin. And what a ruin ! If possible, the more terrible because unexpected; for when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them ..... and they shall not escape';z it will be then too late to seek to hide themselves. The danger is still further described : 'The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance 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.' 3 Oh, think of those terrible words: the Lord Jesus taking vengeance'! He who still is 'waiting to be gracious';* from whose lips still come those gracious words : ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.' 5 He also hung upon the cruel cross for you. Observe, also, it does not say, “taking vengeance' on great sinners, on murderers and drunkards, etc., though of course those unhappy ones are included ; 6 but on those that know not God,' and 'obey not the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ;' so that those who refuse .so great salvation,"
1 Matt, iii. 7.
1 Thess. v. 3. John vi. 37
7 Heb. ii. 3.
2 Thess. i. 7-9.
who obey not the loving commands, 'Come unto Me';1 ' Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved';2 on them must come that awful doom.
“ Is it not strange, Mrs. Loftus, that with such a danger impending, the greater part of the world go on their way utterly heedless ? Surely it is the very extreme of folly ! the simple, or foolish, pass on, and are punished."
“ It's just awful to think of it, ma'am ; and indeed it's very like what I and Jim are doing.”
“Then why go on any longer thus ? Why not this very day 'hide yourself'? for you see the 'prudent foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself.' I think you know the only safe hiding-place for a poor sinner?”
“It can only be the Lord Jesus Himself, ma'am, I suppose."
Yes, indeed. “A man shall be as an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest.' "The Man Christ Jesus.'' He is the only, but He is an all-sufficient Refuge. You see it is the way of God's own appointing ; 5 the way by which His justice and His love can meet and be satisfied ; 6 so that now He, the Holy God, can be just,' and yet the justifier of the ungodly.'? The Lord Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, took on Him our nature, 8 and as man and for men He perfectly fulfilled the law of God; so that He could say: 'Which of you convinceth Me of sin ?'9. His meat and drink was to do His Father's will, 1 and then, at the end of three-and-thirty years of always doing the will of Hiin that sent Him, 'He became obedient unto death, even the death of the
because the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all,' 12 your sins and mine. He took our place, became our Substitute, so that His spotless righteousness is reckoned to us, and our sins were counted as His. 13 And now to all who believe 1 Matt. xi. 28. 2 Acts xvi. 31.
3 Isa. xxxii. 2.
6 Psa. lxxxv. Io. ? Rom. iii. 26; iv. 5. 8 Heb. ii. 14-16.
13 2 Cor. v. 21. 9 John viii. 46. 10 John iv. 34; V. 30.
11 Phil. ii. 8. 12 Isa. liii. 6.
and accept this great gift of God, even eternal life, Jesus is as the ark was to Noah, as Zoar to Lot, as the bloodsprinkled houses to the children of Israel, when all the first-born of the Egyptians were slain. He bore the storm in order that we should never feel its overwhelming force. Let us, then, come to-day, and say to Him, “Thou art my hiding-place';3 'I flee unto Thee to hide me.'4
“ Dear friend, let me once more entreat you not to put off coming; we know not the day or hour when the door will be shut, and this deluge of fiery judgment shall come : besides, any instant death may decide your place for a never-ending eternity. Listen once more :
• And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of His wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand ?? Who? Those, and those only, 'who have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.' And now they are a great multitude too, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.5 In which of those companies would you like to be found : the 'prudent,' who foreseeing the evil, have hid themselves in God's own hiding-place; or the simple,' who pass on, and are punished ?"6
John iii. 16; 1 John v. 10–12.
2 Ex. xii. 12, 13, 29.