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exceeding brightness of his glory. The earth may quake, the moun-: tains be removed, and every occan and every sea become a desertthe stars of heaven may be quenched in eternal night, the pillars thereof fall, and one broad flame of unquenchable fire sweep over the whole creation of God, but you and your children shall come forth out of the vast ruin, borne upward in the hand of Omnipotence, rejoicing with joy unspeakable, that your redemption is accomplished!
II. There is no safety for you or for your children out of the ark.
As God liveth, there is a storm coming which will empty the earth of all her inhabitants. Not one, of all the race of men, can abide the day of its coming, or flee from before its fury. No cavern so deepno mountain top so high-no island of the ocean so remote as to afford a shelter. No combination of human power-no mighty effort of all the angels of heaven could avert its desolation. There is no safety from it but in the ark of God.
With the children of your love around you, you may now feel that you are happy, although you and they are yet without the ark. But your happiness is imperfect; it is of short duration; and it is all at the mercy of God's forbearance. Let the heavens grow dark, the rains descend and the floods come, and it vanisheth like a bubble. The gathering of your children around you, as you and they stand without, with the door shut and the ark borne off upon the rolling flood, will not make you or them happy. They will feel that, however kind and indulgent you have been to them, you have neglected their immortal welfare, and that, by listening to your instructions and following your example, they are ruined forever. And you will feel that the distress and anguish which are coming upon them, which cannot be mitigated and which will never end, your unfaithfulness has occasioned. O, you will wish, then, to put these objects of your love far from you, and to blot from the registry of Omniscience the day that recorded you as their father!
You may be the most kind-hearted and affectionate of earthly parents, and yet, if you are remaining with your children out of the ark which God has prepared for you, you are doing them an injury which, it may be, nothing you can hereafter do will be able to repair. Out of Christ, they are unsafe. Out of Christ, no being on earth, and none in heaven, can insure them safety for a single moment. The tender affection which you feel for them, should drive sleep from your eyes and slumber from your eyelids, until you have done all that you can do to bring them within the pale of everlasting mercy. You may provide for them the best of instruction-the choicest of earthly comforts; you may secure for them the friendship of the good, the wise, and the great; you may cast upon their prospects in life many a golden beam, and cause their hearts to beat high with expectation. But what of all this can reach beyond the grave? What of all this meets the wants of the soul, or opens the avenues of everlasting life? Re
maining with your children out of Christ, you and they are exposed to all the terrors that are written for the enemies of God. Remaining with your children out of Christ, you and they can have no comforter in trouble-no hope in death-no God forever. Remaining with your chrildren out of Christ, you and they must, eventually, become alienated from each other-that which is now the object of your tender affection must become the object of your absolute abhorrencethat which now enkindles hope must give intensity to the agonies of despair!
Ô, there is reason why God out of heaven should call to thee, today, saying, "Come thou and all thy house into the ark;" for out of it, there is NO safety for thee or thine. No guardian angels, sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation, watch around thy dwelling. No gracious Savior, attracted to thy threshold by thy song of praise, and the accents of thy broken and contrite heart, unsheaths the sword of his omnipotence for thy defence. No covenant-keeping God has pledged the faithfulness of his throne, that when thou walkest through the fire he will be with thee, and through the waters they shall not overflow thee. Thy house is not a house of prayer. The mercy that spares thee is all uncovenanted. The promises of God reach not to thee or thine. And it is not for thy sake that he blesses thee or thine. His earth yields thee her increase, but to reprove thee of thine ingratitude. His heavens smile upon thee, but to remind thee of the benignity of him whom thou dost not love. His air breathes upon thee, but to roll upon thee a mountain's weight of obligation to consecrate thyself and all thou hast to him, in whose hand thy breath is. And the immortal beings, whom he has drawn around thee and taught to call thee, father, place their affections on thee, and rejoice to do thy pleasure, only to teach thee with what feelings thou shouldest look upon the character and do the will of thy father and their father who is in heaven. None of these things are no earthly blessings can be sources of permanent enjoyment. To be happy, even in the affections of your family, and in view of your and their immortal destination, and to be assured that this happiness will be any thing but momentary in its duration, you must obey the voice of God, and come, thou and all thy house, into the ark.
III. You should enter the ark of God, and seek to bring all your children in with you, not only because your salvation depends upon it, but because it may be indispensable to theirs.
1. Your children, that are out of the ark of God, are unwilling to believe that there is a storm gathering, or that the ground on which they stand will be swept by the overwhelming tide. They are unwilling to believe that the ark is a place of safety, or that there are not other plans equally safe, and altogether more desirable. Now, who could convince them of their error, like you, their father? What teacher could reason with them so irresistibly? What minister plead with them so affectionately? You, they respect. You, they love. To
you, they are bound by chords which bind them to none else. Your counsels they will not utterly disregard. Your persuasions they cannot absolutely resist. Should you call them around you, and take them by the hand, and out of the fullness of your heart, tell them their condition, point out to them their danger, and beg them to flee from the wrath to come; should you tell them, how precious the Saviour is to you-how anxious you are to meet them all in heaven, and how painful is the thought of an eternal separation between you and them at the judgment seat of Christ, think you they would hear it unmoved? Can you say, by experience, that they would? Have you ever made the experiment? Have you ever told your children that they had sinned against God-that they were justly condemned to eternal death-that they must repent of all their sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ or perish forever? Have you ever told them of the deceitfulness and the desperate depravity of their hearts-of the holiness of God-of the bliss of heaven and of the pains of hell? Have you ever cautioned them against resisting the Holy Ghost? Have you ever admonished them that their life is a vapor, and entreated them to do with their might the great work which God has given them to do? Have you done this, and done it repeatedly, and done it in all the fervor of parental affection? And why not? You have taught your children how they should feel toward their fellow men, and how they should conduct themselves in their presence. Why not teach them how they should feel towards God, and what reverence they should render to him? You have taught them how to live in this world, why not teach them how to live forever? The body you have been solicitous to nurture and to adorn. O, why treat with so much indifference the undying soul? Had your instructions-your entreaties been added to those which your children have already received from others, they might, long since, have been heirs of life. It may be, that all the argument and the persuasion, which teachers and ministers and parents united can bring to bear upon the hearts and consciences of your children, will be but just able to bring them within the kingdom of God; and that, if you substract yours, all other influences will fail, and they will die in their sins. IT MAY BE ! Will you not, then, reason with them, and plead with them, by all the ties which bind them to your souls? Do you say, that you are not prepared to do this ?-that you have no heart to do it? Well, this is a melancholy confession. Not prepared-no heart to speak to your dear child about his having a part in the book of life! This is the very reason why we urge upon you the command in the text. "Come THOU-and all thy house-into the ark." We wish to have you prepared. We wish you to enter the ark to-day, that you may teach your children to enter it also. We wish you to seek the Lord while he may be found, that your children may find him also.
2. Again; your children need an almighty arm thrown around them, to gather them out of the snares and temptations of the world, into the kingdom of God's dear Son. They need to have the Holy Spirit poured out upon them, that they may be convinced of sin and
of a judgment to come and be humbled at the foot of the cross. And who shall come with strong supplications and with tears to the mercy seat for this blessing, if not their father? If a child of yours were condemned to be executed on the morrow, who could be expected to plead with the executive of the state in his behalf like his own father? And who can be expected to wrestle at the throne of grace for the endless life of your offspring, like him, whose image they bear and to whom they are dearer than his own heart's blood? O, it is parental prayer, that has had such power with God in perpetuating the blessings of his grace upon the seed of the righteous. It is parental prayer, that has brought multitudes of children and youth to the feet of Jesus. It is parental prayer, that has often been answered on earth, to the praise of the riches of God's grace, long after the spirit that had breathed it out before heaven had gone to its everlasting rest. But, thou, who art a father, and art thyself out of the ark of safety, hast thou prayed for thy children? Hast thou asked of God that thou mightest meet them all in heaven? Hast thou taken them into thy closet, and told them the desires of thy heart, and lifted up the voice of thy supplication over them? Hast thou brought them around the family altar, and there taught them to offer incense unto God? And why hast thou not done it? Thou hast not hesitated to ask favors for thy children of thy fellow-men. Why hast thou asked none for them of thy God? Hadst thou prayed with them, and prayed for them, each morning and evening, from their infancy up to this hour; and hadst thou often taken them with thee into thy secret chamber, thy Father, who seeth in secret, might, long since, have rewarded thee openly. He might have given thee to rejoice that their names were written in heaven. It may be, that all the instructions, and warnings, and admonitions, which they have hitherto received, have failed of bringing them to the Redeemer, because you have never asked God's blessing on these means of grace. It may be, that all the means of grace which shall hereafter be used with them, wil be utterly powerless, because there will not be added to these influences the influence of your prayers. It may be, that a single word of prayer, ascending from your lips, will be the means, in God's hands, of prostrating them in penitence before his throne. If so, your entering the ark of God, and entering it speedily, may be connected with blessings on your offspring, great as God's mercy can bestow, and lasting as the pillars of his throne.
3. Again; your children need the influence of example, as well as of instruction and prayer, to induce them to seek first the kingdom of heaven. And whose example can exert such an influence upon them as that of their father? How can you expect them to flee from the wrath to come, when you, by your example, teach them that there is no coming wrath. How can you expect that they will trust themselves to the mercy of Christ, while you, by your conduct, teach them that you feel no need of that mercy. You live without Christ. You neglect religion. You cast off fear and restrain prayer. Is it any wonder
if your children do the same. If Noah had refused to enter the ark when God commanded him, think ye his children would have entered it? If their father had felt that there was no flood of waters coming upon the earth, think ye they would have been looking for windows in heaven? If their father had felt that it was hazardous to intrust his life in that frail bark, think ye they would have launched forth in it upon the angry deep? And if you disregard the calls of mercy, and resist the Holy Ghost, and die unreconciled to God, what reason have you to expect that your dear children will listen to those calls, and yield their hearts to that influence, and die in hope of a blessed immortality? You wish them to die thus. We know that you do, for your's is the heart of a father. But, what hope have you that they will? What a hindrance has your evil example been to them already! How often, when the ministers of Christ have told them of their danger, and held up before them the bleeding victim of the cross, and urged them to look at it and live forever, how often have they said within themselves, "If these things were so, my father would not utterly disregard them. He perceives no danger. He does not believe that he must repent or perish-that he must be born again or be forever excluded from the kingdom of heaven. He does not believe it, and why should I?" And is not this good logic? And do you not respect the intellect of your child for it, unacquainted, as he yet is, with the mysterious workings of human depravity? O, how much instruction falls as water upon the ground-how much divine influence is as ineffectual as if exerted upon a rock, and solely, because the lesson taught by parental example is so unlike that which is written in the book of God. It may be, that if the example of that father, who is now unreconciled to God, had been added to the other influences which have been exerted upon his children, they would, one and all, have become the children of the Most High. It may be, that if the example of that father is not brought to bear upon his children, all the preaching, and the prayers, and the influences of the Divine Spirit that will ever reach them, will come very far short of humbling them at the foot of the cross. It may be, that the example of that father alone, if no other means were ever to be repeated, would be sufficient, under God, to turn the feet of all his children unto the wisdom of the just. If so, his entering the ark of God, and entering without delay, may be of more consequence to them than to come into possession of all the worlds that Omnipotence has made.
And wilt thou, who art a father, in view of these considerations, hesitate whether thou shalt enter the ark of God? If thou hast no mercy upon thine own soul, wilt thou have none upon the souls of thy children? They are bone of thy bone and flesh of thy flesh. They are entrusted to thy care. Their Maker and thine has enjoined it upon thee, to take care of their souls. They need your most faithful instructions. They need your most fervent prayers. They need the influence of your pious example. And will you not regard their no