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But, after all, is the alleged objection against the commonly received meaning of Christ's “preaching," etc. true ? Is it impossible to trace a connection between this interpretation and Christ's being quickened in the Spirit ? A connection there doubtless is, if the interpretation be the true one. Confessedly it is not apparent at the first glance, but may not a connection be discovered by close attention to the drift of the apostle's discourse, and by comparing scripture with scripture ?' We humbly hope we have made this discovery.
The connection in question is, a connection or link of union in the apostle's thought, between Christ's being quickened in the Spirit after his death in the body, and his preaching through Noah to the antediluvians, then disembodied spirits in prison. Can no reason be conceived of, why the apostle should mention these things as he has done, in close conjunction ? We know the following fact, namely, that there was an important connection in the mind of this apostle between that flood, in foresight of which Noah, filled with the Holy Ghost, lifted up his warning voice in the ears of his disobedient contemporaries, and that eternal destruction which is now coming upon the world of the ungodly, and in prospect of which Christ, after his death, sent the Holy Spirit upon his disciples, and through them thus qualified for the work, called men io repentance. These two floods, (if for convenience sake we may so call them, though distant in time-the one long since past, the other yet to come-stood together in the apostle's illumined mind, closely related the one to the other. We see this in the following passage from the third chapter of bis Second Epistle." By the word of God, the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water ; whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water perished: but the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word, are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” The flood of water, the first flood, pointed in the apostle's view to the second, the flood of fire, by which the world's final destruction is to be effected. He could not therefore well be thinking of the one without being reminded of the other. Now this final destruction held a lofty place in the apostle's present meditation. It was to deliver men from this destruction, that Christ, as quickened in the Spirit, according to the interpretation of this phrase, which we have giren, was now einployed. This was the end of that movement now go
ing forward through the ministrations of the apostle and his fellow-laborers in the work of Christ : and that the apostle had this in mind, appears from what he says in our 21st verse. Having remarked that the result of Noah's ministry was the salvation of few, that is eight souls, by water, he adds, "the like figure whereunto, baptism, doth now save us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Baptism, in its signification and design, was no other than the great work of recovering mercy, which Christ, as now quickened in the Spirit, was accomplishing among men. This baptism, not the outward ceremony so called, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God-this name for the great salvation now everywhere proclaimed, was the antitype of the water of the deluge—that water which, while it destroyed the world, saved, as the apostle affirms, Noah and his house. Baptism, we say, was the antitype (avritvnor—Búntiouc*) of that water which floated and defended the ark while it sub merged the earth. The antitype baptism, the great blessing which Christ, as now quickened in the Spirit, is giving to men this baptisin, saith the apostle, doth now save us--namely, those of the present generation, who, as did Noah and his house, have obeyed the warning voice of the Divine mercy. As the eight souls were saved in the ark, so we are saved by the antitype baptism, now appointed as the world's only hope. Another flood is approaching—a flood of devouring fire, which is to sweep erelong over the face of the earth, and dissolve the elements with fervent heat. In view of this overwhelming destruction, of which Noah's flood was a foreshadow, Christ, quickened in the Spirit, and exerting himself in the anointed ministers of his grace, is rousing mankind from the slumber of sin, and warning them to make their escape, and proposing to them" baptism" as the means; and they who hear his voice and fall in with his proposal, are saved from this infinite ruin, even'as they were saved from the flood, who according to the Divine premonition took refuge in the ark.
We see, then, that this great and terrible destruction, the flood of fire, was in the Apostle's thought. Christ, being quickened in the Spirit, the religious stirs and movements of the times--the developments of the saving virtue of the antitype
* See MacKnight's version. SECOND SERIES, VOL. IX. NO. Il.
Baptism, implied this : but the flood of Noah stvod in his thought, (as we have seen, and as it well might have done, from its prelusive and prefigurative relations,) associated with this other coming storm of wrath ; it was to him a proof and a pledge, that this more dreadful storm was truly coming. How natural was it, therefore, that when he thought of the one, his second thought should have been of the other; that as he beheld the evidences of Christ's being quickened in the Spirit, in the great exertions which were then made to save men from the infinite destruction then impending,* he should remember that when the first destruction was at hand, the same benevolent Being (not indeed, as now, quickened in the Spirit, not in that fulness of power which he was then displaying, yet) by the Spirit in some measure of his influences, by the same Spirit, by which he was then striving so mightily with mankind, sought, through the instrumentality of his prophet, to bring the infatuated men of that age to repentance, and so deliver them likewise ? And if it was natural for him to be reminded of this, it is not surprising that he spoke of it. There is one expression in our English translation of the
passage, which some persons, probably, would lay stress upon, as being favorable to the interpretation which we reject: “By which, he went, and preached,” etc. (nopevteis éxńqušer). But there are examples to show, both in the Scriptures and in classic authors, that no special emphasis should be given to this form of expression. Among Scriptural examples see Eph. 2: 17, “ Having abolished-the enmity-and came and preached (xai il0wv evnyyɛlioato) peace to you who were afar off, and to them who were nigh.”—“ It is certain that our Lord, after his resurrection, did not go personally to the Gentiles to preach peace to them. He preached to them by his apostles only. But if Christ is said by Paul to go and do, what he did by his apostles only, he may with equal propriety be said by Peter, to go and do, what he did by his prophet Noah.” He went and preached, is but a pleonasm, for he preached.
According to the exposition now given of this passage of Scripture, the sense and connection of it may be expressed in the following paraphrase.
* Dr. Owen thinks the Apostle's primary reference was to the approaching destruction of the Jewish Church and State, but that he also embraced in his view the destruction of the world.
Christians should not be discouraged by their sufferings on account of well-doing. No ultimate evil will come to them from these sufferings. They may convince themselves of this by considering the example of Christ. In order to save mankind, to bring us to God, he underwent the greatest extremity of suffering, having been put to death in the flesh. Yet his unparalleled sufferings were no detriment to him in respect of his great undertaking. So far from this, they were the foundation of his success: all thenceforth was life in his body the church, and the world also felt his vitalizing power. By what abundant manifestations of the Spirit, and whatglorious triumphs, hath he since then been carrying on his mighty work of saving men from that infinite wrath which is so fast coming on the world? And this reminds me, how this same mighty deliverer exerted himself by the Spirit through the ministrations of Noah, when the deluge was at hand. He then preached, by his faithful prophet, to the disobedient persons of that generation, whose disembodied spirits are now in the prison of hell, bearing the just punishment of their incorrigible impenitence. The great patience of God once waited on those unhappy persons for a long period, even one hundred and twenty years, during which time the ark was being built. The result, though small, was not an entire failure. Eight persons were saved in the ark by that water which bore it up and defended it, while it drowned all the world besides. The salvation of these few was the fruit of that same divine grace, which is now discovering itself in our deliverance from the greater wrath to come, and of which baptisin, in its signification and purport, is the compendium ;-baptism, the antitype of the water which saved the family of Noah. I do not mean the external r.te merely, but the thing thereby represented, the answer of a good conscience toward God, a conscience purified through the blood of Christ, and following its convictions in piously observing the sacramental ordinance of the Christian Church : baptism, another name for the influences and effects of Christ, as quickened in the Spirit—this antitype baptism, through the resurrection of Christ, which is the consummation of his work, and the grand proof of his redeeming virtue-baptism, I say, doth now save us from the coming eternal vengeance of God, even as Noah and his household were saved from the flood which drowned the world, by the typical ark and water.
CRITICAL NOTICES. 1.-A Residence of eight years in Persia, among the Nestorian
Christians ; with Notices of the Muhammedans. By Rev. Justin Perkins. With a Map and Plates. Andover: Allen, Morrill & Wardwell. New York: M. W. Dodd. 1843. pp.512.
We have received from Mr. Dodd this interesting volume. It can no longer be said, that missionaries are a useless set of men, that money expended on their support is wasted. For, independently of the blessing which accompanies their labors, in fitting immortal souls for an eternal home in beaven, they now stand before the world with claims on its regard for the valuable contributions they make to literature and science. 'To those, who feel little interest in the conversion of souls to God, by the regeneration of the Spirit, but much in the advancement of scientific and literary knowledge, missionaries must now appear as a class of men highly worthy of respect.
Not to mention others, here is a volume contributed to the literature of the world, of which any one might be proud to have been the author. The colored plates, originally drawn by a Persian artist, under the supervision of Mr. Perkins, are in themselves not without value as specimens of art, and as presenting before the eye the most correct delineations of the costume and features of the various classes of Persians any, where accessible to us.
No American, before Mr. Perkins, was ever a resident in the ancient country of the Nestorians; and the report he makes bas this attribute, wanting in many others, that it can be relied on with the utmost confidence. The materials for the work were collected on the ground, but in respect to their arrangement and filling out, Mr. Perkins says, I have sometimes written an hour at a public house, while waiting for a stage-coach; at other times in a cabin of a steam-boat, among scores of pas. sengers; and have often revised my manuscripts, while travelling in rail-road cars." Yet, we could not help comparing the result here accomplished with that presented in Dickens's Notes,”
,” who makes somewhat of a similar statement about his opportunities for doing his work. Whilst the latter will soon have passed away as the morning cloud, the former will live, an honor to its author and a treasure to the Christian and literary world.