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until the harvest. There has been a retrograde movement from the beginning : throughout the entire age, men have gone from good to bad, and from bad to worse, till the generation now on the stage has plunged into the depths of depravity beyond all former generations, and are rapidly filling up the cup of their iniquity, and drawing down upon their heads those last vials which fill up the wrath of God.
“And none of the wicked shall understand." The Saviour, speaking of the antediluvians, says, “They knew not until the flood came, and took them all away.” The same principle is illustrated in the history of the cities of the plain: “They did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded, and were unconscious of their approaching doom until Lot went out of Sodom; and on the same day it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.” The same thing is exhibited in the case of that “ wicked and adulterous generation” of the Jews, that were on the earth at the first Advent of Christ; and it was in consideration of their wickedness in rejecting the light of the Gospel, and the offers of salvation, that the Son of God exclaimed, (Luke xix : 41-44,) Saying, “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the day shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee: and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another: because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”
“ But the wise shall understand.” This does not refer to such as are wise in their orin craftiness, or such
“handle the word of God deceitfully;” nor does it refer to earthly wisdom, or profound erudition in science and literature, when the heart is not sanctified to God. It is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise ? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world ? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world ? (1 Cor. i : 19, 20).
“For the Jews require a sign and the Greeks seek after wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty ; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things, which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence," (1 Cor. i: 22-29).
We have a practical development of this principle of the Divine economy in the selection which Jesus made of His disciples. In fact, it may be traced through the whole history of the Church. The entire body of believers have been characterized, (with few exceptions,) as belonging to the lower order of society. To this, the Apostle refers, (James ii : 5): “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?"
Says Paul, “ the scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation.” Says David, (Ps. iii : 10,) "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom ; and a good understanding have all they that do his commandments. In Deut. iv : 56, we read: “ Behold, I have taught you statutes, and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them, for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people."
Who cannot perceive from these quotations, that that which the Lord terms wisdom is obedience to His commandments; and that those who do His will are by Him regarded as wise? It is in reference to this class that the Angel said, “ The wise shall unılerstand.”
Says David, “ The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant,” (Ps. xxiv: 14).
Says Solomon, “Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment. Because to every purpose there is time and judgment,” (Eccl. viii: 5).
This accords with Amos, when he says, (Chap. iii : 7,) “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He
revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.” The Lord will not bring upon the world any great catastrophe without first giving prenonitions to His Church. For example; The Lord not only revealed the event, but also the time when the flood should
In Genesis vi: 3, we read : “and the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” There can be but one of two ideas expressed in this verse. 1. It must refer to the average age of man subsequently to the deluge; or, 2. To the period allotted to the generation then living, before they would be destroyed by the flood.
In relation to the former, if we turn to the chronology given in the eleventh of Genesis, we are at once convinced that this cannot be the idea intended, since the average age of man after the flood was much more than one hundred and twenty years.* Hence it must refer to the generation then living.
* Noah lived after the flood, 350 years.
The entire life of Shem was 600
(Gen. xxv:7). Isaac
180 “ (Gen. XXXV : 28). Ishmael
137 “ (Gen. xxv: 17). Jacob was 130 years old when he went into Egypt, (Gen.. xlvii :
It has been asserted by some, that we have no evidence that the time of the flood was revealed to Noah, But the Lord did inform some one, if not Noah, that man's “ days should be an hundred and twenty years," the only legitimate construction of which is, that there should be an hundred and twenty years between the announcement and the flood.
In Genesis v: 32, we read: “And Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah begat Shem, Ham and Japheth.” In Gen. vi: 1-3, we read : “ And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh : yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.”
Now, we are informed that, inasmuch as the Lord declares Noah to have been five hundred years old, (Chap. v: 32,) before the hundred and twenty years are named; and as Noah was only six hundred years old when the flood of waters came upon the earth, it follows, that the one hundred and twenty years did
3,) and lived there 17 years, (Gen. xlvii : 28,) hence, his whole life
The life of Joseph was
(Gen. 1 : 26). Levi
137 (Ex. vi : 16-20). Kohath
137 This makes an average of ages from Noah to Amram of two hundred and forty-three years, which is more than twice one hundred and twenty years.