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THE WORLD BEFORE
“ And God saw that the wickedness of man was
great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil
continually. “ And it repented the Lord that he had made man
on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. " And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I
have created from the face of the earth ; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them." GENESIS vi. 5-7.
WHAT a difference between the world as it came first from the hands of God, in the day when the Lord created it, and the world after it had been ruled by Satan awhile !
We read in the 1st chapter of Genesis, “And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” And now what do we read ? “ And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth.” And again, “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence, and God looked upon the earth,
and, hehold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” (verses 11, 12.) “God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions." (Eccles. vii. 29.)
Thus had men abused the long lives which God granted them on earth. Doubtless the world before the flood was far advanced in civilization. This would be a likely result of long lives. Men's minds and bodies must have been strong and vigorous to bear proportion to their long lives. Great and mighty must have been their projects, and their deeds of those days. Men had time to follow out the greatest schemes, and to bring to perfection the greatest works. Perhaps in arts and sciences, in inventions and contrivances, they were not far behind what the world has arrived at now.
But their sin increased with their knowledge, their power and their numbers. And the earth groaned with the weight of iniquity upon it. And the ill savour of its pollution went up into heaven, and brought down the vengeance of God upon it.
God has shortened mens lives since then, perhaps for this very cause, that their wickedness should not grow to such a height. But even with such short lives as we have, men are capable of great wickedness, and flesh is again corrupting his way upon the earth. And we are assured that the days when Christ comes will be like the days when the flood came. It is important for us to enquire into the source and the nature of the wickedness that then was and again shall be.
Now the first thing we learn about the wickedness of the Old World at this time, is what is related in this 6th chapter in the first two verses.
There we read that one of the principal causes of the great sin of the world, was that, those who by profession were the children of God, made marriages with those who were the ungodly in the world. “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.” We read directly after this, God began to say His “Spirit” should not always "strive with men. The expression "sons of God,” does not mean angels, for angels do not marry nor are given in marriage. Nor can it mean sons of God in any thing like the sense in which Jesus is the Son of God; but that the world was then divided into two classes, even as it is now,
the men of this world, and the children of God; the sons of Belial, and the sons of God. For a time these were kept distinct, but at the last they mingled together. Professors, but not real “sons of God,” soon appeared. Young men and young women there were, who, as they grew up, threw off the restraints of religious education, and mixed with those who were altogether worldly. The men made evil marriages. They “ took them wives, of all which they chose," they were guided in their choice only by outward appearances. They saw fair women and they chose them, not regarding their impiety, or thinking about whether they were children of God or not.
This, of course, led to great evil. The good that was in them soon vanished away. Evil communications corrupted them. It can never be otherwise. Where such unions take place, the stronger principle of evil in one party soon gets the better of the weak intentions of good in the other. And yet, how often are such unions made now. How mixed together is the professing Church and the world. Surely this is one of the proofs that as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of man." The distinction between the sons of God, and the men of this world, which ought to be very marked, is too much lost sight of. Many a young person, the
child of holy parents, distresses those parents, hurts his or her own soul, and sins against God by marrying a person simply because of fair outward circumstances. A good worldly match is all that is thought of, and that too often by the parents themselves.
Hear what the Scripture says on this subject, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness ? and what communion hath light with darkness ? and what concord hath Christ with Belial ? (2 Cor. vi. 14, 15.) Remember all professing believers are not real believers, and therefore having not necessarily “communion with Christ.” You must look for proofs of real grace in the heart of one you would be united with, or else, though no man may, God forbids the banns.
Another thing said about the evil of the Old World is this,—men resisted the Spirit of God. "And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh.” The question is, how did God's Spirit strive with man? And the answer is plain. Much as He strives with men now. He strove with men in the word preached; a word of warning, and a word of promise, if they would repent. For Noah, we are told, was