IT has been thought that under the Old Testament dispensation, which had a shadow of good things to come, there were persons, as well as things, who typified our glorious Redeemer in his person, office, and grace. Among these, I have thought, Noah might be ranked and considered as a type of him.
First, in his name, rest, or comfort: Christ is the rest of his people and their comfort. To him the convinced Gentiles seek, and to them his rest is glorious. He gives rest to the weary and heavy laden sinner. He takes away slavish fear from the mind, and says to his people fear not: "Fear not, for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine." (Isa. 43:1) By the application of his blood, which cleanseth from all sin, he disburdens the conscience of guilt, and purgeth it from dead works, to serve the living God; and makes it at once, both pure and peaceable: so that it feels no condemnation. He causeth his people to rest in his free, eternal, immutable love; in his covenant, which stands as firm as his throne; in his everlasting righteousness which cannot be abolished; in his great atonement; in his full redemption; in his finished work; in his fullness of grace and truth; in his absolute promises; and in his wisdom, faithfulness, power, and all-sufficiency. This rest is enjoyed in believing: "we who have believed do enter into rest." (Heb. 4:3)
Secondly, Noah had a covenant made with him, and in this he may be viewed as a type of our Lord, with whom the covenant of grace was made by Jehovah the Father; whose language on this subject is too plain to be mistaken, and too positive to be denied: "I have made a covenant with my chosen; I have sworn unto David my servant; thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations." (Ps. 89:3,4) This is not to be understood of David, the son of Jesse; but of him who is the root and offspring of David, whose goings forth were of old, from everlasting; and who in his official character, was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. To him, as the head of the church, the promises were made; and with him the covenant of promise was established before the giving of the law; before the promise was made to Abraham; yea, before the almighty Creator stretched out the north over the empty place, and hung the earth upon nothing. This is fully demonstrated by apostolic language "according to the hope of eternal life, which God that cannot lie, promised before the world began;" (Titus 1:2) "according to his purpose and grace, given us in Christ Jesus before the world began;" (2 Tim. 1:9) "who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus;" (Eph. 1:3) "to the intent, that unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Eph. 3:10,11) These declarations all imply a covenant of an eternal date, made with Christ; because whatever the church has in him, whatever she receives from him, and whatever he has done and does for her, is in consequence of, his being given by the Father for a covenant of the people. (Isaiah 42: 6,7; 49: 8,9) This covenant is the foundation of our salvation and the immoveable basis upon which it rests; therein it is eternally secured, independent of the free-will of proud Arminians, the boasted righteousness of haughty Pharisees, and every effort of human nature.
The man who is taught of God, knows something of this covenant: "the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will shew them his covenant." (Ps. 25:14) The Holy Spirit who searches the Deep things of God, leads the mind into a spiritual knowledge of those things which were hid from ages, and discovers to the understanding, the deep laid counsels of the Most High: the hidden wisdom, which he ordained before the world to our glory.
This knowledge is accompanied with approbation of the things which are known. They are not viewed with a cold indifference, as things trivial or uncertain, but are contemplated with real affection, as things of the greatest moment, and of all others, the most conducive to the glory of God, and the happiness of man.
Knowledge and approbation are attended with affiance: "they that know thy name will put their trust in thee." The true believer stands upon the divine covenant, not as a thing precarious, but as an eternal rock. He sees that it is all his salvation, and sincerely wishes, that it may be all his desire. He looks for salvation in no other way, by no other means, than that of the holy covenant, made with his glorious representative, and fulfilled by his kind surety. Covenant love, covenant grace, covenant mercy, covenant pardon and justification, covenant peace and salvation are the joy and delight of the believing heart.
The man who places his entire dependence here, is safe. The covenant upon which he rests, is a most glorious effect of wisdom and love divine. It is ordered in all things, and sure. Nothing relative to his salvation, was omitted in its constitution nothing essential to his eternal happiness can fail all is secure. Convulsion may shake the whole creation; the heavens may vanish like smoke; the foundations of the earth may be torn asunder; all that is visible to the eye may be dissolved, end become "like the baseless fabric of a vision;" but amid all this tremendous devastation, the covenant of grace must remain unshaken: founded upon eternal immutability, and ratified and confirmed by the oath of the everlasting God, it cannot fail. I have sworn unto David my servant;" "once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David; my covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing which is gone out of my lips;" (Ps. 89:34,35) "for this is as the waters of Noah unto me; for as I have sworn, that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn, that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee; for the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed," (Isa. 54:9,10) are the positive declarations, and the precious promises of the God of truth and love. "He will ever be mindful of his covenant;" (Ps. 111:5) "he hath commanded his covenant for ever; holy and reverend is his name," (Ps. 111:9) is the language of the sweet singer of Israel, the man after God's own heart.
Now, as God will not, so man cannot break this precious covenant: for thus saith the Lord, "If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also my covenant with David my servant be broken, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites, the priests my ministers:" (Jer. 33:20,21) the royal priesthood, the peculiar people of God." If these ordinances of heaven depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. "Thus saith the Lord, if heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord." (Jer. 31:37) The fall of the elect in Adam, the depravity of their nature, the sinfulness of their lives before conversion, together with all their shameful backslidings and unfruitfulness after it, make no alteration in the everlasting covenant of the immutable eternal mind.
If, indeed, the children of the Messiah "forsake Jehovah's laws, and walk not in his judgments; if they break his statutes, and keep not his commandments, he will visit their transgressions with a rod, and their iniquities with stripes. Nevertheless, his lovingkindness will he not utterly take from him, nor suffer his faithfulness to fail." Now, as he never takes his mercy from the head, it always remains with the members; and as he is constantly faithful to him, he can never prove unfaithful to them; because he and they are for ever one.
Hence, as from a never-failing spring, or an unbounded ocean, flows abundant and strong consolation, according to the will of God. For he, "willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise, the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us." (Heb. 6:17,18) The glorious head, the beautiful order, the unshaken firmness, the precious promises, and the rich blessings of this covenant, all combine to pour spiritual delight into the children of God. Nay, even the rod, and the stripes, which are appointed in it, though they cause anguish for a season, work together for our good, and infallibly issue in our comfort. Though for the iniquity of our covetousness, he may smite us, and hide his face from us; and leave us to be tormented by our own peevishness and wrath, yet he will heal us, and restore comfort unto us. Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still; therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord." (Jer. 31:20) Mercy uses the rod, mercy numbers the stripes, mercy sanctifies the smart, and mercy heals the wound. This brings me to observe,
Thirdly, that Noah was a preacher of righteousness, and in that character a type of our great prophet and teacher. As a preacher of righteousness Christ was the subject of prophecy. David represents him as addressing the divine Father thus: I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, 0 Lord, thou knowest." (Ps. 40:9) He preached the kingdom of God, which is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. The gospel which he taught is the ministration of his righteousness: for therein his own righteousness is revealed, from faith to faith; and it was his own that he preached; of which he taught, the perfection. When he came into the world he said unto God, the Father, "Lo, I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me; I delight to do thy will, 0 my God, thy law is within my heart." (Ps. 40:7,8. One part of the Father's will was, that he should obey that law, which was in his heart: that he should obey it both in heart and life with the greatest exactness. To fulfill the law in every point, was a part of the blessed Saviour's work; a glorious and important part of what the Father, in eternity, gave him to do; and, in the fullness of time, commissioned him to perform. Upon this work his heart was inviolably fixed, before time began. As then his delights were with the sons of men, so his determination was to fulfill all righteousness for them, in those habitable parts of the earth in which he rejoiced. (Prov. 8) Oh wonderful design of love !
At the time appointed of the Father, the essential Word assumed our nature, and stood as our substitute under the law, with fixed resolution, and sufficient ability, to answer its vast, but righteous demands. (Gal. 4:4) His language to his disciples at the well of Sychar, while it expresses his delight in this amazing work, displays the perfection of his obedience: "my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." (John 4:34) It was foretold of him that he should "bring in everlasting righteousness." (Dan. 9:24)
This his Father sent him to do; and he assured his disciples that his work should be punctually performed.
He asserted that he "came not to destroy the law but to fulfill it." (Matt. 5:17) Here, I apprehend, the Saviour's chief design was, to make known the perfection of his righteousness, for the comfort and joy of his people. As if he had said unto them, "You have sinned; you have broken the law in every point, and are so debilitated through the fall of Adam, that you cannot obey, perfectly, one of the least of its commands; but think not that I am come to alter the constitution of the law, to abridge its requirements, to relax its rigor, and to accommodate it to your present state of enmity and imbecility; or that I design to nullify and lay it aside, and introduce a new and milder law, suited to your constitutions, dispositions, and tempers, which will make every allowance for your infirmities, and accept your obedience, however imperfect, if, in the performance of it, you be but sincere till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. I stand as your surety under the law, positively engaged to fulfill it. This is my design in coming into the world, and I solemnly vow, that the whole creation shall be dissolved, rather than my gracious purpose shall be frustrated, or my work left undone."
In this wonderful work of condescension and love, the great law-fulfiller met with opposition the most powerful. Earth and hell were combined in arms against him, to clash, if possible, his great design. But he in the tone of firm resolution, and with an air of God-like majesty, defied their united powers, and laughed at their hottest rage: "the Lord God will help me; therefore I shall not be confounded therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me." (Isa. 50:7,8) When therefore, the infernal powers approached him, they found nothing in him but spotless purity; when they tempted him to sin, they met with a resistance, which made them retreat in confusion; and when men attempted to impeach his conduct, he boldly challenged them to convict him of sin: "which of you convinceth me of sin?" All which serve to evince, not only that his righteousness is perfect, but also, that he did himself preach its perfection.
Moreover, he promised to send the divine Paraclete to reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment: "of righteousness, said he, because I go to the Father, and ye see me no more." Here he has attested the perfection of his righteousness, and introduced his ascension and glorification to prove the attestation true. The Father had chosen and commissioned him to fulfill all righteousness for his people; he came forth from the Father and came into the world to perform the glorious work; and the divine decree had made his ascension impossible, till his work was done. He began his obedience when he entered into the world, continued it through all the hours of his life, and concluded it with his dying breath; and then he rose and ascended to receive his reward the glory which he had with the Father before the world was. His ascension, therefore, stands as a full and everlasting proof of the perfection of his obedience to the holy law.
He taught the necessity of his righteousness except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:20) The scribes and the Pharisees were, in pretence, strict observers of the law and the traditions of the elders. They paid a particular regard to the Sabbath, gave alms, were constant in their attendance at the public worship of God, paid tithes of all that they possessed, made many and long prayers, fasted often, proceeded far in abstinence from external gross immorality, and indeed, as touching the exterior duties of the law, they were, some of them, both in their own estimation and that of others, blameless. Our Saviour himself acknowledged, that, notwithstanding their internal filth, they made the outside clean; and compared them to whitened sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful to the eye, though within they were full of rottenness, confusion, and stench. Indeed, it may be presumed, that none carried the out-works of religion to a greater height than they did. Yet, with all their fair show and fine external appearance in the public walks of profession; and notwithstanding the lofty thoughts they had of themselves, as religious characters; they had not righteousness sufficient to justify them, in the eye of divine law, and at the bar of infinite justice. Therefore, except our righteousness exceed theirs, we can not enter the kingdom of heaven. Here it may be asked, who then can be saved? Can any in the present age exceed, in righteousness, the ancient scribes and Pharisees? Perhaps not. But if they could, they would not be justified by their own personal obedience; for "by the deeds of the law no flesh living can be justified in the sight of God." (Gal. 3:11) "By grace are ye saved," not of works. The righteousness insisted upon by our Lord, is one that can raise a sinner to heaven. Now, no righteousness can do this, but one which can justify the ungodly at the flaming tribunal of Jehovah; but no righteousness can justify the ungodly before that tribunal except the personal, and all perfect righteousness of Christ himself; therefore, it was his own, and no other, upon which he insisted, as exceeding that of the scribes and Pharisees; and as absolutely necessary for our justification and glorification.
He inculcated the freeness of it. "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled." Does Jesus pronounce them blessed who hunger and thirst after righteousness of their own to justify them in the sight of God; or those, who, seeing they have no righteousness of their own, and feeling themselves totally destitute of ability to acquire one acceptable to God, and sufficient to justify them in his view, hunger and thirst after that righteousness which he has performed, and ardently desire to be justified by that only; but who, at the same time, fear they have no interest in it? Doubtless the latter; and his design was to encourage and comfort them; and also to show the freeness of his righteousness to the poor and needy, to all who in every age and nation, really desire to be found in it, by giving them a promise, most free and absolute, without a condition or the shadow of a condition, that they shall be fully and for ever satisfied with the righteousness after which they hunger and thirst.
And in the parable of the prodigal son, Christ admirably displays the absolute freeness of his righteousness. Here he brings before us a vile disobedient son, who having left his father's house, and wasted his fortune upon harlots, and in riotous living, is clothed with rags, and basely employed in feeding swine; and being, through his wickedness, ready to perish with hunger, feeds with the swine, and endeavors, but in vain, to fill his belly with husks: hunger still pinches and he despairs of life. In this forlorn and base condition, he arises and returns to his father's house, with a view of preserving a life almost extinguished by the sad effects of lewdness and other acts of intemperance. Observe, he comes with nothing to recommend him to his offended father: poverty, rags, filth, misery and wretchedness are all that he can boast. Yet he meets with a kind reception from his injured father. Behold, the tender parent sees him at a distance and runs with eagerness to meet him; not to forbid his approach; not to upbraid him with his imprudence and prodigality; but to embrace him, and give him every expression and token of reconciliation, forgiveness, and free acceptance, that is possible for parental affection, the most tender and inviolable, to give. With joy unspeakable, the father conducts his unhappy son to his habitation, where every thing needful to remove his misery and make him happy, is instantly ordered and presented unto him. Nor does his father ask him where he has been, what he has done with his money and clothes, what company he has kept, what master he has served, or how he has employed his time during his absence; but gives commandment, and a sumptuous feast is prepared, and the best robe is brought forth and put upon him, as the pure effect of parental favor and love. Hence we learn, how freely the righteousness of Christ, intended by the best robe, is imputed to the unrighteous, the unholy, the ungodly, the unworthy, without works. We should, therefore, in all our contemplations upon that righteousness, think of nothing, as our qualification for it, but our want of it, as unrighteous persons-nothing, as our title to it, but the absolute grant of it to the ungodly as such.
Fourthly, Noah was a saviour: he "built an ark to the saving of his house." And Christ is the saviour of his house, the church. His name is called Jesus, because he saves his people from their sins; from all their sins, he saves them freely, completely, eternally: sovereign and everlasting love in the breast of God the Father appointed him to be the Saviour; and the same love in his own breast induced him to undertake the high important office. On him the Father charged our guilt, original and actual; and he bore it in his body on the tree; where he suffered the just for the unjust, that he might bring them unto God; and offered himself a sacrifice of a sweet savour unto divine law and justice, to expiate completely all our crimes. And by once offering himself he has put away sin, finished transgression, and perfected for ever all them that are sanctified. We have in his blood redemption, pardon, peace, and health. His obedience justifies from all things. In him we are perfect law-fulfillers. His blood cleanseth us from all sin, and in him we stand immutably complete in righteousness, innocence, holiness, and beauty. Here the Father views us with infinite delight, and rests in his love; and here the whole church of the firstborn, are eternally secure from the awful curse of the holy law, from the tremendous frown of stern vindictive justice, and from all the burning bolts of omnipotent vengeance. Amidst the fiery deluge which will soon desolate the universe they must all stand secure and undismayed; for being "saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation," (Isa. 45:17) they shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.