Its beauty is unsurpassed; a spectrum of the seven prismatic colors obtained from the perfect prism. The necessary conditions to produce it are, a dark background, a prism and a ray of light. It is thought by some that the conditions to produce a rainbow did not exist before the flood. Whether this be true or not, can only interest the men of science. The believer in the truth of God is willing and glad to take a “thus saith the Lord” for every condition in nature and in grace. There is no discrepancy at any time between the truth in the science of natural things, and the truth of holy writ; they harmonize always. God uses natural things to present spiritual at such times as it pleaseth him, and as is necessary for our enlightenment and our comfort in the gospel. Inasmuch as God is not a creature, and the people to whom he has sent the Scriptures are not creatures of time, (but subjects of faith,) God could say at any time between the beginning and the end of time, “I do set my bow in the cloud,” and it would not conflict in any way with scientific facts existing before or after, and we cannot necessarily infer that a rainbow was not seen before the flood, on the strength of such declaration; but we can say that the nations of the earth have never been in sufficient trepidation of a second deluge, to give us cause to believe that God’s promise was given to them as a solace to their fears, but the promise was to his chosen people to show unto them wondrous things in righteousness. Neither do the people to whom this promise was sent regard the promise in a natural sense, which says: “Neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood, neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth,” but by faith they see the promise of God, concerning the flood, fulfilled in their experience. After a lapse of more than sixteen hundred years, in the course of time, it pleased the Lord in his infinite wisdom to destroy every living thing from off the face of the earth, (save eight souls, and a sufficient number of living creatures to preserve the seed of their kind,) after which he established his covenant with the man (Noah) and his sons, and with every living creature that came out of the ark; and he gave them a token, saying, “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth,” “And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.” Through faith Noah was saved by the same waters which destroyed the rest of mankind, (save his own house). In him the covenant (or promise) was established. An hundred years did Noah labor in the building of the ark, thus becoming a preacher of righteousness, he endured the jibes and sneers of the ungodly as they laughed him to scorn in the progress of his work, and when the time had fully come, he and his family passed into the ark. “And the Lord shut him in.” So also, in the antitype, the church of Christ is saved by grace, through faith, hidden (shut in) from an ungodly world, in Christ Jesus, the Ark of safety, who is that covenant which God established with his church (Noah), and of whom it is declared: “Whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” How perfectly the wisdom of God is made manifest to the children of men, through faith, in every age of the world. All created things fulfill and accomplish the work which was ordained for them by the wise Creator; nothing was created in vain. Even from the infinitesimal to the great, each created thing fills his little niche in the economy, both of nature and grace, for surely there is nothing in all God’s handiwork in nature but has its antitype in the spiritual world.
“And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it.” Please carefully notice the reading of this Scripture. God does not say that you may look upon it and remember my promise to you, but that he would himself look upon it, that he might remember. When Jesus was baptized the voice of God came down from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” When do we see the bow in the cloud? After the storm, when the beating rain has ceased and the dark cloud has passed over, leaving a black background in the east, a little sprinkle of refreshing rain drops from the lightened edge of the disappearing cloud, with the sun shining in the west, the sun’s rays piercing the transparent globules, breaking up the prism into its seven beautiful colors, and printing them upon the dark canvas beyond. This completes the picture which holds the enraptured eye of the onlooker, and God from eternity’s heights, his holy mountain, looks down upon this entrancing scene, and remembers the everlasting covenant which he made with all living. Now let us glance at the antitype in the spiritual firmament. In Zion the discouraged pilgrim is wending his weary I way, the dark clouds have gathered thick about him; he is famishing for thirst, and there is no water; he is hungry, but the heavenly manna is not; the little hope that he had yesterday seems almost gone; his doubts and fears have gathered thick about him; with the psalmist he cries, “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well high slipped.” In doleful echo his heart whispers, Surely I am deceived, and I have deceived those whom I so dearly love, woe is me. Remembering past mercies, his soul takes up the song of the night, “Will the Lord cast off forever? and will he be favorable no more? Is his mercy clean gone forever? doth his promise fail forevermore?” He feels that for him it were better had he never been born. The storm increases; he sees nothing but destruction before him; he. faints and falls by the wayside; he exclaims with one of old, “All thy billows and thy waves passed over me.” With sorrow he feels that this is the end; when he thought good should come unto him, behold evil became his portion, and adversity came upon him from every side; but when he is down at the bottom of the mountains, ready to give up, he feels a little thrill, (as of rain drops) a refreshing from the Lord; he looks up, the dark clouds are passing, the light breaks in upon him and he rejoices again in arisen, living Savior; and now instinctively he looks upon the face of nature, and his eye rests upon the bow in the cloud, and he remembers God’s promise, his everlasting covenant; his heart echoes the glad cry: My dear Redeemer liveth, he is the promise, the covenant, the blessing, praise God from whom all blessings How. When in retrospect we look back over the days and nights of the Christian journey, what do we see? A life of ease and pleasure, with no stumbling or obstacles? No indeed, but we see a thorny way, a rough road and stony, made up of long, dark valleys, and shorter hills, with little scintillation of brightness at the top; a life made up of conflicts, yet, to be seen is a scarlet line in the window, promising deliverance and safety, from the divine power that is able to deliver. Who would exchange this life of hardships and suffering for a life of ease and pleasure in the world! Not one of the blood-bought throng, no, not one. Then let us sing the songs of Zion, and rehearse the blessings of the Lord, one to another, with glad voices and hopeful anthems.
B. F. COULTER.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 72., No. 16
AUGUST 15, 1904.