The Ark Christ

Minimally edited from “Sacramental Meditation I”
John Willison, Practical Works (London: Blackie & Son, 1844), 243-4

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7)

Though the flood that drowned the old world, was at many year’s distance, yet Noah was moved with fear at God’s warning him of it, and prepared an Ark for his safety. And shall not unconverted, unbelieving sinners, who have a far more terrible flood threatened against them, and may only be a few days distant, take warning, and provide with all speed for their safety? Oh shall I, a wretched, guilty sinner, take rest, while I am within the flood-marks of God’s wrath, and not arise in time to provide an Ark to flee for my safety? But, O good news, I have not the Ark to provide it is prepared to my hand. God, in his infinite wisdom and pity, hath made ready an Ark long ago for lost sinners of Adam’s race to flee to; and now is completely furnished and finished, and all things are ready, so that I have nothing to do but go and take possession.

O what had become of me, and other perishing sinners, had we the Ark to build ourselves? Nay, the whole creation had not been able or sufficient for this purpose. How soon would the raging flood of divine wrath sweep away all the arks of men or angels’ building! But thanks be unto God forever, for the excellent well built Ark of God’s devising, for the many spacious rooms and safe lodging-places within it, for the suitable accommodation and plentiful provision laid up therein, and for the door opened in the side thereof for perishing souls to enter by. The salvation of sinners by a crucified Christ is a well-ordered scheme, a beautiful contrivance! Blessed be the infinitely wise Contriver for it. I see all things in Christ crucified necessary for me: He is made of God to men, “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” There is in him infinite wisdom to guide me, a spotless righteousness to cover me, precious blood to wash me, the Holy Spirit to sanctify me, his good word to direct me, his just laws to govern me, and his infinite fullness to supply all my needs. Safe and happy then would I be, were I found in him. O that, upon trial by scripture marks, I could conclude myself to be within the Ark, to wit, a Crucified Jesus.

Can I say, I have been warned of God, and moved with fear to fly to this Ark? Have I discovered my shelterless state by nature, the waves and billows of wrath rising and rolling against me?

Have I seen my own inability to provide an Ark for myself, and the excellency and fitness of the Ark of God’s providing? Have I been made willing to abandon all false arks, and earnestly inquisitive how to get into the true Ark? Have I been made willing to use all appointed means for this end, to read, hear, meditate, pray, repent, believe, assay to climb up the sides of the Ark, and press to get in at the door thereof? Have I been willing to venture my all in the Ark, like Noah notwithstanding the discouragements, scoffs and hatred of the world for so doing? Have I willingly acquiesced, sheltered, and lodged my soul in God’s Ark, and been made to say, “This is my rest for ever, here will I dwell.” Come what floods will, Christ shall be my Ark, his righteousness alone my refuge and hiding- place.

Alas! upon impartial search, have I no cause to fear that I have not yet fled to the Ark, but am still exposed to the devouring flood? And can I be easy or quiet in such a case? Can I forbear crying, What shall I do to get into the Ark Christ? Nay, What would I not do to get into it? Lord, what would thou have me to do? Wouldst thou have me to humble myself, confess, mourn, part with sin, close with Christ in all his offices? Prescribe, Lord, what thou wilt, I will not scruple what thou enjoinest me, but obey thee without reserve. I am resolved upon it, whatever it cost me, that the solicitations of the flesh, the temptations of Satan, the scoffs, reproaches, or persecutions of the world, shall not stop me from flying to the Ark; I would break through all these to be found in it. Lord, increase and strengthen my faith for that end; and help my unbelief.

O how suitable is the Ark Christ to my destitute and miserable condition. In myself I want all things, but I see a supply for all my wants in the Ark. I am poor but I see gold in the Ark to make me rich. I am wounded by sin, but I see balm in the Ark to heal my wounds. I am blind, but there is eye-salve in the Ark to make me see. I am perishing with hunger, but I see bread in the Ark to satisfy me. I am naked, but in the Ark there is white raiment to clothe me. I am polluted, but in the Ark there is a fountain to wash me. I am exposed to more terrible floods than Noah was, but I see the Ark Christ can save me from them all. Noah’s ark saved him only from a flood of water, but the Ark Christ saves from a flood of the curses of the law, and the wrath of God, which will sweep away all the unbelieving world. This flood rose, swelled high, and dashed furiously against our Ark; but the Ark was proof against it, and sheltered all the elect world from the flood; so that not one drop lighted on them. O how excellent is this Ark! for it can save me from being overwhelmed or carried away with any flood, and particularly it can save me from being carried away with a flood of Satan’s temptations, which sweeps away many; or with a flood of indwelling corruption; with a flood of error; with a flood of profanity; or with a flood of neutrality and indifferency about spiritual concerns: by which floods multitudes are destroyed. Let me then by faith fly to this blessed Ark, where all believers are preserved from these destroying floods. Behold I run, I fly: May Jesus draw me, and help me in.

Blessed forever be the God of heaven, for providing such an Ark for fallen sinners upon earth. I desire to count all things but loss and dung, that I may be found in this Ark, among the preserved in Christ Jesus, whom no flood can reach. However this Ark be slighted by the world, I will prize it above all things, and count them for ever happy who get into it, seeing God declares it, that there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. The Ark was slighted by the old world, and Noah ridiculed for preparing it for himself and his house; but it soon appeared that Noah was the wisest man that then lived upon the earth. Few there were who entered with Noah into the Ark, and no doubt were reproached and mocked for their singularity; but soon was the world persuaded that they were the only wise and happy men in it. Better surely it was to have followed the eight persons that went into the Ark, than to have joined eight millions of those who were drowned in the flood. Should I be so foolish as to follow the old world in undervaluing the Ark, I must lay my account to be shut out and perish with them too: Wherefore, I will not fear the reproach of men for being singular in my esteem of glorious Christ. May I be numbered among that happy company, however few they be, who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, and will bless God eternally for providing this Ark for drowning men! May I be one that will ever bless my lovely and loving Jesus, that pitied me and took me in, when others were washed off from the sides of the Ark, as adhering only to it by a dead and formal profession! May I be one that will ever sing to his praise, O amazing free love! that pitied and distinguished me when the flood came; that graciously drew and determined me in such a manner, that I got into the Ark and was safe, when many others were washed off and perished for ever!

—JJ Lim