« PreviousContinue »
rest, or refreshing; saying, This [same] shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed ; that is, fie shall free us from a great deal of toil, by inventing or improving the art r)fhusband
30 ry, and such instruments ae made it more easy. And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years»
31 and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died.
32 And Noah was five hundred years old: and after that age Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Jafihcth -was the eldest, th. x. 12. and Ham the youngest, ch. ix. 24. but Shem is fut
first, became he -was one of ChrM s forefathers, and because hi» progeny i» the firincifial subject of this history.
I. ТГ E T us be humble, as bearing the image of the earthy I j Adam, 1 Cor. xv. 49. and mourn fltat we have lost the image and likeness of God: that we are so like fallen Adam and his descendants in weakness and infirmities, in sin and death. It should grieve and shame us to think how sin hath debased our nature; and should make us peculiarly thankful for Jesus Christ, the Lord from heaven, who restores the image of God in some degree here, and will perfect it hereafter in a better world.
2. We see the vanity of human life when prolonged to its utT»ost bounds, Those patriarchs, who lived so many ages, at length died ; the sentence was executed at last, though so long delayed; Dust tliou art, and to dust thou shall rflurn. What great opportunities had they for improvement in knowledge and goodness, in arts and sciences! yet they died, and all their glory vas buried in the dust; and those of Adam's descendants, who were wicked, though they lived many hundred years, were accursed. Many days will not insure to us either holiness or hap» piness.
3. Let us be reconciled to that providence which shortens our continuance here. The days of our years are пь-и threescore year* and ten, and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet are they labour and sorroiv. What then would they be if prolonged to many centuries? It is a blessing that life is so short, considering how full of trouble and sorrow, sin and corruption, it is. Let us rejoice in the prospect of an eternal world, and live as those who look for that rest which remaincth for the people of God ¡a heaven.
4. Let us observe and acknowledge the goodness of God in translating Enoch. It was a reward for distinguished piety in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, and a strong proof of a future state and world; for none could think so good a man would perish: it is a proof of the happiness both of soul and body in another state } and (as a prophet) if he wrought no miracle* .this would be proof sufficient of his divine mission. This was one of the most instructive circumstances . that could happen to the patriarchal age. Adam, who had such mtercourse with God, was dead; Noah, who was to have those favours renewed, was not yet born ; in the middle age, when men were growing corrupt, Enoch was taken to heaven ; a circumstance that answers such noble ends, as were worthy of Cod to go out of the common way to accomplish.
5. Let us learn, like Enoch, to walk with God. This is the very essence of religion; it establishes a friendly intercourse between God and his creatures, especially in and through Jesus Christ. If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, then have we fellowship with him. He conversed with God in a friendly, grateful, and dutiful manner, and God with him. This is the most honourable, comfortable, and pleasant life we can live; and if this be our temper and conduct, we shall share in Enoch's happiness; and though we shall not be taken to heaven in so remarkable a way, yet his angels shall cany us to Abraham's bosom, and we shall dwell with God, both body and soul, for ever.
Give* an account of the general corruption of the world; God's determination to destroy the earth; and the character and' happiness of Noah.
J A N D it came to pass, when men, the posterity of Cain, Xjl began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daugh
2 ters were born unto them, That the sons of God, the Jiosterity of Seth, who were members of the church,, and professors if the true religion, but began to degenerate, saw the daughters of men, the female descendants of Cain, that they [were] fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose, without any regard to their religious characters.* The sad consequence of this was, that religion declined, and the spirit of it was almost
3 banished from the earth. And the Lord, beholding this growing degeneracy, said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, as it hath long done, by good motions, checks of conscience, good counsel and warnings from those few good men that then lived, and especially from Noah, ^ for that he also, that is, all mankind, [is] flesh, corrupt, and wholly carnal: and though he deserves a speedy destruction, .yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years ; so much longer
.4 space will I allow him for trial and repentance. Now There were giants in the earth in those days; men, who in the
• Such tmequal matches are every where condemned in scripture, eh. xxri. 35. 1 King! 3C«.J. Hera Ul. 12. Nift. xiii. 33,&c. Mj/.iuii. 1 ftr.vii. 39. 1 Cir. vi. 14.
t KsA. ix. J*. 1 Peter iii. 19, JO. a Peter ii. 5.
finde and confidence of their bodily stature; became desplsen of God and goodness, and oppressors of men; and also after that, •when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare [children] to them, the same [became] mighty men, like their fathers which [were] of old, men of renown, much admired and afiplaudedfor their stature and strength, but tyrannical persons, who filled the earth with -violence and rapine,
5 and were apostatesfrom true religion. And God saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart, all the motions and
6 inclinations of his soul, [was] only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart: Ac acted as men do when they repent, teho alter the course of their actions; so God changed the method of his proceedings, and the disposal of affairs and events.
1 And the Lord said, I will surely 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.*
8 But Noah, who continued pure amidst this crooked generation^ found grace in the eyes of the Lord, so as to be eminently dis
9 tinguished by him. These [are] the generations of Noah, hi» posterity and the events that befd him and them: as to Noah himself, he was a just man [and] perfect, upright, and unblameable, in his generations, [and] Noahf tike his ancestor Enoch,
ÎO walked with God. And Noah, as -was before observed, begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth ; of-whom a more particular account mill afterwards be given.' And noto the time for exe
4 1 cuting the divine threatenings drew near. The earth also wa* exceedingly corrupt before God, sinning openly and presumptuously, without any fear of him; and the earth was filled with
12 violence, injustice and oppression. And God looked upon the earth with pity; unwilling to proceed to severity till there was absolute necessity; and, behold it was now universally corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth,
13 except Noah and his family. And God at length revealed hi» awful but righteous purpose, and said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me, the time of their destruction is at hand; For the earth is filled with violence through them who inhabit it; and, behold, I will destroy them with the beasts and
fruits с/" the earth, and all tlûngs made for man's use.
14 But I will preserve thee and thy family; therefore Mak« thee an ark of gopher wood, cedar, or rather cypress ;t rooms, or apartments of several stories for different pHrjioses, shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch ; with bitumen, a kind of liquid pitch common in the
* An expression adapted to our cap scity, to note God's detestation of fin, and his resolution to ponish it, after that man bad made himself quit* another tiling than God made lint
t Of this great quantities grew about Babylon, near which place the ark was built: «nis wood it Incorruptible; so that the remains of the ark might turc beeu нсп ¡л Jt«(iuu»'» "we, -a he and others lay it w*i. By, ffilitn.
15 east, to make it water proof and swim the easier. And this [is the fashion] and size which thou shalt make.it [of:] The length of the ark [shall be] three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits; about one hundred andfifty yards long, twenty five broad, and fifteen yards
16 high* A window shalt thou make to the ark, probably the whole length of it, and in a cubit thou shalt finish it above, making the covering to rise on the top half a yard, to throw off the ram; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; [with] lower, second, and third [stories] shalt thou make
17 it. And, behold, I, even I, the maker and ruler of the world, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein [is] the breath of life, from under heaven ; [and] every thing that [is] in the earth shall die, but what is
18 preserved in the ark. But with thee, my faithful servant, will I establish my covenant for thy preservation; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou and thy sons, and thy wife, and
19 thy sons'wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every [sort] at least, shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep [them] alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every .creeping thing of the earth after his kind ; and I will order it so, that two of every [sort] shall, by a kind of instinct, come
21 unto thee, to keep [them] alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather [it] to thee in sufficient quantities; and it shall be for food for thee* and for
22 them. Thus did Noah, who exercised faith in the divine threatenings; according to all that God commanded him, so did he, notwithstanding the scoffs of a wicked and unbelieving world.
1. O E E the fatal consequence of unequal marriages, which 1^ brought these dreadful corruptions into the world. One would have thought theee sons of God, these descendants of pious ancestors, should have minded something more than beauty in the face ; that they would have been solicitous about grace in the heart; but it was not so. This is one great cause why corrup-. tion so much prevails in the world at this day; and there is, perhaps, no instance in which good men and women have shown
• tome unbelievers have objected, that there was not room In such a vessel for all the beasts and birds, and their provision'"; but Bp. H'itkini has proved there wns; and that a. first rate man of war would be capticious enough for the purpose. The original specit s of beasts and birds were but few ; fishes are excepted. It appea/s to me that this account of the ark confirms the truth of scripture ; for its proportions are well adjusted; whereat, had it been of human invention, or a Jewish tale, it would have been represented, according: tn our confused notion of things at first view, abundantly too large ; but it w»? * suitable •ire. done with Math and judgment.
their weakness and imprudence more, than in choosing those, for companions in life who are only fair or rich, while they have overlooked the ornaments of wisdom and grace; nothing by which parents have more discovered their love of the world, and little regard for the true Welfare of their children, than in contriving and encouraging such matches only, as are founded on external endowments. The lesson from the whole is, be nut unei/ually yoked; choose such as fear God; and form alliances with none but. the sun» and daughters of the Lord Almighty / ,
2. Let us admire the patience of God, which bore so long with a wicked world, namely, one hundred and twenty years. He had given them warning before, by Enoch and others ; yet he renews it, and retracts the sentence so many years. How unwilling was he to execute vengeance! He bore long, gave them space to repent, and sent Noah to preach to them and warn them of their ruin. The building of the ark was a continued sermon; yet they remained incorrigible.:
3. See what a dreadful tiling it is to grieve the spirit of God, which will not always strive with men ; there is a limited time; if its motions are checked and its kind influences despised, it will withdraw ; and, if it withdraws, then men are sealed up under wrath and a curse. Therefore quench not the spirit ; attend to its sacred motions, seek its influences, follow its leadings, that you may be the children of God, and sealed by it, not to wrath, but to the day of redemption.
4. Let us be humbled under the present degeneracy of human nature, and grieved to think that this character so well suits us, and that our imaginations are so often evil. Perhaps there never was a time when it might more justly be said of the Christian world, that it was corrupt before God, and ßlled with violence. Let us be humbled that there is such pride, lust, and carnality in the minds of men, and guard against those passions in our own.
5. Let us thankfully acknowledge God's grace and mercy in saving a remnant from intended destruction: that he did not destroy every inhabitant of the earth, and blot it out from among the works of his hands. This is a mercy we should be thankful for, and especially that in the new world where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Once more,
6. God's singular favour to Noah is a strong argument in favour of singular piety in a degenerate day. His building the ark •was an instance of his piety, and a proof of the sincerity of his faith ; thus he became hñr of the righteousness -which is by faith. He had truth on his side, though numbers were on the other side. He not only was good, but did good. He did not confine his truth and goodness to himself, but showed it to others. It is the sign of a great soul, for a man to retain his integrity in the •midst of public corruption. Thus did Noah. Let us do likewise; not follow multitudes to do evil, but distinguish ourselves by piety and goodness; and Cod will remarkably distinguish us by his
Vol. I. E