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Seth was born, seems to represent as though there were great numbers of men on the earth : Gen. iv. 14, 15. “Behold thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth : And from thy face shall I be hid, and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth ; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any, finding him, should kill him.” And all those that were then in being when Seth was born, must be supposed then to stand in equal capacity of multiplying their posterity with him ; and therefore, as I said before, Seth's posterity were but a small part of the inhabitants of the world. But after the days of Enos and Enoch, (for Enoch was translated before Enos died ;) I say, after their days, the church of God greatly diminished, in proportion as multitudes that were of the line of Seth, and had been born in the church of God, fell away, and joined with the wicked world, principally by means of intermarriages with them; as Gen. vi. 1, 2, and 4. “And 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......There were giants in the earth in those days; 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, which were of old, men of renown.” By the sons of God here, are doubtless meant the children of the church. It is a denomination often given them in scripture. They intermarried with the wicked world, and so had their hearts led away from God; and there was a great and continual defection from the church. And the church of God, that used to be a restraint on the wicked world, diminished exceedingly, and so wickedness went on without restraint. And Satan, that old serpent, the devil, that tempted our first parents, and set up himself as God of this world, raged exceedingly; and every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil continually, and the earth was filled with violence. It seemed to be deluged with wickedness now, as it was with water afterwards : And mankind in general were drowned in this deluge; almost all were swallowed up in it. And now Satan made a most violent and potent attempt to swallow up the church of God; and had almost done it. But yet God restored it in the midst of all this flood of wickedness and violence. He kept it up in that line of which Christ was to proceed. He would not suffer it to be destroyed, for a blessing was in it. The Lord the Redeemer was in this branch of mankind, and was afterwards to proceed from it. There was a particular family that was a root in which the great Redeemer of the world was, and whence the branch of righteousness was afterwards to shoot forth. And therefore, however the branches were lopped off, and the tree seemed to be destroyed; yet God, in the midst of all this, kept alive this root, by his wonderful redeeming power and grace, so that the gates of hell could not prevail againstit. Thus I have shown how God carried on the great affair of redemption ; how the building went on that God began after the fall, during this first period of the times of the Old Testament, viz. from the fall of man, till God brought the flood on the earth. And I would take notice upon it, that though the history which Moses gives of the great works of God during that space be very short; yet it is exceeding comprehensive and instructive. And it may also be profitable for us here to observe, the efficacy of that purchase of redemption that had such great effects even in the old world so many ages before Christ appeared himself to purchase redemption, that
his blood should have such great-efficacy so long before it was shed.
From the Flood to the Calling of Abraham.
I PROCEED now to show how the same work was carried en through the second heriod of the Old Testament, that from
the beginning of the flood till the calling of Abraham: For though that mighty, overflowing, universal deluge of waters overthrew the world ; yet it did not overthrow this building of God, the work of redemption. But this went on yet; and inStead of being overthrown, continued to be built up, and was carried on to a further preparation for the great Saviour's coming into the world, and working out redemption for his people. And here, I. The flood itself was a work of God that belonged to this great affair, and tended to promote it. All the great and mighty works of God from the fall of man to the end of the world, are reducible to this work, and, if seen in a right view of them, will appear as parts of it, and so many steps that God has taken in order to it, or as carrying it on ; and doubtless so great a work, so remarkable and universal a catastrophe, as ‘the deluge was, cannot be excepted. It was a work that God wrought in order to it, as thereby God removed out of the way the enemies and obstacles of it, that were ready to overthrow it. Satan seems to have been in a dreadful rage just before the flood, and his rage then doubtless was, as it always has been, chiefly against the church of God to overthrow it; and he had filled the earth with violence and rage against it. He had drawn over almost all the world to be on his side, and they Histed under his banner against Christ and his church. We 4:ead, that the earth “ was filled with violence ;” and doubtless that violence was chiefly against the church, in fulfilment +9f what was foretold, I will flut emmity between thy seed and her seed. And their enmity and violence was so great, and the enemies of the church so numerous, the whole world being against the church, that it was come to the last extremity. Noah's reproofs, and his preaching of righteousness, were utterly disregarded. God’s spirit had striven with them an hundred and twenty years, and all in vain ; and the church was almost swallowed up. It seems to have been reduced to to narrow himits, as to be confined to one family. And there was no prospect of anything else but of their totally swallow#ng up the church, and that in a very little time ; and so
wholly destroying that small root that had the blessing in it, or whence the Redeemer was to proceed. And therefore God's destroying those enemies of the ehurch by the flood, belongs to this affair of redemption : For it was one thing that was done in fulfilment of the covenant of grace, as it was revealed to Adam : “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed, it shall bruise thy head.” This destruction was only a destruction of the seed of the serpent, in the midst of their most violent rage against the seed of the woman, and so delivering the seed of the woman from them, when in utmost peril by them. We read of scarce any great destructions of nations any where in Scripture, but that one main reason given for it is, their enmity and injuries against God's Church : And doubtless this was one main reason of the destruction of all nations by the flood. The giants that were in those days, in all likelihood, got themselves their renown by their great exploits against Heaven, and against Christ and his Church, the remaining sons of God that had not corrupted themselves. We read that just before the world shall be destroyed by fire, the nations that are in the four quarters of the earth, shall gather together against the church as the sand of the sea, and shall go up on the breadth of the earth, and compass the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city ; and then fire shall come down from God out of heaven, and devour them, Rev. xx. 8, 9. And it seems as though there was that which was very parallel to it, just before the world was destroyed by water. And therefore their destruction was a work of God that did as much belong to the work of redemption, as the destruction of the Egyptians belonged to the redemption of the children of Israel out of Egypt, or as the destruction of Sennacherib's mighty army, that had compassed about Jerusalem to destroy it, belonged to God's redemption of that city from them. - By means of this flood, all the enemies of God’s church, against whom that little handful had no strength, were swept off at once. God took their part, and appeared for them against their enemies, and drowned those of whom they had been afraid in the flood of water, as he drowned the enemies. of Israel that pursued them, in the Red Sea. Indeed God could have taken other methods to deliver his church : He could have converted all the world instead of drowning it; and so he could have taken another method than drowning the Egyptians in the Red Sea. But that is no argument, that the method that he did take, was not a method to show his redeeming mercy to them. By the wicked world’s being drowned, the wicked, the enemies of God’s people, were dispossessed of the earth, and the whole earth given to Noah and his family to possess in quiet ; as God made room for the Israelites in Canaan, by casting out their enemies from before them. And God’s thus taking the possession of the enemies of the church, and giving it all to his church, was agreeable to that promise of the covenant of grace : Psal. xxxvii. 9, 10, 11. “For evil doers shall be cut off; but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall not be ; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” II. Another thing here belonging to the same work, was God’s so wonderfully preserving that family of which the Redeemer was to proceed, when all the rest of the world was drowned. God's drowning the world, and saving Woah and his family, both were works reducible to this great work. The saving Noah and his family belonged to it two ways. As that family was the family of which the Redeemer was to proceed, and as that family was the church that he had redeemed, it was the mystical body of Christ that was there saved. The manner of God’s saving those persons, when all the world besides was so overthrown, was very wonderful and remarkable. It was a wonderful and remarkable type of the redemption of Christ, of that redemption that is sealed by the baptism of water, and is so spoken of in the New Testament, as 1 Pet. iii. 20, 21. “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is,