Page images

eins brother, have ever since wandered as vagabonds and outcasts from God's house.

After Abel's death, God gave Adam another son, whom he called Seth, that is, appointed, viz. to fill up. Abel's room, as the representative and progenitor of the seed of the woman.

Men now began to associate in publicly calling on the name Jehovah.

Chap. V. - The generation of Adam, in this chaptet, means, a genealogical account of his descendants; but it is confined to the line of Seth, or those among whom the calling on the name JEHOVAH was maintained. Of all this genealogy, Enoch is the most remarkable, He walked with God, or in faith,. Heb. xi. 5, 6. God communi. cated to him the spirit of prophecy: one of the most remarkable of these prophecies, Jude quotes, verse 14. of his epistle. It is very possible that this prophecy has an immediate aspect to the judgment of the flood, which was a figure of the last judgment. What renders this probable, is, that the name he gave his son, Methuselah, is plainly applicable to that event; and Methuselab died the year in which the flood came. Enoch is called the seventh from Adam, be. cause he was a figure of what shall take place with all God's faith. ful elect, who shall be alive when his seventh millennium commences; they shall be changed and translated, without tasting death, as Enoch was.

There is another circumstance, which makes it probable that the divine judgment by the flood of waters had been foretold by Enoch's prophecy. When Noah was born, his father gave him that name, Noah, signifying rest, or comfort, prophetically alluding to him to give rest or comfort as to the curse of God threatened upon the earth. We accordingly find, that God's covenant with Noah had a particular respect to the ground which God had cursed. We may here observe farther, that Noah was an eminent type of Christ in several respects : 1. His name points him out as a figure of the true comforter and rest of his people ; Christ is expressly called Noah, in Isai xxviii. 12. 2. In the prophetic joy at his birth. 3. Lamech gave him his name, foreseeing that he would be a deliverer from the curse of God. We might mention various other respects, but they will fall more properly to be afterwards noticed.

CHÀP. VI. There have been two views taken of the 1st and 2d verses of this chapter ; none of them unscriptural: we shall theres fore leave our readers to their own determination. Some consider the sons of God here, to be the seed of the woman, among whom the worship of God was maintained; and that their taking the daughters of men in marriage, alludes to that intercommunity, both in com. mon life and religion, which has, in all ages, defiled the church of God. In like manner, when Ezra was reforming Israel, after the captivity, we find their marrying with the daughters of the land was considered to be a great iniquity. Now therefore,' says Ezra, • make confession unto the Lord God of your fathers, and separate # yourselves from the people of the land, and from your strange * wives," "Ezra x. 10, 11. Others think, that as the term sons of God, is frequently applied to rulers and magistrates, the text implies, that those of the higher rank, and in power, took daughters of the lower ·class by force. We rather incline to the former view, as the passage : seems to stand connected with My spirit shall not always strive • with man; for that he also is flesh, yet his days shall be one hun. • dred and twenty years.' This passage is entitled to very particular -attention. The spirit here spoken of, must be that spirit of Christ, which testified of his sufferings and following glory. This is clearly that spirit, • by which' (says Peter) Christ went and preached to * the spirits in prison ;' that is, to those who were devoted to judgment by the flood. This spirit spake either by direct revelation, or by the spirit of prophecy, as we have already seen. Noah himself was a preacher; and no doubt was influenced by the spirit, in his doctrine. Now this spirit strove with man, because : that he also is • flesh,' or under the dominion of the fleshly mind; that carnality, which Paul says is enmity with God. It is that fleshly mind, which put Christ to death, and which is opposed to the spirit, by which he was raised from the dead. An end was to be put to this strife against the spirit of God, by divine judgment upon the woíld of the ungodly; yet long-suffering mercy was to wait one hundred and twenty years. Well may it be said, that · as it was in the days of • Noah, so is it now. The flesh in all ages has lusted against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, but never more remarkably than in the present day; and truly may we add, that although justice delays, she is not asleep. When the one hundred and twenty years of mercy were ended, the flood came, and that while they knew not. God's appointed time of long-suffering will draw to an end; his spirit will not always strive ; the hour of vengeance is at hand! We are next told, that their were giants in the earth in those days, in consequence of the connection between the sons of God and daughters of men. Here we have another key to the nature of that connection. Rephaim, the word in the original translated giants, means any thing monstrous or horrid, either as to stature, oppres. sion, or wickedness, It is in fact that which is disagreeably overgrown. Now, the fruit of that ungodly connection was a race of monstrous giants in rapacity, violence, of wickedness; and thus it is added, that • God saw the wickedness of man that it was great in ! the earth ;' and the complete destruction and overthrow of the world and its inhabitants is denounced in consequence.

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord; he was a just man, and perfect, and walked with God.' We are now called to a more particular investigation of Noah's character, which is here most briefly, but forcibly drawn. If we are to understand just and perfect here, as blameless in point of sin, and perfect in holiness, (as some talk.) such a character needed not to find grace, which only respects the guilty. Again, Noah was a preacher of the divine righteous. ness, which in all ages has been the righteousness of our God and Saviour, who is just, and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus. Noah was a jusi man; finding justification through the atonement #hich he preached; and the nature of which he illustrated by the ärk, which he was then preparing; and by which he condemned the world that then was. He thus found his conscience made perfect and walking in communion with God, believing in his salvation, he rejoiced in hope of the glory of God.

We next find a more particular account of the thteatened judge ment by a food of water, which was to destroy all animated creation ; the few, that is, eight souls, who were to be saved from this ävater, excepted. Noah is directed to prepare an ark; the materials and dimensions of which are accurately laid down; and God promised that his covenant, viz. the promised Messiah; should be estas blished with him and his family, for which purpose they were to be preserved from the general destruction. In all this, the New Testament scriptures assure us, there was a figure to the world at that time, and an instructive one to us now, of the great salvation in which his people shall share, when God's final judgment against the world of the ungodly shall be executed. Blessed are they, who in in the day of God's furious blast, rain and tempest, shall find shelter in the true ark of God; that man; who shall be the only hiding place from that storm.

CHAP. Vit. This chapter contains an account of the entrance of Noah and his family into the ark, and of the deluge which im. mediately followed. The following things appear remarkable : As to Noah, he eminentis prefigures Jesus Christ, not only in the particulars mentioned formerly, but also, 1. As the head of a new generation; the whole succeeding race of mankind spring from Noah, as the deliverer from wrath. 2. His family entering the ark of sale vation, because God said to Noah, • Thee have I seen righteous be• fore me,' is a remarkable representation of the ground of the salva : tion of the whole church of God, which shall be eternally saved, as connected with Noah's great antitype the Son of God, in whose righteousness the Father is well pleased. Noah was a preacher, and gave the last solemn warning to the old world. Last of all, God sent his own Son to preach to the Jews. He is the great Prophet and Teacher of his church, whom the Father anointed to preach good tidings. Noah was also a priest, and offered sacrifice after the flood, in which God smelled a savour of rest; in this he prefigured him that was to come, who offered himself to God, a sweet-smelling sa: crifice.

It is remarkable from verse 2. thać the distinction between clean and unclean animals was then revealed ; indeed, of the whole Mosaic ritual, it may be said, that it was not only of Moses, but of the fathers. The law of Moses seems in a great degree to be nothing else, but as regularly digesting, and more fully extending, those doctrines and institutions, which had been revealed to the fathers. The vision which Peter had, recorded Acts X. gives an infallible key to the de: sign of these distinctions. No creature of God is unclean of itself, but he, in infinite wisdom, instituted these distinctions, to point forth


the purity of the Christian communion; or the difference SeiTVEETE the sons of God,' and the giants.' The attentive reader will find: important edification, by attending to the numbers and periods in this: shapter. 1. . After seven days I will bring a flood upon the earth.” The seven days behoved to be completed before the flood came, and the seven days of the new creation will be complete before God's final judgment shall be executed. 12. The flood continued forty. days, during which time, the church of Christ was tossed on the waves; corresponding with the forty years Israel wandered in the. wilderness; the forty days of Elijah's fast; the forty years of David's. tossed afflicted reign; previous to the peaceable kingdom of Solomon, the son of rest; the forty days of our Saviour's temptation in the: wilderness; the forty days he went out and in among his disciples Before he was taken up from among them; and many-similar typical Periods. 3. Noah lived' six hundred years, and in the six hundred and first entered into the ark So shall the church of God subsist six thousand years, and in the six thousand and first year, shall the family of Noah find rest on the mountain of Ararat ; for we are told, chapter viïi. 13. It came to pass, in the six hundred and first year,

in the first month, and first day of the month, Noah removed the covering of the ark,' &c. Was this written to make us chronolo. gers ? No: It was written, that * we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Let every map judge for him. self: the writer of these thoughts may appear singular in his views, but he feels a firm and confident' persuasion, that the six days, six. sevens, six centuries, and six thousand years of the church's worldly du. ration being finished, on the first day of the following period, very. early in the morning, as it dawns to the last Sabbatism, Noah's. whole family, the spiritual house of Christ, shall enter into rest, and the covering spread over the face of all flesh shall be removed. It is not improbable, that as the flood came towards the end of the six, hundredth year of Noah, so at the end of the sixth millennium, the church shall experience what Daniel callsa time of trouble, such

as never was, since there was a nation upon the earth.' This period. is elsewhere called the days of vengeance ;' and of them it is said, "that except these days were shortened, no flesh could be saved, but: 6 for the elect's sake these days shall be shortened.?

CHAP VIH. This chapter relates more patieularly, the continuance of the flood, the drying of the earth, Noah's coming out, and his offering Having in our remarks on the preceding chapter anticipated what would chiefly fall to be noticed liere, we shall only adder that some have supposed, and perhaps justly, something typical is to be understood from Noah's two messengers; the raven and dove. The former, it has been supposed, refers to the old raven, Satan, who went abroad upon the face of the earth, and returned not. This however does not appear so clear, as that the dove is an emblem of the Spirit of God, and his returning with the olive leaf is a sign of that peace, which is the fruit, the glad message of the Spirit of God.. Noah's altar is the first we read of ip scripture; but it is not men

itioned as the consequence of a new revelation :'it is probable, that from the very first introduction of sacrifice, altars were erected. Clean animals only were sacrificed; which plainly shews, that, from the first, they were acquainted with the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ, whose hands were clean, and his heart pure.

Chap. IX.-God having withdrawn his judgment from the earth, gives man a renewed right to all the privileges which Adam "enjoyed: he pronounces his blessing on Noah, and his sons, and gives "them the grant of animal fooil, which does not appear to have been premitted before. It is however with a restriction as to the blood, a restriction which has never yet been nullified. The same tenure hý which we hold the grant of eating the flesh of brutes, forbids eating with blood. The prohibition was renewed in the 'law of Moses, -when God says,

• I will face against that man who eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. Moses give's 'the reason more amply, 'when he says, that the blood is the life, • which is given upon the altar, to'make atonement for your souls.' Indeed, the same thing seems to be implied in verse 6. of this chap'ter, • At the hand of every man's brother, will I require the life of * man.' Some of the ancient nations, particulariy the Syrians, under. stood that blood was not to be eaten, øut used in their sacred offers ings: herce, David says, “Their drink-offerings of blood will I not

offer,' Psal. xvi. 4. It is remarkable, that the safety of human life is connected with this prohibition as to blood; and it has been well observed, that we have the first institution of magistracy in these words, .by man shall his blood be shed.' There are two things here, very much worthy of notice. '1. That as magistracy was oriiginally instituted fir the protection of life, they are answerable for the due execution of this warrant. 2. It is by no means clear, that they have a sufficient warrant to shed the blood of any, the case of murder alone excepted.

From the 8th to the 18th verse we have the establishment of God's covenant with Noah, which deserves particular attention, both as a sacred grant of temporal blessings which we to this day enjoy; but chiefly as pledges of those spiritual and eternal blessings which we hope 'to inherit. 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,' Isa liv. '9. The covenant or sure mercies sworn to Noah, was the divine promise of saftey pledged to man and beast, against a flood of waters; and as an earnest of this, God's bow was placed in the cloud. The rainbow is a token of mercy, and is used in This sense throughout the scriptures: hence' when Jobin saw the throne of the man Christ Jesus in glory, Rev. iv 1, he saw a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. God's faithfulness in his promised mercies, is frequently compared to the bow in the Beavens. It ought not to pass unnoticed, that as in the curse first pronounced in Eden, the brute creation were sufferers, and also at the deluge; so in God's cavenant they are sharers of the mercy promised

« PreviousContinue »