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The Wickedness of Humankind

 6

When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, 2the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose. 3Then the Lord said, “My spirit shall not abide in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years.” 4The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.

5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. 6And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7So the Lord said, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord.

Noah Pleases God

9 These are the descendants of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God. 10And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth. 13And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth. 14Make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. 15This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and put the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17For my part, I am going to bring a flood of waters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. 18But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive. 21Also take with you every kind of food that is eaten, and store it up; and it shall serve as food for you and for them.” 22Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.

The Great Flood

 7

Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before me in this generation. 2Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate; 3and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth. 4For in seven days I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights; and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” 5And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.

6 Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came on the earth. 7And Noah with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, 9two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah. 10And after seven days the waters of the flood came on the earth.

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. 12The rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. 13On the very same day Noah with his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons entered the ark, 14they and every wild animal of every kind, and all domestic animals of every kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every bird of every kind—every bird, every winged creature. 15They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. 16And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.

17 The flood continued forty days on the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18The waters swelled and increased greatly on the earth; and the ark floated on the face of the waters. 19The waters swelled so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered; 20the waters swelled above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. 21And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all human beings; 22everything on dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. 23He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, human beings and animals and creeping things and birds of the air; they were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those that were with him in the ark. 24And the waters swelled on the earth for one hundred fifty days.

The Flood Subsides

 8

But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and all the domestic animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided; 2the fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, 3and the waters gradually receded from the earth. At the end of one hundred fifty days the waters had abated; 4and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5The waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains appeared.

6 At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made 7and sent out the raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. 8Then he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; 9but the dove found no place to set its foot, and it returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took it and brought it into the ark with him. 10He waited another seven days, and again he sent out the dove from the ark; 11and the dove came back to him in the evening, and there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. 12Then he waited another seven days, and sent out the dove; and it did not return to him any more.

13 In the six hundred first year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and saw that the face of the ground was drying. 14In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. 15Then God said to Noah, 16“Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 17Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” 18So Noah went out with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. 19And every animal, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out of the ark by families.

God’s Promise to Noah

20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21And when the Lord smelled the pleasing odor, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.

22

As long as the earth endures,

seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,

summer and winter, day and night,

shall not cease.”


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Depravity of the World. (b. c. 2469.)

1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,   2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

For the glory of God's justice, and for warning to a wicked world, before the history of the ruin of the old world, we have a full account of its degeneracy, its apostasy from God and rebellion against him. The destroying of it was an act, not of an absolute sovereignty, but of necessary justice, for the maintaining of the honour of God's government. Now here we have an account of two things which occasioned the wickedness of the old world:—1. The increase of mankind: Men began to multiply upon the face of the earth. This was the effect of the blessing (ch. i. 28), and yet man's corruption so abused and perverted this blessing that it was turned into a curse. Thus sin takes occasion by the mercies of God to be the more exceedingly sinful. Prov. xxix. 16, When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth. The more sinners the more sin; and the multitude of offenders emboldens men. Infectious diseases are most destructive in populous cities; and sin is a spreading leprosy. Thus in the New-Testament church, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring (Acts vi. 1), and we read of a nation that was multiplied, not to the increase of their joy, Isa. ix. 3. Numerous families need to be well-governed, lest they become wicked families. 2. Mixed marriages (v. 2): The sons of God (that is, the professors of religion, who were called by the name of the Lord, and called upon that name), married the daughters of men, that is, those that were profane, and strangers to God and godliness. The posterity of Seth did not keep by themselves, as they ought to have done, both for the preservation of their own purity and in detestation of the apostasy. They intermingled themselves with the excommunicated race of Cain: They took them wives of all that they chose. But what was amiss in these marriages? (1.) They chose only by the eye: They saw that they were fair, which was all they looked at. (2.) They followed the choice which their own corrupt affections made: they took all that they chose, without advice and consideration. But, (3.) That which proved of such bad consequence to them was that they married strange wives, were unequally yoked with unbelievers, 2 Cor. vi. 14. This was forbidden to Israel, Deut. vii. 3, 4. It was the unhappy occasion of Solomon's apostasy (1 Kings xi. 1-4), and was of bad consequence to the Jews after their return out of Babylon, Ezra ix. 1, 2. Note, Professors of religion, in marrying both themselves and their children, should make conscience of keeping within the bounds of profession. The bad will sooner debauch the good than the good reform the bad. Those that profess themselves the children of God must not marry without his consent, which they have not if they join in affinity with his enemies.

3 And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.

This comes in here as a token of God's displeasure at those who married strange wives; he threatens to withdraw from them his Spirit, whom they had grieved by such marriages, contrary to their convictions: fleshly lusts are often punished with spiritual judgments, the sorest of all judgments. Or as another occasion of the great wickedness of the old world; the Spirit of the Lord, being provoked by their resistance of his motions, ceased to strive with them, and then all religion was soon lost among them. This he warns them of before, that they might not further vex his Holy Spirit, but by their prayers might stay him with them. Observe in this verse,

I. God's resolution not always to strive with man by his Spirit. The Spirit then strove by Noah's preaching (1 Pet. iii. 19, 20) and by inward checks, but it was in vain with the most of men; therefore, says God, He shall not always strive. Note, 1. The 52 blessed Spirit strives with sinners, by the convictions and admonitions of conscience, to turn them from sin to God. 2. If the Spirit be resisted, quenched, and striven against, though he strive long, he will not strive always, Hos. iv. 17. 3. Those are ripening apace for ruin whom the Spirit of grace has left off striving with.

II. The reason of this resolution: For that he also is flesh, that is, incurably corrupt, and carnal, and sensual, so that it is labour lost to strive with him. Can the Ethiopian change his skin? He also, that is, All, one as well as another, they have all sunk into the mire of flesh. Note, 1. It is the corrupt nature, and the inclination of the soul towards the flesh, that oppose the Spirit's strivings and render them ineffectual. 2. When a sinner has long adhered to that interest, and sided with the flesh against the Spirit, the Spirit justly withdraws his agency, and strives no more. None lose the Spirit's strivings but those that have first forfeited them.

III. A reprieve granted, notwithstanding: Yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years; so long I will defer the judgment they deserve, and give them space to prevent it by their repentance and reformation. Justice said, Cut them down; but mercy interceded, Lord, let them alone this year also; and so far mercy prevailed, that a reprieve was obtained for six-score years. Note, The time of God's patience and forbearance towards provoking sinners is sometimes long, but always limited: reprieves are not pardons; though God bear a great while, he will not bear always.

4 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.   5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

We have here a further account of the corruption of the old world. When the sons of God had matched with the daughters of men, though it was very displeasing to God, yet he did not immediately cut them off, but waited to see what would be the issue of these marriages, and which side the children would take after; and it proved (as usually it does), that they took after the worst side. Here is,

I. The temptation they were under to oppress and do violence. They were giants, and they were men of renown; they became too hard for all about them, and carried all before them, 1. With their great bulk, as the sons of Anak, Num. xiii. 33. 2. With their great name, as the king of Assyria, Isa. xxxvii. 11. These made them the terror of the mighty in the land of the living; and, thus armed, they daringly insulted the rights of all their neighbours and trampled upon all that is just and sacred. Note, Those that have so much power over others as to be able to oppress them have seldom so much power over themselves as not to oppress; great might is a very great snare to many. This degenerate race slighted the honour their ancestors had obtained by virtue and religion, and made themselves a great name by that which was the perpetual ruin of their good name.

II. The charge exhibited and proved against them, v. 5. The evidence produced was incontestable. God saw it, and that was instead of a thousand witnesses. God sees all the wickedness that is among the children of men; it cannot be concealed from him now, and, if it be not repented of, it shall not be concealed by him shortly. Now what did God take notice of? 1. He observed that the streams of sin that flowed along in men's lives, and the breadth and depth of those streams: He saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth. Observe the connection of this with what goes before: the oppressors were mighty men and men of renown; and, then, God saw that the wickedness of man was great. Note, The wickedness of a people is great indeed when the most notorious sinners are men of renown among them. Things are bad when bad men are not only honoured notwithstanding their wickedness, but honoured for their wickedness, and the vilest men exalted. Wickedness is then great when great men are wicked. Their wickedness was great, that is, abundance of sin was committed in all places, by all sorts of people; and such sin as was in its own nature most gross, and heinous, and provoking; it was committed daringly, and with a defiance of heaven, nor was any care taken by those that had power in their hands to restrain and punish it. This God saw. Note, All the sins of sinners are known to God the Judge. Those that are most conversant in the world, though they see much wickedness in it, yet they see but little of that which is; but God sees all, and judges aright concerning it, how great it is, nor can he be deceived in his judgment. 2. He observed the fountain of sin that was in men's hearts. Any one might see that the wickedness of man was great, for they declared their sin as Sodom; but God's eye went further: He saw that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually—a sad sight, and very offensive to God's holy eye! This was the bitter root, the corrupt spring: all the violence and oppression, all the luxury and wantonness, that were in the world, proceeded from the corruption of nature; lust conceived them, 53 Jam. i. 15. See Matt. xv. 19. (1.) The heart was naught; it was deceitful and desperately wicked. The principles were corrupt, and the habits and dispositions evil. (2.) The thoughts of the heart were so. Thought is sometimes taken for the settled judgment or opinion, and this was bribed, and biased, and misled; sometimes it signifies the workings of the fancy, and these were always either vain or vile, either weaving the spider's web or hatching the cockatrice's egg. (3.) The imagination of the thoughts of the heart was so, that is, their designs and devices were wicked. They did not do evil through mere carelessness, as those that walk at all adventures, not heeding what they do; but they did evil deliberately and designedly, contriving how to do mischief. It was bad indeed; for it was only evil, continually evil, and every imagination was so. There was no good to be found among them, no, not at any time: the stream of sin was full, and strong, and constant; and God saw it; see Ps. xiv. 1-3.

Mankind Threatened with Destruction. (b. c. 2469.)

6 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.   7 And the Lord said, I will 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.

Here is, I. God's resentment of man's wickedness. He did not see it as an unconcerned spectator, but as one injured and affronted by it; he saw it as a tender father sees the folly and stubbornness of a rebellious and disobedient child, which not only angers him, but grieves him, and makes him wish he had been written childless. The expressions here used are very strange: It repented the Lord that he had made man upon the earth, that he had made a creature of such noble powers and faculties, and had put him on this earth, which he built and furnished on purpose to be a convenient, comfortable, habitation for him; and it grieved him at his heart. These are expressions after the manner of men, and must be understood so as not to reflect upon the honour of God's immutability or felicity. 1. This language does not imply any passion or uneasiness in God (nothing can create disturbance to the Eternal Mind), but it expresses his just and holy displeasure against sin and sinners, against sin as odious to his holiness and against sinners as obnoxious to his justice. He is pressed by the sins of his creatures (Amos ii. 13), wearied (Isa. xliii. 24), broken (Ezek. vi. 9), grieved (Ps. cxv. 10), and here grieved to the heart, as men are when they are wronged and abused by those they have been very kind to, and therefore repent of their kindness, and wish they had never fostered that snake in their bosom which now hisses in their face and stings them to the heart. Does God thus hate sin? And shall we not hate it? Has our sin grieved him to the heart? And shall we not be grieved and pricked to the heart for it? O that this consideration may humble us and shame us, and that we may look on him whom we have thus grieved, and mourn! Zech. xii. 10. 2. It does not imply any change of God's mind; for he is in one mind, and who can turn him? With him there is not variableness. But it expressed a change of his way. When God had made man upright, he rested and was refreshed (Exod. xxxi. 17), and his way towards him was such as showed he was pleased with the work of his own hands; but, now that man had apostatized, he could not do otherwise than show himself displeased; so that the change was in man, not in God. God repented that he had made man; but we never find him repenting that he redeemed man (though that was a work of much greater expense), because special and effectual grace is given to secure the great ends of redemption; so that those gifts and callings are without repentance, Rom. xi. 29.

II. God's resolution to destroy man for his wickedness, v. 7. Observe, 1. When God repented that he had made man, he resolved to destroy man. Thus those that truly repent of sin will resolve, in the strength of God's grace, to mortify sin and to destroy it, and so to undo what they have done amiss. We do but mock God in saying that we are sorry for our sin, and that it grieves us to the heart, if we continue to indulge it. In vain do we pretend a change of our mind if we do not evidence it by a change of our way. 2. He resolves to destroy man. The original word is very significant: I will wipe off man from the earth (so some), as dirt or filth is wiped off from a place which should be clean, and is thrown to the dunghill, the proper place for it. See 2 Kings xxi. 13. Those that are the spots of the places they live in are justly wiped away by the judgments of God. I will blot out man from the earth (so others), as those lines which displease the author are blotted out a book, or as the name of a citizen is blotted out of the rolls of the freemen, when he is dead or disfranchised. 3. He speaks of man as his own creature even when he resolves upon his ruin: Man whom I have created. "Though I have created him, this shall not excuse him," Isa. xxvii. 11. He that made him will not save him; he that is our Creator, if he be not our ruler, will be our destroyer. Or, "Because I have created him, and he has been so undutiful and ungrateful to his Creator, therefore I will destroy him:" those forfeit their lives that do not answer the end of their living. 4. Even the brute-creatures were to be involved in 54 this destruction—Beasts, and creeping things, and the fowls of the air. These were made for man, and therefore must be destroyed with man; for it follows: It repenteth me that I have made them; for the end of their creation also was frustrated. They were made that man might serve and honour God with them; and therefore were destroyed because he had served his lusts with them, and made them subject to vanity. 5. God took up this resolution concerning man after his Spirit had been long striving with him in vain. None are ruined by the justice of God but those that hate to be reformed by the grace of God.

8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.   9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.   10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

We have here Noah distinguished from the rest of the world, and a peculiar mark of honour put upon him. 1. When God was displeased with the rest of the world, he favoured Noah: But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, v. 8. This vindicates God's justice in his displeasure against the world, and shows that he had strictly examined the character of every person in it before he pronounced it universally corrupt; for, there being one good man, he found him out, and smiled upon him. It also magnifies his grace towards Noah that he was made a vessel of God's mercy when all mankind besides had become the generation of his wrath: distinguishing favours bring under peculiarly strong obligations. Probably Noah did not find favour in the eyes of men; they hated and persecuted him, because both by his life and preaching he condemned the world. But he found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and this was honour and comfort enough. God made more account of Noah than of all the world besides, and this made him greater and more truly honourable than all the giants that were in those days, who became mighty men and men of renown. Let this be the summit of our ambition, to find grace in the eyes of the Lord; herein let us labour, that, present or absent, we may be accepted of him, 2 Cor. v. 9. Those are highly favoured whom God favours. 2. When the rest of the world was corrupt and wicked, Noah kept his integrity: These are the generations of Noah (this is the account we have to give of him), Noah was a just man, v. 9. This character of Noah comes in here either, (1.) As the reason of God's favour to him; his singular piety qualified him for singular tokens of God's loving-kindness. Those that would find grace in the eyes of the Lord must be as Noah was and do as Noah did; God loves those that love him: or, (2.) As the effect of God's favour to him. It was God's good-will to him that produced this good work in him. He was a very good man, but he was no better than the grace of God made him, 1 Cor. xv. 10. Now observe his character. [1.] He was a just man, that is, justified before God by faith in the promised seed; for he was an heir of the righteousness which is by faith, Heb. xi. 7. He was sanctified, and had right principles and dispositions implanted in him; and he was righteous in his conversation, one that made conscience of rendering to all their due, to God his due and to men theirs. Note, None but a downright honest man can find favour with God. That conversation which will be pleasing to God must be governed by simplicity and godly sincerity, not by fleshly wisdom, 2 Cor. i. 12. God has sometimes chosen the foolish things of the world, but he never chose the knavish things of it. [2.] He was perfect, not with a sinless perfection, but a perfection of sincerity; and it is well for us that by virtue of the covenant of grace, upon the score of Christ's righteousness, sincerity is accepted as our gospel perfection. [3.] He walked with God, as Enoch had done before him. He was not only honest, but devout; he walked, that is, he acted with God, as one always under his eye. He lived a life of communion with God; it was his constant care to conform himself to the will of God, to please him, and to approve himself to him. Note, God looks down upon those with an eye of favour who sincerely look up to him with an eye of faith. But, [4.] That which crowns his character is that thus he was, and thus he did, in his generation, in that corrupt degenerate age in which his lot was cast. It is easy to be religious when religion is in fashion; but it is an evidence of strong faith and resolution to swim against a stream to heaven, and to appear for God when no one else appears for him: so Noah did, and it is upon record, to his immortal honour.

Depravity of the World. (b. c. 2448.)

11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.   12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.

The wickedness of that generation is here again spoken of, either as a foil to Noah's piety—he was just and perfect, when all the earth was corrupt; or as a further justification of God's resolution to destroy the world, which he was now about to communicate to his servant Noah. 1. All kinds of sin was found among them, for it is said (v. 11) that the earth was, (1.) Corrupt before God, that is, in the matters of God's worship; either they had other gods before him, or they worshipped him by images, or they were corrupt and wicked in despite and 55 contempt of God, daring him and defying him to his face. (2.) The earth was also filled with violence and injustice towards men. There was no order nor regular government; no man was safe in the possession of that which he had the most clear and incontestable right to, no, not the most innocent life; there was nothing but murders, rapes, and rapine. Note, Wickedness, as it is the shame of human nature, so it is the ruin of human society. Take away conscience and the fear of God, and men become beasts and devils to one another, like the fishes of the sea, where the greater devour the less. Sin fills the earth with violence, and so turns the world into a wilderness, into a cock-pit. 2. The proof and evidence of it were undeniable; for God looked upon the earth, and was himself an eye-witness of the corruption that was in it, of which before, v. 5. The righteous Judge in all his judgments proceeds upon the infallible certainty of his own omniscience, Ps. xxxiii. 13. 3. That which most aggravated the matter was the universal spreading of the contagion: All flesh had corrupted his way. It was not some particular nations or cities that were thus wicked, but the whole world of mankind were so; there was none that did good, no, not one besides Noah. Note, When wickedness has become general and universal ruin is not far off; while there is a remnant of praying people in a nation, to empty the measure as it fills, judgments may be kept off a great while; but when all hands are at work to pull down the fences by sin, and none stand in the gap to make up the breach, what can be expected but an inundation of wrath?

Prediction of the Deluge. (b. c. 2448.)

13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.   14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.   15 And this is the fashion 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.   16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.   17 And, behold, I, even I, 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.   18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee.   19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort 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, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.   21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.

Here it appears indeed that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. God's favour to him was plainly intimated in what he said of him, v. 8-10, where his name is mentioned five times in five lines, when once might have served to make the sense clear, as if the Holy Ghost took a pleasure in perpetuating his memory; but it appears much more in what he says to him in these verses—the informations and instructions here given him.

I. God here makes Noah the man of his counsel, communicating to him his purpose to destroy this wicked world by water. As, afterwards, he told Abraham his resolution concerning Sodom (ch. xviii. 17, Shall I hide from Abraham?) so here "Shall I hide from Noah the thing that I do, seeing that he shall become a great nation?" Note, The secret of the Lord is with those that fear him (Ps. xxv. 14); it was with his servants the prophets (Amos iii. 7), by a spirit of revelation, informing them particularly of his purposes; it is with all believers by a spirit of wisdom and faith, enabling them to understand and apply the general declarations of the written word, and the warnings there given. Now,

1. God told Noah, in general, that he would destroy the world (v. 13): The end of all flesh has come before me; I will destroy them; that is, the ruin of this wicked world is decreed and determined; it has come, that is, it will come surely, and come quickly. Noah, it is likely, in preaching to his neighbours, had warned them, in general, of the wrath of God that they would bring upon themselves by their wickedness, and now God seconds his endeavours by a particular denunciation of wrath, that Noah might try whether this would work upon them. Hence observe, (1.) That God confirmeth the words of his messengers, Isa. xliv. 26. (2.) That to him that has, and uses what he has for the good of others, more shall be given, more full instructions.

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2. He told him, particularly, that he would destroy the world by a flood of waters: And behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, v. 17. God could have destroyed all mankind by the sword of an angel, a flaming sword turning every way, as he destroyed all the first-born of the Egyptians and the camp of the Assyrians; and then there needed no more than to set a mark upon Noah and his family for their preservation. But God chose to do it by a flood of waters, which should drown the world. The reasons, we may be sure, were wise and just, though to us unknown. God has many arrows in his quiver, and he may use which he please: as he chooses the rod with which he will correct his children, so he chooses the sword with which he will cut off his enemies. Observe the manner of expression: "I, even I, do bring a flood; I that am infinite in power, and therefore can do it, infinite in justice, and therefore will do it." (1.) It intimates the certainty of the judgment: I, even I, will do it. That cannot but be done effectually which God himself undertakes the doing of. See Job xi. 10. (2.) It intimates the tendency of it to God's glory and the honour of his justice. Thus he will be magnified and exalted in the earth, and all the world shall be made to know that he is the God to whom vengeance belongs; methinks the expression here is somewhat like that, Isa. i. 24, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries.

II. God here makes Noah the man of his covenant, another Hebrew periphrasis of a friend (v. 18): But with thee will I establish my covenant. 1. The covenant of providence, that the course of nature shall be continued to the end of time, notwithstanding the interruption which the flood would give to it. This promise was immediately made to Noah and his sons, ch. ix. 8, &c. They were as trustees for all this part of the creation, and a great honour was thereby put upon him and his. 2. The covenant of grace, that God would be to him a God and that out of his seed God would take to himself a people. Note, (1.) When God makes a covenant, he establishes it, he makes it sure, he makes it good; his are everlasting covenants. (2.) The covenant of grace has in it the recompence of singular services, and the fountain and foundation of all distinguishing favours; we need desire no more, either to make up our losses for God or to make up a happiness for us in God, than to have his covenant established with us.

III. God here makes Noah a monument of sparing mercy, by putting him in a way to secure himself in the approaching deluge, that he might not perish with the rest of the world: I will destroy them, says God, with the earth, v. 13. "But make thee an ark; I will take care to preserve thee alive." Note, Singular piety shall be recompensed with distinguishing salvations, which are in a special manner obliging. This will add much to the honour and happiness of glorified saints, that they shall be saved when the greatest part of the world is left to perish. Now,

1. God directs Noah to make an ark, v. 14-16. This ark was like the hulk of a ship, fitted not to sail upon the waters (there was no occasion for that, when there should be no shore to sail to), but to float upon the waters, waiting for their fall. God could have secured Noah by the ministration of angels, without putting him to any care, or pains, or trouble, himself; but he chose to employ him in making that which was to be the means of his preservation, both for the trial of his faith and obedience and to teach us that none shall be saved by Christ but those only that work out their salvation. We cannot do it without God, and he will not without us. Both the providence of God, and the grace of God, own and crown the endeavours of the obedient and diligent. God gave him very particular instructions concerning this building, which could not but be admirably well fitted for the purpose when Infinite Wisdom itself was the architect. (1.) It must be made of gopher-wood. Noah, doubtless, knew what sort of wood that was, though we now do not, whether cedar, or cypress, or what other. (2.) He must make it three stories high within. (3.) He must divide it into cabins, with partitions, places fitted for the several sorts of creatures, so as to lose no room. (4.) Exact dimensions were given him, that he might make it proportionable, and might have room enough in it to answer the intention and no more. Note, Those that work for God must take their measures from him and carefully observe them. Note, further, It is fit that he who appoints us our habitation should fix the bounds and limits of it. (5.) He must pitch it within and without—without, to shed off the rain, and to prevent the water from soaking in—within, to take away the bad smell of the beasts when kept close. Observe, God does not bid him paint it, but pitch it. If God gives us habitations that are safe, and warm, and wholesome, we are bound to be thankful, though they are not magnificent or nice. (6.) He must make a little window towards the top, to let in light, and (some think) that through that window he might behold the desolations to be made in the earth. (7.) He must make a door in the side of it, by which to go in and out.

2. God promises Noah that he and his shall be preserved alive in the ark (v. 18): Thou shalt come into the ark. Note, What we do in obedience to God, we ourselves are likely to have the comfort and benefit of. If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself. Nor was he himself only saved in the ark, but his wife, and his sons, and his sons' wives. Observe, (1.) The care of good parents; they are solicitous not only for their own 57 salvation, but for the salvation of their families, and especially their children. (2.) The happiness of those children that have godly parents. Their parents' piety often procures them temporal salvation, as here; and it furthers them in the way to eternal salvation, if they improve the benefit of it.

IV. God here makes Noah a great blessing to the world, and herein makes him an eminent type of the Messiah, though not the Messiah himself, as his parents expected, ch. v. 29. 1. God made him a preacher to the men of that generation. As a watchman, he received the word from God's mouth, that he might give them warning, Ezek. iii. 17. Thus, while the long-suffering of God waited, by his Spirit in Noah, he preached to the old world, who, when Peter wrote, were spirits in prison (1 Pet. iii. 18-20), and herein he was a type of Christ, who, in a land and age wherein all flesh had corrupted their way, went about preaching repentance and warning men of a deluge of wrath coming. 2. God made him a saviour to the inferior creatures, to keep the several kinds of them from perishing and being lost in the deluge, v. 19-21. This was a great honour put upon him, that not only in him the race of mankind should be kept up, and that from him should proceed a new world, the church, the soul of the world, and Messiah, the head of that church, but that he should be instrumental to preserve the inferior creatures, and so mankind should in him acquire a new title to them and their service. (1.) He was to provide shelter for them, that they might not be drowned. Two of every sort, male and female, he must take with him into the ark; and lest he should make any difficulty of gathering them together, and getting them in, God promises (v. 20) that they shall of their own accord come to him. He that makes the ox to know his owner and his crib then made him know his preserver and his ark. (2.) He was to provide sustenance for them, that they might not be starved, v. 21. He must victual his ship according to the number of his crew, that great family which he had now the charge of, and according to the time appointed for his confinement. Herein also he was a type of Christ, to whom it is owing that the world stands, by whom all things consist, and who preserves mankind from being totally cut off and ruined by sin; in him the holy seed is saved alive, and the creation rescued from the vanity under which it groans. Noah saved those whom he was to rule, so does Christ, Heb. v. 9.

22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

Noah's care and diligence in building the ark may be considered, 1. As an effect of his faith in the word of God. God had told him he would shortly drown the world; he believed it, feared the threatened deluge, and, in that fear, prepared the ark. Note, We ought to mix faith with the revelation God has made of his wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men; the threatenings of the word are not false alarms. Much might have been objected against the credibility of this warning given to Noah. "Who could believe that the wise God, who made the world, should so soon unmake it again, that he who had drawn the waters off the dry land (ch. i. 9, 10) should cause them to cover it again? How would this be reconciled with the mercy of God, which is over all his works, especially that the innocent creatures should die for man's sin? Whence could water be had sufficient to deluge the world? And, if it must be so, why should notice be given of it to Noah only?" But Noah's faith triumphed over all these corrupt reasonings. 2. As an act of obedience to the command of God. Had he consulted with flesh and blood, many objections would have been raised against it. To rear a building, such a one as he never saw, so large, and of such exact dimensions, would put him upon a great deal of care, and labour, and expense. It would be a work of time; the vision was for a great while to come. His neighbours would ridicule him for his credulity, and he would be the song of the drunkards; his building would be called Noah's folly. If the worst came to the worst, as we say, each would fare as well as his neighbours. But these, and a thousand such objections, Noah by faith got over. His obedience was ready and resolute: Thus did Noah, willingly and cheerfully, without murmuring and disputing. God says, Do this, and he does it. It was also punctual and persevering: he did all exactly according to the instructions given him, and, having begun to build, did not leave off till he had finished it; so did he, and so must we do. 3. As an instance of wisdom for himself, thus to provide for his own safety. He feared the deluge, and therefore prepared the ark. Note, When God gives warning of approaching judgments, it is our wisdom and duty to provide accordingly. See Exod. ix. 20, 21; Ezek. iii. 18. We must prepare to meet the Lord in his judgments on earth, flee to his name as a strong tower (Prov. xviii. 10), enter into our chambers (Isa. xxvi. 20, 21), especially prepare to meet him at death and in the judgment of the great day, build upon Christ the Rock (Matt. vii. 24), go into Christ the Ark. 4. As intended for warning to a careless world; and it was fair warning of the deluge coming. Every blow of his axes and hammers was a call to repentance, a call to them to prepare arks too. But, since by it he could not convince the world, by it he condemned the world, Heb. xi. 7.

Noah Invited into the Ark. (b. c. 2349.)

1 And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.   2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.   3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.   4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.

Here is, I. A gracious invitation of Noah and his family into a place of safety, now that the flood of waters was coming, v. 1.

1. The call itself is very kind, like that of a tender father to his children, to come in doors, when he sees night or a storm coming: Come thou, and all thy house, that small family that thou hast, into the ark. Observe, (1.) Noah did not go into the ark till God bade him; though he knew it was designed for his place of refuge, yet he waited for a renewed command, and had it. It is very comfortable to follow the calls of Providence, and to see God going before us in every step we take. (2.) God does not bid him go into the ark, but come into it, implying that God would go with him, would lead him into it, accompany him in it, and in due time bring him safely out of it. Note, Wherever we are, it is very desirable to have the presence of God with us, for this is all in all to the comfort of every condition. It was this that made Noah's ark, which was a prison, to be to him not only a refuge, but a palace. (3.) Noah had taken a great deal of pains to build the ark, and now he was himself preserved alive in it. Note, What we do in obedience to the command of God, and in faith, we ourselves shall certainly have the comfort of, first or last. (4.) Not he only, but his house also, his wife and children, are called with him into the ark. Note, It is good to belong to the family of a godly man; it is safe and comfortable to dwell under such a shadow. One of Noah's sons was Ham, who proved afterwards a bad man, yet he was saved in the ark, which intimates, [1.] That wicked children often fare the better for the sake of their godly parents. [2.] That there is a mixture of bad with good in the best societies on earth, and we are not to think it strange. In Noah's family there was a Ham, and in Christ's family there was a Judas. There is no perfect purity on this side heaven. (5.) This call to Noah was a type of the call which the gospel gives to poor sinners. Christ is an ark already prepared, in whom alone we can be safe when death and judgment come. Now the burden of the song is, "Come, come;" the word says, "Come;" ministers say, "Come;" the Spirit says, "Come, come into the ark."

2. The reason for this invitation is a very honourable testimony to Noah's integrity: For thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Observe, (1.) Those are righteous indeed that are righteous before God, that have not only the form of godliness by which they appear righteous before men, who may easily be imposed upon, but the power of it by which they approve themselves to God, who searches the heart, and cannot be deceived in men's characters. (2.) God takes notice of and is pleased with those that are righteous before him: Thee have I seen. In a world of wicked people God could see one righteous Noah; that single grain of wheat could not be lost, no, not in so great a heap of chaff. The Lord knows those that are his. (3.) God, that is a witness to, will shortly be a witness for, his people's integrity; he that sees it will proclaim it before angels and men, to their immortal honour. Those that obtain mercy to be righteous shall obtain witness that they are righteous. (4.) God is, in a special manner, pleased with those that are good in bad times and places. Noah was therefore illustriously righteous, because he was so in that wicked and adulterous generation. (5.) Those that keep themselves pure in times of common iniquity God will keep safe in times of common calamity; those that partake not with others in their sins shall not partake with them in their plagues; those that are better than others are, even in this life, safer than others, and it is better with them.

II. Here are necessary orders given concerning the brute-creatures that were to be preserved alive with Noah in the ark, v. 2, 3. They were not capable of receiving the warning and directions themselves, as man was, who herein is taught more than the beasts of the earth, and made wiser than the fowls of heaven—that he is endued with the power of foresight; therefore man is charged with the care of them: being under his dominion, they must be under his protection; and, though he could not secure every individual, 59 yet he must carefully preserve every species, that no tribe, no, not the least considerable, might entirely perish out of the creation. Observe in this, 1. God's care for man, for his comfort and benefit. We do not find that Noah was solicitous of himself about this matter; but God consults our happiness more than we do ourselves. Though God saw that the old world was very provoking, and foresaw that the new one would be little better, yet he would preserve the brute creatures for man's use. Doth God take care for oxen? 1 Cor. ix. 9. Or was it not rather for man's sake that this care was taken? 2. Even the unclean beasts, which were least valuable and profitable, were preserved alive in the ark; for God's tender mercies are over all his works, and not over those only that are of most eminence and use. 3. Yet more of the clean were preserved than of the unclean. (1.) Because the clean were most for the service of man; and therefore, in favour to him, more of them were preserved and are still propagated. Thanks be to God, there are not herds of lions as there are of oxen, nor flocks of tigers as there are of sheep. (2.) Because the clean were for sacrifice to God; and therefore, in honour to him, more of them were preserved, three couple for breed, and the odd seventh for sacrifice, ch. viii. 20. God gives us six for one in earthly things, as in the distribution of the days of the week, that in spiritual things we should be all for him. What is devoted to God's honour, and used in his service, is particularly blessed and increased.

III. Here is notice given of the now imminent approach of the flood: Yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain, v. 4. 1. "It shall be seven days yet, before I do it." After the hundred and twenty years had expired, God grants them a reprieve of seven days longer, both to show how slow he is to anger and that punishing work is his strange work, and also to give them some further space for repentance: but all in vain; these seven days were trifled away, after all the rest; they continued secure and sensual until the day that the flood came. 2. "It shall be but seven days." While Noah told them of the judgment at a distance, they were tempted to put off their repentance, because the vision was for a great while to come; but now he is ordered to tell them that it is at the door, that they have but one week more to turn them in, but one sabbath more to improve, to see if that will now, at last, awaken them to consider the things that belong to their peace, which otherwise will soon be hidden from their eyes. But it is common for those that have been careless of their souls during the years of their health, when they have looked upon death at a distance, to be as careless during the days, the seven days, of their sickness, when they see it approaching, their hearts being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

The Deluge. (b. c. 2349.)

5 And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him.   6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.   7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.   8 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth,   9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.   10 And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.

Here is Noah's ready obedience to the commands that God gave him. Observe, 1. He went into the ark, upon notice that the flood would come after seven days, though probably as yet there appeared no visible sign of its approach, no cloud arising that threatened it, nothing done towards it, but all continued serene and clear; for, as he prepared the ark by faith in the warning given that the flood would come, so he went into it by faith in this warning that it would come quickly, though he did not see that the second causes had yet begun to work. In every step he took, he walked by faith, and not by sense. During these seven days, it is likely, he was settling himself and his family in the ark, and distributing the creatures into their several apartments. This was the conclusion of that visible sermon which he had long been preaching to his careless neighbours, and which, one would think, might have awakened them; but, not obtaining that desired end, it left their blood upon their own heads. 2. He took all his family along with him, his wife, to be his companion and comfort (though it should seem that, after this, he had no children by her), his sons, and his sons' wives, that by them not only his family, but the world of mankind, might be built up. Observe, Though men were to be reduced to so small a number, and it would be very desirable to have the world speedily repeopled, yet Noah's sons were each of them to have but one wife, which strengthens the argument against having many wives; for from the beginning of this new world it was not so: as, at first, God made, so now he kept alive, but one woman for one man. See Matt. xix. 4, 8. 3. The brute creatures readily went in with him. The same hand that at first brought them to Adam to be named now brought them to Noah to be preserved. The ox now knew his owner, and the ass his protector's crib, nay, even the wildest creatures flocked to it; but man had become more brutish than the brutes 60 themselves, and did not know, did not consider, Isa. i. 3.

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.   12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

Here is, I. The date of this great event; this is carefully recorded, for the greater certainty of the story.

1. It was in the 600th year of Noah's life, which, by computation, appears to be 1656 years from the creation. The years of the old world are reckoned, not by the reigns of the giants, but the lives of the patriarchs; saints are of more account with God than princes. The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance. Noah was now a very old man, even as men's years went then. Note, (1.) The longer we live in this world the more we see of the miseries and calamities of it; it is therefore spoken of as the privilege of those that die young that their eyes shall not see the evil which is coming, 2 Kings xxii. 20. (2.) Sometimes God exercises his old servants with extraordinary trials of obedient patience. The oldest of Christ's soldiers must not promise themselves a discharge from their warfare till death discharge them. Still they must gird on their harness, and not boast as though they had put it off. As the year of the deluge is recorded, so,

2. We are told that it was in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, which is reckoned to be about the beginning of November; so that Noah had had a harvest just before, from which to victual his ark.

II. The second causes that concurred to this deluge. Observe,

1. In the self-same day that Noah was fixed in the ark, the inundation began. Note, (1.) Desolating judgments come not till God has provided for the security of his own people; see ch. xix. 22, I can do nothing till thou be come thither: and we find (Rev. vii. 3) that the winds are held till the servants of God are sealed. (2.) When good men are removed judgments are not far off; for they are taken away from the evil to come, Isa. lvii. 1. When they are called into the chambers, hidden in the grave, hidden in heaven, then God is coming out of his place to punish, Isa. xxvi. 20, 21.

2. See what was done on that day, that fatal day to the world of the ungodly. (1.) The fountains of the great deep were broken up. Perhaps there needed no new creation of waters; what were already made to be, in the common course of providence, blessings to the earth, were now, by an extraordinary act of divine power, made the ruin of it. God has laid up the deep in storehouses (Ps. xxxiii. 7), and now he broke up those stores. As our bodies have in themselves those humours which, when God pleases, become the seeds and springs of mortal diseases, so the earth had in it bowels those waters which, at God's command, sprang up and flooded it. God had, in the creation, set bars and doors to the waters of the sea, that they might not return to cover the earth (Ps. civ. 9; Job xxxviii. 9-11); and now he only removed those ancient land-marks, mounds, and fences, and the waters of the sea returned to cover the earth, as they had done at first, ch. i. 9. Note, All the creatures are ready to fight against sinful man, and any of them is able to be the instrument of his ruin, if God do but take off the restraints by which they are held in during the day of God's patience. (2.) The windows of heaven were opened, and the waters which were above the firmament were poured out upon the world; those treasures which God has reserved against the time of trouble, the day of battle and war, Job xxxviii. 22, 23. The rain, which ordinarily descends in drops, then came down in streams, or spouts, as they call them in the Indies, where clouds have been often known to burst, as they express it there, when the rain descends in a much more violent torrent than we have ever seen in the greatest shower. We read (Job xxvi. 8) that God binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not rent under them; but now the bond was loosed, the cloud was rent, and such rains descended as were never known before nor since, in such abundance and of such continuance: the thick cloud was not, as ordinarily it is, wearied with waterings (Job xxxvii. 11), that is, soon spent and exhausted; but still the clouds returned after the rain, and the divine power brought in fresh recruits. It rained, without intermission or abatement, forty days and forty nights (v. 12), and that upon the whole earth at once, not, as sometimes, upon one city and not upon another. God made the world in six days, but he was forty days in destroying it; for he is slow to anger: but, though the destruction came slowly and gradually, yet it came effectually.

3. Now learn from this, (1.) That all the creatures are at God's disposal, and that he makes what use he pleases of them, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy, as Elihu speaks of the rain, Job xxxvii. 12, 13. (2.) That God often makes that which should be for our welfare to become a trap, Ps. lxix. 22. That which usually is a comfort and benefit to us becomes, when God pleases, a scourge and a plague to us. Nothing is more needful nor useful than water, both the springs of the earth and the showers of heaven; and yet now nothing was more hurtful, nothing more destructive: every creature is to us what God makes it. (3.) That it is impossible to escape the righteous judgments of God 61 when they come against sinners with commission; for God can arm both heaven and earth against them; see Job xx. 27. God can surround men with the messengers of his wrath, so that, if they look upwards, it is with horror and amazement, if they look to the earth, behold, trouble and darkness, Isa. viii. 21, 22. Who then is able to stand before God, when he is angry? (4.) In this destruction of the old world by water God gave a specimen of the final destruction of the world that now is by fire. We find the apostle setting the one of these over against the other, 2 Pet. iii. 6, 7. As there are waters under the earth, so Ætna, Vesuvius, and other volcanoes, proclaim to the world that there are subterraneous fires too; and fire often falls from heaven, many desolations are made by lightning; so that, when the time predetermined comes, between these two fires the earth and all the works therein shall be burnt up, as the flood was brought upon the old world out of the fountains of the great deep and through the windows of heaven.

13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;   14 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.   15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.   16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.

Here is repeated what was related before of Noah's entrance into the ark, with his family and creatures that were marked for preservation. Now,

I. It is thus repeated for the honour of Noah, whose faith and obedience herein shone so brightly, by which he obtained a good report, and who herein appeared so great a favourite of Heaven and so great a blessing to this earth.

II. Notice is here taken of the beasts going in each after his kind, according to the phrase used in the history of the creation (ch. i. 21-25), to intimate that just as many kinds as were created at first were saved now, and no more; and that this preservation was as a new creation: a life remarkably protected is, as it were, a new life.

III. Though all enmities and hostilities between the creatures ceased for the present, and ravenous creatures were not only so mild and manageable as that the wolf and the lamb lay down together, but so strangely altered as that the lion did eat straw like an ox (Isa. xi. 6, 7), yet, when this occasion was over, the restraint was taken off, and they were still of the same kind as ever; for the ark did not alter their constitution. Hypocrites in the church, that externally conform to the laws of that ark, may yet be unchanged, and then it will appear, one time or other, what kind they are after.

IV. It is added (and the circumstance deserves our notice), The Lord shut him in, v. 16. As Noah continued his obedience to God, so God continued his care of Noah: and here it appeared to be a very distinguishing care; for the shutting of this door set up a partition wall between him and all the world besides. God shut the door, 1. To secure him, and keep him safe in the ark. The door must be shut very close, lest the waters should break in and sink the ark, and very fast, lest any without should break it down. Thus God made up Noah, as he makes up his jewels, Mal. iii. 17. 2. To exclude all others, and keep them for ever out. Hitherto the door of the ark stood open, and if any, even during the last seven days, had repented and believed, for aught I know they might have been welcomed into the ark; but now the door was shut, and they were cut off from all hopes of admittance: for God shutteth, and none can open.

V. There is much of our gospel duty and privilege to be seen in Noah's preservation in the ark. The apostle makes it a type of our baptism, that is, our Christianity, 1 Pet. iii. 20, 21. Observe then, 1. It is our great duty, in obedience to the gospel call, by a lively faith in Christ, to come into that way of salvation which God has provided for poor sinners. When Noah came into the ark, he quitted his own house and lands; so must we quit our own righteousness and our worldly possessions, whenever they come into competition with Christ. Noah must, for a while, submit to the confinements and inconveniences of the ark, in order to his preservation for a new world; so those that come into Christ to be saved by him must deny themselves, both in sufferings and services. 2. Those that come into the ark themselves should bring as many as they can in with them, by good instructions, by persuasions, and by a good example. What knowest thou, O man, but thou mayest thus save thy wife (1 Cor. vii. 16), as Noah did his? There is room enough in Christ for all comers. 3. Those that by faith come into Christ, the ark, shall by the power of God be shut in, and kept as in a strong-hold by the power of God, 1 Pet. i. 5. God put Adam into paradise, but he did not shut him in, and so he threw himself out; but when he put Noah into the ark he shut him in, and so when he brings a soul to Christ he ensures its salvation: it is not in our own keeping, but in the Mediator's hand. 4. The door of mercy will shortly be shut against 62 those that now make light of it. Now, knock and it shall be opened; but the time will come when it shall not, Luke xiii. 25.

17 And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth.   18 And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters.   19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.   20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.

We are here told,

I. How long the flood was increasing—forty days, v. 17. The profane world, who believed not that it would come, probably when it came flattered themselves with hopes that it would soon abate and never come to extremity; but still it increased, it prevailed. Note, 1. When God judges he will overcome. If he begin, he will make an end; his way is perfect, both in judgment and mercy. 2. The gradual approaches and advances of God's judgments, which are designed to bring sinners to repentance, are often abused to the hardening of them in their presumption.

II. To what degree they increased: they rose so high that not only the low flat countries were deluged, but to make sure work, and that none might escape, the tops of the highest mountains were overflowed—fifteen cubits, that is, seven yards and a half; so that in vain was salvation hoped for from hills or mountains, Jer. iii. 23. None of God's creatures are so high but his power can overtop them; and he will make them know that wherein they deal proudly he is above them. Perhaps the tops of the mountains were washed down by the strength of the waters, which helped much towards the prevailing of the waters above them; for it is said (Job xii. 15), He sends out the waters, and they not only overflow, but overturn, the earth. Thus the refuge of lies was swept away, and the waters overflowed the hiding-place of those sinners (Isa. xxviii. 17), and in vain they fly to them for safety, Rev. vi. 16. Now the mountains departed, and the hills were removed, and nothing stood a man in stead but the covenant of peace, Isa. liv. 10. There is no place on earth so high as to set men out of the reach of God's judgments, Jer. xlix. 16; Obad. 3, 4. God's hand will find out all his enemies, Ps. xxi. 8. Observe how exactly they are fathomed (fifteen cubits), not by Noah's plummet, but by his knowledge who weighs the waters by measure, Job xxviii. 25.

III. What became of Noah's ark when the waters thus increased: It was lifted up above the earth (v. 17), and went upon the face of the waters, v. 18. When all other buildings were demolished by the waters, and buried under them, the ark alone subsisted. Observe, 1. The waters which broke down every thing else bore up the ark. That which to unbelievers is a savour of death unto death is to the faithful a savour of life unto life. 2. The more the waters increased the higher the ark was lifted up towards heaven. Thus sanctified afflictions are spiritual promotions; and as troubles abound consolations much more abound.

21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:   22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.   23 And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.   24 And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days.

Here is, I. The general destruction of all flesh by the waters of the flood. Come, and see the desolations which God makes in the earth (Ps. xlvi. 8), and how he lays heaps upon heaps. Never did death triumph, from its first entrance unto this day, as it did then. Come, and see Death upon his pale horse, and hell following with him, Rev. vi. 7, 8.

1. All the cattle, fowl, and creeping things, died, except the few that were in the ark. Observe how this is repeated: All flesh died, v. 21. All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was on the dry land, v. 22. Every living substance, v. 23. And why so? Man only had done wickedly, and justly is God's hand against him; but these sheep, what have they done? I answer, (1.) We are sure God did them no wrong. He is the sovereign Lord of all life, for he is the sole fountain and author of it. He that made them as he pleased might unmake them when he pleased; and who shall say unto him, What doest thou? May he not do what he will with his own, which were created for his pleasure? (2.) God did admirably serve the purposes of his own glory by their destruction, as well as by their creation. Herein his holiness and justice were greatly magnified; by this it appears that he hates sin, and is highly displeased with sinners, when even the inferior creatures, because they are the servants of man and part of his possession, and because they have been abused to be the servants of sin, are destroyed with him. This 63 makes the judgment the more remarkable, the more dreadful, and, consequently, the more expressive of God's wrath and vengeance. The destruction of the creatures was their deliverance from the bondage of corruption, which deliverance the whole creation now groans after, Rom. viii. 21, 22. It was likewise an instance of God's wisdom. As the creatures were made for man when he was made, so they were multiplied for him when he was multiplied; and therefore, now that mankind was reduced to so small a number, it was fit that the beasts should proportionably be reduced, otherwise they would have had the dominion, and would have replenished the earth, and the remnant of mankind that was left would have been overpowered by them. See how God considered this in another case, Exod. xxiii. 29, Lest the beast of the field multiply against thee.

2. All the men, women, and children, that were in the world (except that were in the ark) died. Every man (v. 21 and v. 23), and perhaps they were as many as are now upon the face of the earth, if not more. Now, (1.) We may easily imagine what terror and consternation seized on them when they saw themselves surrounded. Our Saviour tells us that till the very day that the flood came they were eating and drinking (Luke xvii. 26, 27); they were drowned in security and sensuality before they were drowned in those waters, crying Peace, peace, to themselves, deaf and blind to all divine warnings. In this posture death surprised them, as 1 Sam. xxx. 16, 17. But O what an amazement were they in then! Now they see and feel that which they would not believe and fear, and are convinced of their folly when it is too late; now they find no place for repentance, though they seek it carefully with tears. (2.) We may suppose that they tried all ways and means possible for their preservation, but all in vain. Some climb to the tops of trees or mountains, and spin out their terrors there awhile. But the flood reaches them, at last, and they are forced to die with the more deliberation. Some, it is likely, cling to the ark, and now hope that this may be their safety which they had so long made their sport. Perhaps some get to the top of the ark, and hope to shift for themselves there; but either they perish there for want of food, or, by a speedier despatch, a dash of rain washes them off that deck. Others, it may be, hoped to prevail with Noah for admission into the ark, and pleaded old acquaintance, Have we not eaten and drunk in thy presence? Hast thou not taught in our streets? "Yes," might Noah say, "that I have, many a time, to little purpose. I called but you refused; you set at nought all my counsel (Prov. i. 24, 25), and now it is not in my power to help you: God has shut the door, and I cannot open it." Thus it will be at the great day. Neither climbing high in an outward profession, nor claiming relation to good people, will bring men to heaven, Matt. vii. 22; xxv. 8, 9. Those that are not found in Christ, the ark, are certainly undone, undone for ever; salvation itself cannot save them. See Isa. x. 3. (3.) We may suppose that some of those that perished in the deluge had themselves assisted Noah, or were employed by him, in the building of the ark, and yet were not so wise as by repentance to secure themselves a place in it. Thus wicked ministers, though they may have been instrumental to help others to heaven, will themselves be thrust down to hell.

Let us now pause awhile and consider this tremendous judgment! Let our hearts meditate terror, the terror of this destruction. Let us see, and say, It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God; who can stand before him when he is angry? Let us see and say, It is an evil thing, and a bitter, to depart from God. The sin of sinners will, without repentance, be their ruin, first or last; if God be true, it will. Though hand join in hand, yet the wicked shall not go unpunished. The righteous God knows how to bring a flood upon the world of the ungodly, 2 Pet. ii. 5. Eliphaz appeals to this story as a standing warning to a careless world (Job xxii. 15, 16), Hast thou marked the old way, which wicked men have trodden, who were cut down out of time, and sent into eternity, whose foundation was overflown with the flood?

II. The special preservation of Noah and his family: Noah only remained alive, and those that were with him in the ark, v. 23. Observe, 1. Noah lives. When all about him were monuments of justice, thousands falling on his right hand and ten thousands on his left, he was a monument of mercy. Only with his eyes might he behold and see the reward of the wicked, Ps. xci. 7, 8. In the floods of great waters, they did not come nigh him, Ps. xxxii. 6. We have reason to think that, while the long-suffering of God waited, Noah not only preached to, but prayed for, that wicked world, and would have turned away the wrath; but his prayers return into his own bosom, and are answered only in his own escape, which is plainly referred to, Ezek. xiv. 14, Noah, Daniel, and Job, shall but deliver their own souls. A mark of honour shall be set on intercessors. 2. He but lives. Noah remains alive, and this is all; he is, in effect, buried alive—cooped up in a close place, alarmed with the terrors of the descending rain, the increasing flood, and the shrieks and outcries of his perishing neighbours, his heart overwhelmed with melancholy thoughts of the desolations made. But he comforts himself with this, that he is in the way of duty and in the way of deliverance. And we are taught (Jer. xlv. 4, 5) that when desolating judgments are abroad we must not seek great nor pleasant things to ourselves, but reckon it an unspeakable favour if we have our lives given us for a prey.

The Earth Becomes Dry. (b. c. 2349.)

1 And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged;   2 The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;   3 And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.

Here is, I. An act of God's grace: God remembered Noah and every living thing. This is an expression after the manner of men; for not any of his creatures (Luke xii. 6), much less any of his people, are forgotten of God, Isa. xlix. 15, 16. But, 1. The whole race of mankind, except Noah and his family, was now extinguished, and driven into the land of forgetfulness, to be remembered no more; so that God's remembering Noah was the return of his mercy to mankind, of whom he would not make a full end. It is a strange expression, Ezek. v. 13, When I have accomplished my fury in them, I will be comforted. The demands of divine justice had been answered by the ruin of those sinners; he had eased him of his adversaries (Isa. i. 24), and now his spirit was quieted (Zech. vi. 8), and he remembered Noah and every living thing. He remembered mercy in wrath (Hab. iii. 2), remembered the days of old (Isa. lxiii. 11), remembered the holy seed, and then remembered Noah. 2. Noah himself, though one that had found grace in the eyes of the Lord, yet seemed to be forgotten in the ark, and perhaps began to think himself so; for we do not find that God had told him how long he should be confined and when he should be released. Very good men have sometimes been ready to conclude themselves forgotten of God, especially when their afflictions have been unusually grievous and long. Perhaps Noah, though a great believer, yet when he found the flood continuing so long after it might reasonably be presumed to have done its work, was tempted to fear lest he that shut him in would keep him in, and began to expostulate. How long wilt thou forget me? But at length God returned in mercy to him, and this is expressed by remembering him. Note, Those that remember God shall certainly be remembered by him, how desolate and disconsolate soever their condition may be. He will appoint them a set time and remember them, Job xiv. 13. 3. With Noah, God remembered every living thing; for, though his delight is especially in the sons of men, yet he rejoices in all his works, and hates nothing that he has made. He takes special care, not only of his people's persons, but of their possessions—of them and all that belongs to them. He considered the cattle of Nineveh, Jon. iv. 11.

II. An act of God's power over wind and water, both of which are at his beck, though neither of them is under man's control. Observe,

1. He commanded the wind, and said to that, Go, and it went, in order to the carrying off of the flood: God made a wind to pass over the earth. See here, (1.) What was God's remembrance of Noah: it was his relieving him. Note, Those whom God remembers he remembers effectually, for good; he remembers us to save us, that we may remember him to serve him. (2.) What a sovereign dominion God has over the winds. He has them in his fist (Prov. xxx. 4) and brings them out of his treasuries, Ps. cxxxv. 7. He sends them when, and whither, and for what purposes, he pleases. Even stormy winds fulfil his word, Ps. cxlviii. 8. It should seem, while the waters increased, there was no wind; for that would have added to the toss of the ark; but now God sent a wind, when it would not be so troublesome. Probably, it was a north wind, for that drives away rain. However, it was a drying wind, such a wind as God sent to divide the Red Sea before Israel, Exod. xiv. 21.

2. He remanded the waters, and said to them, Come, and they came. (1.) He took away the cause. He sealed up the springs of those waters, the fountains of the great deep, and the windows of heaven. Note, [1.] As God has a key to open, so he has a key to shut up again, and to stay the progress of judgments by stopping the causes of them: and the same hand that brings the desolation must bring the deliverance; to that hand therefore our eye must ever be. He that wounds is alone able to heal. See Job xii. 14, 15. [2.] When afflictions have done the work for which they are sent, whether killing work or curing work, they shall be removed. God's word shall not return void, Isa. lv. 10, 11. (2.) Then the effect ceased; not all at once, but by degrees: The waters abated (v. 1), returned from off the earth continually, Heb. they were going and returning (v. 3), which denotes a gradual departure. 65 The heat of the sun exhaled much, and perhaps the subterraneous caverns soaked in more. Note, As the earth was not drowned in a day, so it was not dried in a day. In the creation, it was but one day's work to clear the earth from the waters that covered it, and to make it dry land; nay, it was but half a day's work, ch. i. 9, 10. But, the work of creation being finished, this work of providence was effected by the concurring influence of second causes, yet thus enforced by the almighty power of God. God usually works deliverance for his people gradually, that the day of small things may not be despised, nor the day of great things despaired of, Zech. iv. 10. See Prov. iv. 18.

4 And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.   5 And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.

Here we have the effects and evidences of the ebbing of the waters. 1. The ark rested. This was some satisfaction to Noah, to feel the house he was in upon firm ground, and no longer movable. It rested upon a mountain, whither it was directed, not by Noah's prudence (he did not steer it), but by the wise and gracious providence of God, that it might rest the sooner. Note, God has times and places of rest for his people after their tossings; and many a time he provides for their seasonable and comfortable settlement without their own contrivance and quite beyond their own foresight. The ark of the church, though sometimes tossed with tempests, and not comforted (Isa. liv. 11), yet has its rests, Acts ix. 31. 2. The tops of the mountains were seen, like little islands, appearing above the water. We must suppose that they were seen by Noah and his sons; for there were none besides to see them. It is probable that they had looked through the window of the ark every day, like the longing mariners, after a tedious voyage, to see if they could discover land, or as the prophet's servant (1 Kings xviii. 43, 44), and at length they spy ground, and enter the day of the discovery in their journal. They felt ground above forty days before they saw it, according to Dr. Lightfoot's computation, whence he infers that, if the waters decreased proportionably, the ark drew eleven cubits in water.

6 And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:   7 And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.   8 Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;   9 But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.   10 And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;   11 And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.   12 And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.

We have here an account of the spies which Noah sent forth to bring him intelligence from abroad, a raven and a dove. Observe here,

I. That though God had told Noah particularly when the flood would come, even to a day (ch. vii. 4), yet he did not give him a particular account by revelation at what times, and by what steps, it should go away, 1. Because the knowledge of the former was necessary to his preparing the ark, and settling himself in it; but the knowledge of the latter would serve only to gratify his curiosity, and the concealing of it from him would be the needful exercise of his faith and patience. And, 2. He could not foresee the flood, but by revelation; but he might, by ordinary means, discover the decrease of it, and therefore God was pleased to leave him to the use of them.

II. That though Noah by faith expected his enlargement, and by patience waited for it, yet he was inquisitive concerning it, as one that thought it long to be thus confined. Note, Desires of release out of trouble, earnest expectations of it, and enquiries concerning its advances towards us, will very well consist with the sincerity of faith and patience. He that believes does not make haste to run before God, but he does make haste to go forth to meet him, Isa. xxviii. 16. Particularly, 1. Noah sent forth a raven through the window of the ark, which went forth, as the Hebrew phrase is, going forth and returning, that is, flying about, and feeding on the carcases that floated, but returning to the ark for rest; probably not in it, but upon it. This gave Noah little satisfaction; therefore, 2. He sent forth a dove, which returned the first time with no good news, but probably wet and dirty; but, the second time, she brought an olive-leaf in her 66 bill, which appeared to be first plucked off, a plain indication that now the trees, the fruit-trees, began to appear above water. Note here, (1.) That Noah sent forth the dove the second time seven days after the first time, and the third time was after seven days too; and probably the first sending of her out was seven days after the sending forth of the raven. This intimates that it was done on the sabbath day, which, it should seem, Noah religiously observed in the ark. Having kept the sabbath in a solemn assembly of his little church, he then expected special blessings from heaven, and enquired concerning them. Having directed his prayer, he looked up, Ps. v. 3. (2.) The dove is an emblem of a gracious soul, which finding no rest for its foot, no solid peace or satisfaction in this world, this deluged defiling world, returns to Christ as to its ark, as to its Noah. The carnal heart, like the raven, takes up with the world, and feeds on the carrions it finds there; but return thou to thy rest, O my soul, to thy Noah, so the word is, Ps. cxvi. 7. O that I had wings like a dove, to flee to him! Ps. lv. 6. And as Noah put forth his hand, and took the dove, and pulled her in to him, into the ark, so Christ will graciously preserve, and help, and welcome, those that fly to him for rest. (3.) The olive-branch, which was an emblem of peace, was brought, not by the raven, a bird of prey, nor by a gay and proud peacock, but by a mild, patient, humble dove. It is a dove-like disposition that brings into the soul earnests of rest and joy. (4.) Some make these things an allegory. The law was first sent forth like the raven, but brought no tidings of the assuaging of the waters of God's wrath, with which the world of mankind was deluged; therefore, in the fulness of time, God sent forth his gospel, as the dove, in the likeness of which the Holy Spirit descended, and this presents us with an olive-branch and brings in a better hope.

13 And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.   14 And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.

Here is, 1. The ground dry (v. 13), that is, all the water carried off it, which, upon the first day of the first month (a joyful new-year's-day it was), Noah was himself an eye-witness of. He removed the covering of the ark, not the whole covering, but so much as would suffice to give him a prospect of the earth about it; and a most comfortable prospect he had. For behold, behold and wonder, the face of the ground was dry. Note, (1.) It is a great mercy to see ground about us. Noah was more sensible of it than we are; for mercies restored are much more affecting than mercies continued. (2.) The divine power which now renewed the face of the earth can renew the face of an afflicted troubled soul and of a distressed persecuted church. He can make dry ground to appear even where it seemed to have been lost and forgotten, Ps. xviii. 16. 2. The ground dried (v. 14), so as to be a fit habitation for Noah. Observe, Though Noah saw the ground dry the first day of the first month, yet God would not suffer him to go out of the ark till the twenty-seventh day of the second month. Perhaps Noah, being somewhat weary of his restraint, would have quitted the ark at first; but God, in kindness to him, ordered him to stay so much longer. Note, God consults our benefit rather than our desires; for he knows what is good for us better than we do for ourselves, and how long it is fit our restraints should continue and desired mercies should be delayed. We would go out of the ark before the ground is dried: and perhaps, if the door be shut, are ready to remove the covering, and to climb up some other way; but we should be satisfied that God's time of showing mercy is certainly the best time, when the mercy is ripe for us and we are ready for it.

15 And God spake unto Noah, saying,   16 Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee.   17 Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.   18 And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him:   19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.

Here is, I. Noah's dismission out of the ark, v. 15-17. Observe, 1. Noah did not stir till God bade him. As he had a command to go into the ark (ch. vii. 1), so, how tedious soever his confinement there was, he would wait for a command to go out of it again. Note, We must in all our ways acknowledge God, and set him before us in all our removes. Those only go under God's protection that follow God's direction and submit to his government. Those that steadily adhere to God's word as their rule, and are guided by his grace as their principle, and take hints from his providence to assist 67 them in their application of general directions to particular cases, may in faith see him guiding their motions in their march through this wilderness. 2. Though God detained him long, yet at last he gave him his discharge; for the vision is for an appointed time, and at the end it shall speak, it shall speak truth (Hab. ii. 3), it shall not lie. 3. God had said, Come into the ark which he says, not, Come forth, but, Go forth, which intimates that God, who went in with him, staid with him all the while, till he sent him out safely; for he has said, I will not leave thee. 4. Some observe that, when they were ordered into the ark, the men and the women were mentioned separately (ch. vi. 18): Thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives; hence they infer that, during the time of mourning, they were apart, and their wives apart, Zech. xii. 12. But now God did as it were new-marry them, sending out Noah and his wife together, and his sons and their wives together, that they might be fruitful and multiply. 5. Noah was ordered to bring the creatures out with him, that having taken the care of feeding them so long, and been at so much pains about them, he might have the honour of leading them forth by their armies, and receiving their homage.

II. Noah's departure when he had his dismission. As he would not go out without leave, so he would not, out of fear or humour, stay in when he had leave, but was in all points observant of the heavenly vision. Though he had been now a full year and ten days a prisoner in the ark, yet when he found himself preserved there, not only for a new life, but for a new world, he saw no reason to complain of his long confinement. Now observe, 1. Noah and his family came out alive, though one of them was a wicked Ham, whom, though he escaped the flood, God's justice could have taken away by some other stroke. But they are all alive. Note, When families have been long continued together, and no breaches made among them, it must be looked upon as a distinguishing favour, and attributed to the Lord's mercies. 2. Noah brought out all the creatures that went in with him, except the raven and the dove, which, probably, were ready to meet their mates at their coming out. Noah was able to give a very good account of his charge; for of all that were given to him he had lost none, but was faithful to him that appointed him, pro hac vice—on this occasion, high steward of his household.

Noah's Sacrifice. (b. c. 2348.)

20 And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.   21 And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.   22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Here is, I. Noah's thankful acknowledgment of God's favour to him, in completing the mercy of his deliverance, v. 20. 1. He built an altar. Hitherto he had done nothing without particular instructions and commands from God. He had a particular call into the ark, and another out of it; but, altars and sacrifices being already of divine institution for religious worship, he did not stay for a particular command thus to express his thankfulness. Those that have received mercy from God should be forward in returning thanks, and do it not of constraint, but willingly. God is pleased with free-will offerings, and praises that wait for him. Noah was now turned out into a cold and desolate world, where, one would have thought, his first care would have been to build a house for himself; but, behold, he begins with an altar for God: God, that is the first, must be first served; and he begins well that begins with God. 2. He offered a sacrifice upon his altar, of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl—one, the odd seventh that we read of, ch. vii. 2, 3. Here observe, (1.) He offered only those that were clean; for it is not enough that we sacrifice, but we must sacrifice that which God appoints, according to the law of sacrifice, and not a corrupt thing. (2.) Though his stock of cattle was so small, and that rescued from ruin at so great an expense of care and pains, yet he did not grudge to give God his dues out of it. He might have said, "Have I but seven sheep to begin the world with, and must one of these seven be killed and burnt for sacrifice? Were it not better to defer it till we have greater plenty?" No, to prove the sincerity of his love and gratitude, he cheerfully gives the seventh to his God, as an acknowledgment that all was his, and owing to him. Serving God with our little is the way to make it more; and we must never think that wasted with which God is honoured. (3.) See here the antiquity of religion: the first thing we find done in the new world was an act of worship, Jer. vi. 16. We are now to express our thankfulness, not by burnt-offerings, but by the sacrifices of praise and the sacrifices of righteousness, by pious devotions and a pious conversation.

II. God's gracious acceptance of Noah's thankfulness. It was a settled rule in the patriarchal age: If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? Noah was so. For,

1. God was well pleased with the 68 performance, v. 21. He smelt a sweet savour, or, as it is in the Hebrew, a savour of rest, from it. As, when he had made the world at first on the seventh day, he rested and was refreshed, so, now that he had new-made it, in the sacrifice of the seventh he rested. He was well pleased with Noah's pious zeal, and these hopeful beginnings of the new world, as men are with fragrant and agreeable smells; though his offering was small, it was according to his ability, and God accepted it. Having caused his anger to rest upon the world of sinners, he here caused his love to rest upon this little remnant of believers.

2. Hereupon, he took up a resolution never to drown the world again. Herein he had an eye, not so much to Noah's sacrifice as to Christ's sacrifice of himself, which was typified and represented by it, and which was indeed an offering of a sweet-smelling savour, Eph. v. 2. Good security is here given, and that which may be relied upon,

(1.) That this judgment should never be repeated. Noah might think, "To what purpose should the world be repaired, when, in all probability, for the wickedness of it, it will quickly be in like manner ruined again?" "No," says God, "it never shall." It was said (ch. vi. 6), It repented the Lord that he had made man; now here he speaks as if it repented him that he had destroyed man: neither means a change of his mind, but both a change of his way. It repented him concerning his servants, Deut. xxxii. 36. Two ways this resolve is expressed:—[1.] I will not again curse the ground, Heb. I will not add to curse the ground any more. God had cursed the ground upon the first entrance of sin (ch. iii. 17), when he drowned it he added to that curse; but now he determines not to add to it any more. [2.] Neither will I again smite any more every living thing; that is, it was determined that whatever ruin God might bring upon particular persons, or families, or countries, he would never again destroy the whole world till the day shall come when time shall be no more. But the reason of this resolve is very surprising, for it seems the same in effect with the reason given for the destruction of the world: Because the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth, ch. vi. 5. But there is this difference—there it is said, The imagination of man's heart is evil continually, that is, "his actual transgressions continually cry against him;" here it is said, It is evil from his youth or childhood. It is bred in the bone; he brought it into the world with him; he was shapen and conceived in it. Now, one would think it should follow, "Therefore that guilty race shall be wholly extinguished, and I will make a full end." No, "Therefore I will no more take this severe method; for," First, "He is rather to be pitied, for it is all the effect of sin dwelling in him; and it is but what might be expected from such a degenerate race: he is called a transgressor from the womb, and therefore it is not strange that he deals so very treacherously," Isa. xlviii. 8. Thus God remembers that he is flesh, corrupt and sinful, Ps. lxxviii. 39. Secondly, "He will be utterly ruined; for, if he be dealt with according to his deserts, one flood must succeed another till all be destroyed." See here, 1. That outward judgments, though they may terrify and restrain men, yet cannot of themselves sanctify and renew them; the grace of God must work with those judgments. Man's nature was as sinful after the deluge as it had been before. 2. That God's goodness takes occasion from man's sinfulness to magnify itself the more; his reasons of mercy are all drawn from himself, not from any thing in us.

(2.) That the course of nature should never be discontinued (v. 22): "While the earth remaineth, and man upon it, there shall be summer and winter (not all winter as had been this last year), day and night," not all night, as probably it was while the rain was descending. Here, [1.] It is plainly intimated that this earth is not to remain always; it, and all the works in it, must shortly be burnt up; and we look for new heavens and a new earth, when all these things must be dissolved. But, [2.] As long as it does remain God's providence will carefully preserve the regular succession of times and seasons, and cause each to know its place. To this we owe it that the world stands, and the wheel of nature keeps it track. See here how changeable the times are and yet how unchangeable. First, The course of nature always changing. As it is with the times, so it is with the events of time, they are subject to vicissitudes—day and night, summer and winter, counterchanged. In heaven and hell it is not so, but on earth God hath set the one over against the other. Secondly, Yet never changed. It is constant in this inconstancy. These seasons have never ceased, nor shall cease, while the sun continued such a steady measurer of time and the moon such a faithful witness in heaven. This is God's covenant of the day and of the night, the stability of which is mentioned for the confirming of our faith in the covenant of grace, which is no less inviolable, Jer. xxxiii. 20, 21. We see God's promises to the creatures made good, and thence may infer that his promises to all believers shall be so.




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