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7. The Flood

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. 2Of 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. 3Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. 4For 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. 5And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him. 6And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.

7And 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. 8Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, 9There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah. 10And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.

11In 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. 12And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. 13In 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; 14They, 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. 15And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. 16And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in. 17And 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. 18And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. 19And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. 20Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. 21And 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: 22All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. 23And 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. 24And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.

17. And the flood was forty days , etc. Moses copiously insists upon this fact, in order to show that the whole world was immersed in the waters. Moreover, it is to be regarded as the special design of this narrations that we should not ascribe to fortune, the flood by which the world perished; how ever customary it may be for men to cast some veil over the works of God, which may obscure either his goodness or his judgments manifested in them. But seeing it is plainly declared, that whatever was flourishing on the earth was destroyed, we hence infer, that it was an indisputable and signal judgment of God; especially since Noah alone remained secure, because he had embraced, by faith, the word in which salvation was contained. He then recalls to memory what we before have said; namely how desperate had been the impiety, and how enormous the crimes of men, by which God was induced to destroy the whole world; whereas, on account of his great clemency, he would have spared his own workmanship, had he seen that any milder remedy could have been effectually applied. These two things, directly opposed to each other, he connects together; that the whole human race was destroyed, but that Noah and his family safely escaped. Hence we learn how profitable it was for Noah, disregarding the world, to obey God alone: which Moses states not so much for the sake of praising the man, as for that of inviting us to imitate his example. Moreover, lest the multitude of sinners should draw us away from God; we must patiently bear that the ungodly should hold us up to ridicule, and should triumph over us, until the Lord shall show by the final issue, that our obedience has been approved by him. In this sense, Peter teaches that Noah’s deliverance from the universal deluge was a figure of baptism, (1 Peter 3:21;) as if he had said, the method of the salvation, which we receive through baptism, degrees with this deliverance of Noah. Since at this time also the world is full of unbelievers as it was then; therefore it is necessary for us to separate ourselves from the greater multitude, that the Lord may snatch us from destruction. In the same manner, the Church is fitly, and justly, compared to the ark. But we must keep in mind the similitude by which they mutually correspond with each other; for that is derived from the word of God alone; because as Noah believing the promise of God, gathered himself his wife and his children together, in order that under a certain appearance of death, he might emerge out of death; so it is fitting that we should renounce the world and die, in order that the Lord may quicken us by his word. For nowhere else is there any security of salvation. The Papists, however, act ridiculously who fabricate for us an ark without the word.

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