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of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.
30 And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters:
31 And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died.
32 And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
The honour of being related to Christ.
This chapter contains nearly all that is now known of the history of at least sixteen hundred years; at a period when in all probability the earth was as well peopled as it is now, or more so. They lived, they begat sons, they died; this is the sum of what remains on record. So little was there that we needed to know of all the actions of all those multitudes of mankind! God created Adam, gave him a help meet for him, bade them be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it. See ch. 1. 28. They and their children after them for several generations lived to ten times the length of life we usually attain to. And yet at length they died. "Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return," ch. 3. 19, was fulfilled in every instance except one. "Enoch walked with God and he was not; for God took him." Which is thus explained in the Epistle to the Hebrews: "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death." To which it is added that he was not found, because God had translated him," that is to say, taken him at once to heaven. "For before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." Heb. 11. 5. Then it was by faith that he pleased God. It is by faith that we must hope to be accepted of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
But besides the faith and the translation of Enoch, there was one circumstance which attached importance to every one of the names here mentioned, and which made them worthy of mention, when all the wisdom of the wise, and all the glory of the great, who lived before the flood, was allowed to perish in oblivion. They were fathers, after the flesh, of the promised Messiah. And this record of their genealogy, this "book of the generations of Adam," is of inestimable value, as a document whereby to prove the lineal descent of Jesus, through Noah and Seth to Adam. Other sons, and also daughters, they might have in abundance older or younger, more noted in the world for stature or for strength, for valour, wisdom, wealth, or victory. But neither these things, no, nor even piety towards God, nor charity to man, could ensure them a memorial in this ancient record, sacred to the names of those from whom our Lord descended. If it were so great a distinction to be amongst the forefathers of Jesus, how great ought to be our rejoicing in the title of his brethren; how diligent ought to be our care, and watchfulness, to walk worthy of our heavenly lineage, and never to do dishonour to our Lord!
The wickedness of mankind provoketh God's wrath.
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. 3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
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
5 And GoD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagina
tion of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
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.
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. 11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
How much we ought to feel concerned at sin.
The inhabitants of the earth before the flood seem to have been divided into two great classes, the children of God and the children of men; the former meaning those who through faith received the promises of a better life, the latter those who lived only to this present world. Such was the division amongst them of old. Such is the division amongst us at present. And as the intermarriage of these two classes led formerly to the universal reign of iniquity; so likewise the too easy conformity to the world, to which the devout amongst ourselves are often tempted, proves the fruitful source of the decay of piety and the prevalence of sin. The beauty of woman, and the renown of man, these are still the causes of manifold temptation. All that God has so richly provided for our comfort here, is made by Satan the occasion of our falling into misery here and hereafter. And when we ought to be admiring the Almighty Maker in the loveliness of his works, and acknowledging in all that is fair to the sight or pleasant to the sense, his goodness and kindness to ourselves, we are too apt to be taking only our own pleasure, too ready to be setting up our rest on earth, forgetful of our home eternal in the heavens.
And is not the result, such as might well make God once more repent that He had made man on the earth? Is not the wickedness of man, including all men now living, or confining ourselves only to Christian countries, or taking only our own, so highly privileged as it is, is not the wickedness of man now great on the earth? Are not the imaginations of the thoughts of man's heart still only evil continually? Are not they who through faith in Jesus walk with God, and please Him, few, compared with those who walk after their own will and do that which is abomination in his sight? Is there not more of covetousness than of bountifulness? Is there not more of selfishness than of selfdenial and charitableness? The love of money, the love of pleasure, the love of the world, the love of character in the world, eminence in the world, comfort in the world, not to mention the crying sins of more gross sensuality, are not these now more obviously prevalent, than the love of heaven, and the love of Christ, and the love of God? And shall these things grieve Him, and yet not grieve us? Shall He be ready to repent that He has made man, shall He destroy with a flood the world which He created, yea and threaten to destroy with endless fire those for whom Christ died, if they sin wilfully; and shall sin cost us no concern for others, no compunction for ourselves? Shall the earth be so nigh to be filled with impurity and violence, and all manner of iniquity, and we feel no shame for our past transgressions, no thankfulness for our respite and deliverance, no glowing ardour of affection to our Saviour, and of zeal to do Him service?
After the Lord had been moved to say, "My spirit shall not always strive with man;" He graciously resolved to spare the world yet "an hundred and twenty years." And when notwithstanding this warning and reprieve all flesh was corrupt before Him, yet "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." "Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." Have we been spared hitherto? Is it God's will to spare us yet a little longer? Let us use our opportunity to find grace in God's sight. Let us ask and we shall receive. Let us endeavour to stand justified by faith, through grace. Let us aim to become perfect, according to the commandment of our Lord, even as our Father which is in heaven is perfect. See Matt. 5. 48.
May God teach us, by his Holy Spirit, how best to walk with Him! May He restrain our hands from all violence, and purify our hearts from all corruption! And as He has been pleased to take us for his children, may He grant that we, "as dear children," may be "followers of God!" Eph. 5. 1.
God instructs Noah to build the ark.
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
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.
22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
God has established a covenant with us.
This is the first passage of Scripture in which God speaks of Himself as entering into covenant with man; "With thee will I establish my covenant." The expression is one which may well fill us with astonishment at the condescension of God, in connexion with our own unworthiness. Like many others which occur throughout the Scripture, it represents the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth, as influenced by feelings, or bound by considerations, similar to those which affect his creatures. This doubtless is thus ordered for our advantage, that all mankind, not only the best educated and most refined, but all, might be able to understand the Bible, all might be able to feel of God, that though He is far from being such an one as ourselves, yet He takes deep interest, and exercises continual controul, in all that concerns us his reasonable creatures.
And more especially does our heavenly Father look with the eye of watchful love upon those who in return for his affection give Him the true homage of their hearts. When his mercy towards others has to give place to the necessity of judgment, He has for these still deliverance in store. When all flesh, and the earth on which they dwelt, must needs be destroyed by a flood, He contrives for righteous Noah, and for his children, an ark pitched within and without, furnished with all things needful for their support during the continuance of the waters on the face of the earth, and supplied with a sufficiency of every kind of animals to stock the earth afresh when it should again be dry. But God not only made this merciful provision for Noah and his family; He also gave them notice of it beforehand. He assured them of safety by the means of it. And He commanded them to take the necessary steps themselves towards enjoying the benefits thus assured to them. And they also for their parts performed what God commanded; being aware that when God established his covenant, they were as much bound to discharge their duties therein specified, as He to fulfil his promises.
And thus it is with that better covenant, which it has pleased God to establish with ourselves. When all flesh had again corrupted itself upon the earth, He said to us, instead of "Make thee an ark of gopher wood," "Save yourselves from this untoward generation." Acts 2. 40. Would we know by what means we may be saved? He tells us plainly what is the fashion of that church wherein we may be borne safely through the waves of the world. It is "built on the foundation of the prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone." Eph. 2. 20. And the foundation has this seal, "The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." 2 Tim. 2. 19. And in this building there is room for great and small, for swift and slow, for "male and female." And there is provided milk for babes, and strong meat for men; yea food of which he that eats shall no more hunger, water of which he that drinks shall thirst no more. Only then let us follow the example of Noah; "according to all that God commanded him, so did he." Let us do according to all that God has commanded us. And we may rest most entirely assured, that according to all which God has promised, so will He perform.
O God, who hast established thy covenant with us, grant that we may so fulfil thy good pleasure, as to attain unto the enjoyment of thy glorious promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord.