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bidden them build the ark for their safety, would never make it the means of their destruction.
"And God remembered Noah," and in Noah He remembered his covenant. In that ark was the promised seed of the woman, there was the father of the forefathers of the mother of our Lord. And therefore it was needful that mankind should once more replenish the earth, that a Saviour might be born, and be put to death, for our redemption. And therefore also did God remember, for Noah's sake, "every living thing that was with him in the ark." God had but to remember, and the flood was stayed. God had but to desire it, and "the waters asswaged." Those from below ceased to burst forth. Those from above ceased to pour down. And a wind was made to pass over the earth such as caused each to return unto their place. "The waters were abated." "The ark rested." The waters continued to decrease. The tops of the mountains were seen. God works by means; but He who makes the means, could, if He thought fit, work the effect without them. Little then can it concern us to enquire, how the waters were abated by the wind, whence they came, or whither they returned. It is enough for us to know, that He who created all things for his pleasure, having destroyed the earth by a flood, did in his good time make the flood to cease, and the dry land once more appear.
And now many an impatient soul would have been eager to rush out of the ark, and to enjoy what is falsely called liberty, the being free when God would have us be confined. But God had not yet commanded Noah to go out; and therefore he waited contentedly within. And yet, contented though we ought to be in the tabernacle of the flesh, as long as God is pleased to have us live on earth, yea and also thankful for whatsoever restraints it pleases Him to lay upon us therein, yet we may do well with Noah to look out for a better state, to open our window, God's word, and see, are we or are we not yet meet for heaven? to send forth those winged messengers, our prayers, and ask, "Lord, let me know mine end, and the number of my days," Ps. 39. 5, say shall I flee away and be at rest, when shall I be with Thee for ever? Noah, whilst he waited for God's commands, used the most fitting means he could devise for his own information and guidance. In the great change which we expect, let us spare no pains to learn whither we are going, and to secure that we may go whither we could wish. But we must at the same time look to God for our direction by the way. And when the time of our deliverance shall arrive, it is to Him that we must say, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace." Luke 2. 29.
Noah goeth forth out of the ark; offereth sacrifice to the Lord.
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. 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
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.
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.
How we ought to offer thanksgiving to God.
It was nearly a year since the flood began to prevail, and nearly half a year since the waters had been assuaging, when Noah "removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry." And yet he waited a whole month and twenty seven days more, until the earth was thoroughly dried. For not till then did God speak unto him, "saying, Go forth of the ark." "And Noah went forth." How pleasant it is to place the commandment of God, and the obedience of his servant, thus close together! How profitable would Noah's example be to us, if we would hence learn to go whithersoever God bids us go, as well as to wait whensoever God bids us wait. Patience and contentedness under the dispensations of God, form but half our duty. Zeal and activity in God's service, these ought we to exercise continually, and not neglect the others. "Arise therefore, and be doing," 1 Chron. 22. 16, as David said to Solomon, when he would urge him to begin building the temple at Jerusalem. Be
not slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. See Rom. 12. 11. "Thou and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee." See that thy whole family is engaged in well doing. "Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee." Let no creature which God has placed at thy disposal be idle. And then the more they multiply, and the more thine own family is increased, God shall so much the more be glorified.
"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." As it was said before, in accommodation to our notions, that "God remembered Noah," so we see here that Noah had not forgotten God. Else he would have been more eager to prepare for his own comfort, than to offer an acknowledgment to God for his goodness; he would have built first his own abode, and afterwards "an altar unto the Lord." He would have reasoned that it would be waste, when there were but seven pair of each clean beast and fowl surviving, to slaughter one of each in sacrifice. But that is never wasted which is devoted to God's honour. And Noah knew, that the Lord to whom he offered these burnt offerings, had made all things out of nothing, and could replenish the earth with abundance of living creatures, by means of six pair, as readily as by seven. Let us remember, that the way to lay up treasure is to lend it to the Lord, by giving it unto those whom He commands us to relieve. Let us remember, when we have escaped from danger, ghostly or bodily, the first thing we have to do is to offer praise to God, even the fruit of our lips, giving thanks unto his name by Jesus Christ our Lord. See Heb. 13. 15. Christ is the Lamb without spot, whose death was foreshewn by the burnt offerings of old. He it was, who, as the apostle writes, "hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour." Eph. 5. 2. This was the sweet savour which arose from the burnt offerings of Noah. And it was for the sake of Christ in those offerings foreshewn, that we must suppose God to have resolved not again to curse the ground, as He had done in the flood, however evil the imaginations of man's heart might be. The seasons shall never be again confounded. All things shall continue as they were from the creation. But let not the wicked hereupon presume. This is only "while the earth remaineth." The earth will not remain for ever. "The heaven and the earth which are now," are but "kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." 2 Pet. 3. 7.
God blesseth Noah; and establisheth his covenant.
1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man.
6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made
7 And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.
8 And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,
9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;
10 And with every living creature that is with you, of the
fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.
11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.
We ought to value the tokens of the new covenant in Christ. These blessings of Noah appertain unto ourselves. is given the earth that we may replenish it; fill it with those who make it full of the praise of God. To us is given the dominion over all other living creatures in this our world, and we are
at liberty to use them for our food; "even as the green herb have I given you all things." Let us endeavour therefore to be thankful for God's abundant gifts. Let us out of thankfulness impart them, as far as lies in our power, to them that want.
Noah, and his sons, and their children after them, were forbidden to eat "flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof," or in other words, the flesh of animals so slain as that the blood remained in the flesh. And this prohibition is repeated and solemnly enforced in the law of Moses. And the reason there assigned is this, that blood was appointed to make atonement on the altar. See Lev. 17. 11. It signified beforehand the blood of Christ shed once for all for sin. And another reason for
not eating the blood of animals is suggested by the connexion of this command with the warning which follows against shedding the blood of man. Familiarity with the one might be apt to harden men to endure the notion of the other. And so sacred is
the image of God, so precious the life of man, and the blood on which his life depends, that even if a brute animal should slay a man it must be put to death. Much more if man knowingly and purposely lifts up his hand against his brother's life, much more must he surely die. How much then have they to answer for who promote wanton wars! How much have they need to repent of and amend, who live with a settled purpose in their minds that on the slightest provocation they would be ready, at the call of this world's honour, to fight even unto death!
God, when He would establish his covenant with Noah and his seed after him, and with every living creature that was with him, gives him the rainbow for a token to assure him, that what He promised that He would perform. His promise is, that He will not again destroy the earth, and his creatures on it, by a flood. This purpose of mercy He had before formed and uttered. Here He makes it matter of covenant. He reveals the promise, binds Himself in the most solemn manner to keep it; and gives us a sign to assure us of his keeping it. If this was needful to support mankind against the terrors of a flood, how much more did we need the like assurance against the power of satan and of sin! How much more precious unto us ought to be the tokens of the covenant which God has been pleased to make with us in the Gospel, that He will forgive our sins for Christ's sake, and give us grace, and receive us into heaven! Outwardly we have baptism and the Lord's supper. Inwardly we have the testimony of the Spirit. Let the bow in the cloud, whilst it certifies that "the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh" also remind us of those other tokens which assure us of life eternal. For thus saith the Lord by the prophet to his church; "as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee." Is. 54. 9.