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restored again to Noah and his posterity after the flood? Whether this be the case or no, will soon appear upon a comparison of the blessings given to one and the other. To Adam and Eve God said, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, Gen. i. 28. To Noah and his sons he says, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, Gen. ix. 1. To our first parents it is said, Have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth on the earth, Gen. i. 28. To Noah and his sons it is said, The fear of you, and the dread of you, shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, and upon
all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all fishes of the fea: into your hand are they delivered. Gen. ix. 2.
To Adam and Eve are granted for food, every herh bearing feed—and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding feed, Gen. i. 29. Noah and his fons have a larger charter ; Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you ; even as the green herb have I given you all things, Gen. ix. 3.
The blessing upon the earth at the creation was, Let the earth bring forth grass, and herb yielding feed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, u hose seed is in itself upon the earth, Gen. i. 11. The blessing after the flood is, While the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest shall not cease, Gen. viii. 22. In the beginning, The lights in the firmament were af pointed to
divide the day from the night, and to be—for seasons, i and for days, and years, Gen. i. 14. After the flood,
the new blessing is, That cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease, Gen. viii. 22. Tell me now what is there bestowed in the first blessings, that is wanting in the second ? What more did Adam enjoy in his happiest days, what more did he forfeit in his worst, with respect to this life, than what is contained in these blessings? If he neither had more, nor loft more, all these blessings you see expressly restored to Noah and his posterity; and can you still believe that the curse upon the earth remains ?
All this laid together amounts, I think, to this; that the old curse upon the ground was finished and completed at the deluge. And when the whole sace of men, eight only excepted, were destroyed, the serpent had sufficiently bruised the heel of the woman's feed; and the time was come to relieve the world with respect to this part of the curse, so fully executed : accordingly a blessing is once more pronounced on the earth ; and a covenant of temporal prosperity confirmed to Noah, and by him to all mankind, making good the prophecy of his father at the time of his birth, This fame hall comfort us, &c.
You may think perhaps that we see but little effect of this new blessing; that the life of man is still labour and toil; that he still eats the bread of sorrow and carefulness in the sweat of his brow; and that the earth still abounds in thorns and thistles. Such complaints as these are but the effect of prejudice : men speak in this case as if they thought there were no thorns and thistles till after the fall, but that they were created on purpose to be a curse ; for if there were such things (as undoubtedly there were) before the fall, why should you expect to have them re. moved by the restoration of the earth ?
For what employment do you imagine man was made ? for a little sleep, a little Number, and a little folding of the hands to seep? Surely this was not the case: even in paradise it was Adam's business to dress and to keep the garden. How much labour this required, we cannot tell ; some it required without doubt. After the fall, labour increased and multiplied, and continued to be very burdensome unto the time of the flood : and God's promise of regular seasons after the flood seems to intimate that they were very irregular and confused before : which one circumstance will account for all the change we suppose. What the case was in the old world during the curse, may probably be collected from the curse denounced against Israel when disobedient: I will break the pride of their power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass : and your strength shall be spent in vain : for your land shall not gield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. Levit. xxvi. 19, 20.
There are serious writers who think that the earth was very much damaged and rendered less fertile by the flood : but is it not obvious to observe, that this judgment ought to be grounded on the knowledge, not only of the present state of the earth, but also of the state before the flood ? for whoever compares two things together, and judges upon that comparison, must be supposed to know them both; and yet it is certain that we know nothing of the antediluvian ftate, but this only, that it was a very bad one; which is not enough to support us in judging that the present state is a much worse.
We meet with frequent allufions to this covenant with Noah in later times, and later books of Scripture : the Son of Sirach tells us, That an everlasting covenant was made with him, xliv. 18. dictixou aiüvas, (Gr.) teftamenta seculi, (Vulg.) The covenant of the age was given him : for Noah was the father of the age,
and had the covenant of the age after the flood, in like manner as Christ was the father, and brought in the new covenant of the succeeding age.
The prophet Jeremiah introduces God appealing to his own fidelity in the execution of this first covenant, as a reason why he ought to be trusted and relied on for the performance of the second. If you can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night,--then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a fon to reign upon his throne, xxxiii. 20, 21. and ver. 25. In like manner the prophet Isaiah, This is as the waters of Noah unto me : for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; fo have I fworn that I would not be wrath with thee, nor rebuke thee, liv. 9. The fixty-fifth Pfalm seems to be a comment upon God's covenant with Noah : Thou makes the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice. Thou visitest the earth, and watereft it: -thou crowneft the year with thy goodness, and thy paths drop fatness.—The pastures are clothed with flocks; the vallies also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also fing. It seems also to be with reference to this covenant that the Psalmist appeals to God's faithfulness in the clouds, to his mercy established in the heavens, and to the moon, the faithful witness in heaven. Wisdom and power and goodness are shewn forth in the creation, but mercy and faithfulness relate to God's dealings with men: and when we hear of his faithfulness in the clouds, it naturally leads us to think of his promise for feed-time and harveft, for the former and the latter rain ; things evidently depending upon the government of the clouds.
During the age of this covenant, the character by which God was known, and applied to, was relative to this covenant, and the blessings of it; Unto God would I commit my cause, which doth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number : who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields, Job v. 8, 9, 10. Sing praise upon the harp unto our God, who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
the mountains. He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry, Psalm cxlvii. 7, 8, 9. Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his seafon : he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest, Jer. V. 24. To the same purpose, and with respect to the same times, the apostles Paul and Barnabas tell the people at Lystra, That God in times pas suffered all nations to walk in their own ways: nevertheless, he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness, Acts
Our blessed Saviour does likewise commend and extol the mercy of God in the works of this first covenant: He maketh his fun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the juft and on the unjuft. Which words are directly a comment upon the terms of Noah's covenant for fruitful seasons, which were to continue without being inter