Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

bylon; and having taken a wife, she conceived and bare him a son, named Enoch, after whom Cain called the City which he afterwards built. Enoch begat Irad; Irad begat Mehujael; Mehujael begat Methusael ; and Methusael begat Lamech. Of him the Scripture takes particular notice, and seems to point him out as the person who first introduced polygamy, for he married two wives, called Adah and Žillah. By the first he had two children : Jabel, who invented the use of tents, and the management of cattle ; and Jubal, who was the inventor of Musical Instruments. By his wife Zillah he had a son called TubalCain, who first discovered the art of working metals, and made armour and farlike weapons. This is the register of Cain's posterity for seven generations, which Moses might enumerate perhaps to shew who were the inven. tors of certain arts, and instrumental in corrupting the better seed of Adam. But of Cain's more immediate race," none were so eminently barbarous as Lamech; for his wives, knowing that all men hated him for his cruelty, were under great apprehensions for his personal safety; upon which to satisfy them, he boastingly said, that none could resist him, for he had murdered a man, though he was wounded ; and making himself secure to them, he tells them, that if Cain's death were to be avenged seven-fold, his would be seventy times seven, valuing himself upon more murders than Cain could. And thus much for the descendants of Cain, who were all swept away by the deluge. i i

Adam, being deprived of his pious son Abel, God was pleased to supply the loss by the gift of another, whom he named Seth; for, said Eve, “ God hath given me another " son instead of Abel whom Cain slew." This man had a son named Enos, of whom it is said that in his time men began to call upon the name of the Lord ; which may be understood of a public worship. * Through this

* Good men had always prayed to the Lord, both privately and socially in their families; but men being now multiplied, it is supposed that in the time of Enos,

public assemblies for the worship of Jehovah were first instituted, or at least re· markably revived. Others conceive that the words signify that then men began

Seth, Adam's line is by Moses continued in ten generations before the flood, with the age of each of those longlived fathers. Among these, in the seventh degree from Adam, lived Enoch, to whom this singular testimony and character was given, That God was so pleased with him, that he translated him immediately to heaven. Enoch* left behind him his son Methuselah, the longest lived of all the Patriarchs, and Lamech, the father of Noah, whose birth was congratulated with this prophetic rapture by his father, That he should prove a comfort to his family for the curse which the Lord had laid upon the earth: This prophecy was verified; for Noah, by his faith and piety, delivered the church, and preserved it from utter destruction.

By this time the world began to grow populous, and though Seth and his progeny for some ages were shy of conversing with Cain and his family, yet time wore off that aversion, and as the world grew more replenished with people, the generation of the righteous indulging themselves in too great a liberty, entertained a more free and familiar conversation with the wicked offspring of Cain, than was either proper or becoming. By which means having exposed themselves to the allurements of

to call (to invocate or pray) IN the name of the Lord—that is of the Lord (Jesas) the promised Messiah, the Mediator between God and man. Others think that public preaching began to be used—men began to call-proclaim-preach, in the name of the Lord. Some eminent revival of religion, however, seems plainly intended.

. * Enoch. From the New Testament we learn that “ before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God;" and St. Paul adds, Heb. xi. 9. “ that with“out faith it is impossible to please him.” It was by faith therefore, that he attained to such a high distinction; now, as faith has relation to a testimony; it cannot be doubted that he was acquainted with the way of reconciliation by the promised Redeemer, and embraced the promise, as the ground of his confidence towards God; nor can we conceive that he could be ignorant of the first coming of Christ, whose second appearance he predicted. (Jude, v. 14.) This faith of Enoch was accompanied, as true faith always is, by holiness of heart and life, which is emphatically called " walking with God." His translation to heaven, without sickness or death, was at once a high testimony of Divine approbation, and an early assurance to the world of a fuzure state.

their women, the lust of the eye prevailed upon the Sons of God * to intermarry with them. It is highly probable that the offspring of the righteous, who professed them. selves to be ihe Sons of God, were by this time much de. generated from the piety of their ancestors : for we find, immediately after, that God complained of the wickedness of man in general. But however depraved they were before this alliance with the wicked, their sins were soon multiplied and aggravated ; so that God, perceiving the cor. ruption to be general, and daily increasing, is said, (speaking aster the manner of men) to repent that he had made man on the earth, and to be grieved at his heart. But Noah, a man of singular eminence in piety, found favour in his sight, and for his sake, his family, consisting of eight persons, were exempted from the general destruction, which was soon to overwhelm mankind.

Of this approaching judgment, the merciful God gave warning long before he executed it; for though the wickedness of man was so great, that God said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man ; my justice provokes, my mercy intercerles ; I am at strife with myself, how to deal with this sinful generation : yet since man is also flesh, I will not sweep him away with a sudden destruction, I will yet give him time to return, and repent ; his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. The hundred † and twenty years are almost expired, the term

* By " the Sons of God,” we generally understand the posterity of Adam who persevered in the worship of Jehovah ; and by the daughters of men, the descend. ants of Cain, who were addicted to impiety and vice; and that the intermarriages of these soon destroyed the remains of religion and virtue, and so hastened on the general destruction : But it is not without reason that others conceive that by “the Sons of God," are signified persons of power or authority (and magistrates are called Gods, Psalm Ixxxii. 11.) who abusing their influence, took, that is by force, the daughters of men, (i. e. of the inferior ranks of society) and ravished them at their pleasure: and this seems to be the violence and corruption complained of Gen. vi. 11. &c. which a holy God so much resented, and so awfully punished.

+ Hundred, &c. This is a great instance of God's forbearance, and shews the difference between the mercy of God and that of man. For man seldom gives warning where he intends to strike ; and more seldom strikes, but where he in. tends to destroy. “Why dost thou give notice of thy Judgments thou art about

of reprieval is at hand : And yet they shall have a second warning. God was unwilling to destroy them yet, unless they would wilfully rush on their ruin ; for seven days hence, says he, I will cause it to rain forty days upon the earth. It will be seven days before it begin to rain, and it will continue forty days raining. If in that time they had turned from their evil ways, their doom probably had been reversed, as that of Nineveh afterwards was, at the preaching of Jonah. . ::

But before the hundred and twenty years were expired, God, seeing no amendment, declared to Noah his resolution to destroy all flesh from off the earth by a flood of waters ; but for the preservation of Noah and his family, and seed to replenish the depopulated earth, he com. manded him to build an ark *, or vessel of vast dimensions, to receive them, and some of all creatures. This ark God directed Noah to make of Gopher, (the Cedar or Cypress,) and to pitch it both within and without, that the water might not penetrate it. The length of it was to be four hundred and fifty feet, the breadth seventy-five, and the

" to execute ? That I may never execute those evils which I give notice of," saith St. Chrysostom, answering in the Lord's stead. And to the like purpose St. Jerom: • God, because he desires to punish no man, threatens them with his punishments « like a Father, and shakes his rod, because he has no mind to correct his children.”

Ark. Some of the ancients not thinking the ark, by these dimensions, spacious enough to contain all the creatures with their provision, &c. have extended this measure by the Geometrical Cubit; which would make the ark six times larger. But according to the computation of Bishop Wilkins and other learned men, it is plain that the ark was capable of containing all those creatures that came. Had we never seen a ship, and should be told how many men, and what provisions and merchandize one will carry, it would seem to us no less incredible, than what Moses tells of the contents of the ark. But the Geometricai calculation makes out, that they are both equally possible, and shews that Moses spoke truth. If the ark contained, as it is computed, 43,000 tons of lading, which is more than equal to 40 of our ships of 1000 tons each, and if ali the animals contained in the ark would not exceed the bulk of 500 horses, there would certainly be room enough and to spare. Peter Jansen, a Dutch Merchant, about the year 1600, caused a ship to be built according to the proportions of the ark, 120 feet long, &c. which was found to be admirably adapted for stowage and sailing:

height forty-five. There were three stories or decks in it ; the first and second were adapted to the use of the beasts and reptiles and the stowage of the necessary provi. sions, and the third, or upper one, was probably the resi. dence of Noah and his family, with the winged tribes. Every story might be divided into several parts; and there was a window above, or an opening, which went quite round to give light to the whole vessel; and the door, or entering port, was in the side.

Noah having received his directions how to make the ark, and an assurance from God, that though he destroyed all flesh beside, yet he would establish his covenant with him, finished the ark seven days before the rain began to fall. * All things being thus prepared, God gave notice to Noah to come into the ark with his family, and to take with him every living thing of all flesh, boih of cattle and beasts of the field, birds and fowls of the air, and creep. ing things, two of each sort, a male and a female ; to keep seed to stock the earth again. But of clean beasts, he was ordered to take them in by sevens, three pairs of males, and three of females, and the seventh for sacrifice. All which creatures, God, by a secret instinct, disposedt to come and offer themselves unto him; and he was also to take in food of all sorts, sufficient to sustain himself and - them.

[merged small][ocr errors]

* An inspired writer has taught us, (Heb. xi. 7.) that faith was the principle of Noah's obedience. “By faith Noah being warned of God of things' not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house, by which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." In full assurance that God would accomplish both the threatening and the promise, he sustained the labour of the immense undertaking, nobly braved the contempt of & scoffing world, and thus condemned its vice and unbelief.

+ Disposed. Some have questioned how Noah could bring all sorts of birds and beasts to one place? The question is ridiculous, considering it was not Noah that brought them, but God, by his secret Providence disposing them : Though it might justly be answered in the case of Noah alone, exclusive of God's power, That all sorts of creatures having been created in that country, some of every kind had remained there, which Noah, without any miracle, might have tamed some time before the flood; so that when the Deluge came on, they might naturally be brought to the ark at the time Noah shut it up. VOL. I.

E .

« AnteriorContinuar »