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rare of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God (aid unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth *." The Spirit of God also alludes unto this sign, both in the Old and New Testament; and more than insinuates, that there is in it a reprefenta*
tion of the blessings of the New Covenant. *
The rain-bow is the reflection of the fun-beams through the clouds: In like manner, the Sun of Righteousness has made the splendor of his glory break through all the black clouds of sufferings and wrath which were spread over his face. He makes bright clouds of the darkest dispensations of his providence. Says a pious author, " See how the frowning clouds now smile with the o-lorious colours of the rain-bow, the cheerful token of God's covenant.—Such is the o-lorious transformation of a\\ our afflictions, by Jesus Chriil, O ye heirs of righteousness -f!" As the clouds of wrath spent all their force on the Sun of Righteousness; so his glor} broke through them, and the splendor of it secures bis people against
every future deluge.— The horns of this
bow are turned towards the earth., and the back of it towards heaven; nor are there any arrows in it, intimating, that, though it be a warlike instrument, yet it is not bent against men, neither has it any arrows in it to cut them
• Gen. ix. ia-»»t7. t M'fiwen on the Types.
off. off. Now God proclaims peace on earth, and good will towards men, instead of preparing the instruments of death for them, or placing
his (hafts against them. -He looks upon
this bow as a memorial of his covenant: "I will look on it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant." In like manner, he looks on the Redeemer, and remembers his promise to his people through him. Hence, the Church prays, " Behold, O God, our Shield; and look on the face of thine anointed*." And she btlieves, that, for his fake, He will remember his Covenant j".
FOURTHLY, The Occa S Ions of this Transaction must be considered in the next place. It was made about an hundred and twenty years after the former covenant with Noah. And that space of time was filled up with very wonderful providences, both of mercy anil judgment. : These afforded occasions for this covenant. The occasions were,
. • 'i.!.
j. Such as originated from the former feederal transaction. The former covenant was a testimony against the sensuality and violence of the old world; and this was a prosecution of that testimony. Tho' the sturdy rebels, who peopled the old world, were washed away by
* Psol. lxxxiv. 9.
f The Rey. Mr Ebenezer Erfkine's Sermon onJRev. iv. 3.
the the flood; yet, the seeds of rebellion against God were far from being washed away from mankind. This covenant, then, was requisite, that the advantages gained by the former might not be totally lost: That the Church might not be split on that (ame rock which proved so fatal to the old' world: That a testimony to the holiness of God, as directly contrary to their wicked measiires, both in its nature and operations, might not be suffered to fall unto the ground. The former covenant was extremely proper in view of an approaching flood; but not quite so suitable unto the circumstances of those who were but just delivered from one: Wherefore, if the fame desijm be earned on which had been advanced by the preceding -transaction} coVenant-renovation became highly expedient.
a. Such as originated in the care and love of God about his Church. The horrors of a Hood were unspeakably great j and the dread of it might be ready to haunt, eveu the very persons who escaped it. But, that they might not be swallowed up with too much terror, he was pleased to afford them a fresh proof of his paternal regard, by taking them of new into covenant with himself. They might justly have dreaded, that their sins would draw down a second deluge, had not this covenant secured them against any such disaster. As the former covenant took rise from Noah's finding grace in the eyes of the Lord; so this one originated in the fame source. "And the Lord smelled a tweet savour (viz. in ,the sacrifice of his Son, prefigured by that of Noah): And the Lord iiid in his heart," Sec. The acceptance of this sacrifice was a clear proof that God was gracious; and this covenant a further evidence of his arae'e. i
3. Such as took rife from the circumstances of the covenanters themselves. They had met with a special deliverance at God's hand; therefore, it was proper they should take this opportunity to testify their gratitude for the fame. Covenanting is a grateful return for mercies received: Wherefore, great deliverances call aloud for covenant-renovation. A simple repetition of former covenant-engagements could not sit their circumstances: The former covenant was adapted unto a suffering lot, whereas the Church was now in a prosperous condition. Thus, God has been pleased to display his wisdom in fitting his revelation to that particular state of the Church on which it was bestowed; and to dispose and enable her to correspondent returns.
FIFTHLY, We may now subjoin a few ReFlections on what has been observed.
1. We may learn the absurdity of confining the Noachic Covenant unto temporal things. It is readily granted, that is was among the darkest: of a dark œconomy of grace; but it cannot from thence follow, that it was no gracious dispensation at all. As Noah's faith law through a flood of water to a flood of wrath; so it saw deliverance from.the latter, in deliverance from the former like ways. And what did he consider as the meritorious cause of this deliverance? "What but the righteousness of faith? By this believing prospect he became an Heir Of The Righteousness Of Faith. The true key to understand thi* dispensation is, to consider God's dealing with his people, even about common and ordinary things, as emblematical of things spiritual and eternal: And the Apostle observes, the eleventh of the Hebrews throughout, that \hese things were not only capable of a secondary fense; that is, a spiritual one ; but that they had a spiritual, though emblematical sense put upon them, even in the Old Testament, and taken up by the faith of Old Testament saints; though the spiritual signification of these things is more copioufly unfolded, and more minutely delineated under the new and better œconomy. There are many in our day who maintain, that Christ and his Apostles did allegorize upon the carnal things of the Old Testament; but that the Old Testament had no such meaning in itself, nor .did the Old Testament saints take these thing-s in this view. But the Apostle does not declare what way Christ * O and