« AnteriorContinuar »
intermarriages with them; as Gen. vi. 1, 2, and 4, “ And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair ; and they took them wives of all which they chose.—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 renown.” By the sons of God here, are doubtless meant the children of the church. It is a denomination often given them in Scripture. They intermarried with the wicked world, and so had their hearts led away from God; and there was a great and continual defection from the church. And the church of. God, that used to be a restraint on the wicked world, diminished exceedingly, and so wickedness went on without restraint. And Satan, that old serpent, the devil, that tempted our first parents, and set up himself as God of this world, raged exceedingly; and every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart was only evil continually, and the earth was filled with violence. It seemed to be deluged with wickedness now, as it was with water afterwards : and mankind in general were drowned in this deluge; almost all were swallowed up in it. And now Satan made a most violent and potent attempt to swallow up the church of God; and had almost done it. But yet God restored it in the midst of all this flood of wickedness and violence. He kept it up in that line of which Christ was to proceed. He would not suffer it to be destroyed, for a blessing was in it. The Lord the Redeemer was in this branch of mankind, and was afterwards to proceed from it. There was a particular family that was a root in which the great Redeemer of the world was, and whence the branch of righteousness was afterwards to shoot forth. And therefore, however the branches were lopped off, and the tree seemed to be destroyed; yet God, in the midst of all this, kept alive this root, by his wonderful redeeming power and grace, so that the gates of hell could not prevail against it.
Thus I have shown bow God carried on the great affair of redemption; how the building went on that God began after the fall, during this first period of the times of the Old Testament, viz., from the fall of man, till God brought the flood on the earth. And I would take notice upon it, that though the history which Moses gives of the great works of God during that space be very short; yet it is exceeding comprehensive and instructive. And it may also be profitable for us here to observe, the efficacy of that purchase of redemption that had such great effects even in the old world so many ages before Christ appeared himself to purchase redemption, that his blood should have such great efficacy so long before it was shed.
From the Flood to the calling of Abraham..
:- I PROCEED now to show how the same work was carried on through the second period of the Old Testament, that from the beginning of the flood till the calling of Abraham. For though that mighty, overflowing, universal deluge of waters overthrew the world ; yet it did not overthrow this building of God, the work of redemption. But this went on yet; and instead of being overthrown, continued to be built up, and was carried on to a further preparation for the great Savior's coming into the world, and working out redemption for his peo. ple. And here,
I. The flood itself was a work of God that belonged to this great affair, and tended to promote it. All the great and mighty works of God from the fall of man to the end of the world, are reducible to this work, and, if seen in a right view of them, will appear as parts of it, and so many steps that God has taken in order to it, or as carrying it on; and doubtless so great a work, so remarkable and universal a catastrophe, as the deluge was, cannot be excepted. It was a work that God wrought in order to it, as thereby God removed out of the way the enemies and obstacles of it, that were ready to overthrow it.
Satan seems to have been in a dreadful rage just before the flood, and his rage then doubtless was, as it always has been, chiefly against the church of God to overthrow it; and he had filled the earth with violence and rage against it. He had drawn over almost all the world to be on his side, and they listed under his banner against Christ and his church. We read, that the earth“ was filled with violence;" and doubtless that violence was chiefly against the church, in fulfilment of what was foretold, I will put enmity between thy seed and her seed. And their enmity and violence was so great, and the enemies of the church so numerous, the whole world being against the church, that it was .come to the last extremity. Noah's reproofs, and his preaching of righteousness, were utterly disregarded. God's Spirit had striven with them a hundred and twenty years, and all in vain ; and the church was almost swallowed up. It seems to have been reduced to so narrow limits, as to be confined to one family And there was no prospect of any thing else but of their totally swallowing up the church, and that in a very little time; and so wholly destroying that small root that had the blessing in it, or whence the Redeemer was to proceed.
And therefore God's destroying those enemies of the church by the flood, belongs to this affair of redemption : for it was one thing that was done in fulfilment of the covenant of grace, as it was revealed to Adam ; I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head.” This destruction was only a destruction of the seed of the serpent, in the midst of their most violent rage against the seed of the woman, and so delivering the seed of the woman from them, when in utmost peril by them.
We read of scarce any great destruction of nations anywhere in Scripture, but that one main reason given for it is, their enmity and injuries against God's church: and doubtless this was one main reason of the destruction of all nations by the flood. The giants that were in those days, in all likelihood, got themselves their renown by their great exploits against heaven, and against Christ and his church, the remaining sons of God that had not corrupted themselves.
We read that just before the world shall be destroyed by fire, the nations that are in the four quarters of the earth, shall gather together against the church as the sand of the sea, and shall go up on the breadth of the earth, and compass the camp of the saints above, and the beloved city; and then fire shall come down from God out of heaven, and devour them, Rev. xx. 8, 9. And it seems as though there was that which was very parallel to it, just before the world was destroyed by water. And therefore their destruction was a work of God that did as much belong to the work of redemption, as the destruction of the Egyptians belonged to the redemption of the children of Isreal out of Egypt, or as the destruction of Sennacherib's mighty army, that had compassed about Jerusalem to destroy it, belonged to God's redemption of that city from them.
By means of this flood, all the enemies of God's church, against whom that little handful had no strength, were swept off at once. God took their part, and appeared for them against their enemies, and drowned those of whom they had been afraid in the flood of water, as he drowned the enemies of Israel that pursued them, in the Red Sea.
Indeed God could have taken other methods to deliver his church: he could have converted all the world instead of drowning it; and so he could have taken another method than drowning the Egyptians in the Red Sea. But that is no argument, that the method that he did take, was not a method to show his redeeming mercy to them.
By the wicked world's being drowned, the wicked, the enemies of God's people, were dispossessed of the earth, and the whole world given to Noah and his family to possess in quiet; as God made room for the Israelites in Canaan, by casting out their enemies from before them. And God's thus taking the possession of the enemies of the church, and giving it all to his church, was agreeable to that promise of the covenant of grace, Psal. xxxvii. 9, 10, 11: “For evil doers shall be cut off ; but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall not be ; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
II. Another thing here belonging to the same work, was God's so wonderfully preserving that family of which the Redeemer was to proceed, when all the rest of the world was drowned. God's drowning the world, and saving Noah and his family, both were works reducible to this great work. The saving Noah and his family belonged to it two ways. As that family was the family of which the Redeemer was to proceed, and as that family was the church that he had redeemed, it was the mystical body of Christ that was there saved.
The manner of God's saving those persons, when all the world besides was so overthrown, was very wonderful and remarkable. It was a wonderful and remarkable type of the redemption of Christ, of that redemption that is sealed by the baptism of water, and is so spoken of in the New Testament, as 1 Pet. iii. 20, 21: “ Which sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water. The like figure whereunto, even baptism, doth also now save us, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God, by the resurrection of Jesus Chist.” That water that washed away the filth of the world, that cleared the world of wicked men, was a type of the blood of Christ, that takes away the sin of the world. That water that delivered Noah and his sons from their enemies, is a type of the blood that delivers God's church from their sins, their worst enemies. That water that was so plentiful and abundant, that it filled the world, and reached above the tops of the highest mountains, was a type of that blood, the sufficiency of which is so abundant, that it is sufficient for the whole world; sufficient to bury the highest mountains of sin. The ark that was the refuge and hiding place of the church in this time of storm and flood, was a type of Christ, the true hiding place of the church, from the storms and floods of God's wrath.
III. The next thing I would observe is, the new grant of the earth God made to Noah and his family immediately after the flood, as founded on the covenant of grace. The sacrifice of Christ was represented by Noah's building an altar to the Lord, and offering a sacrifice of every clean beast, and every clean fowl. And we have an account of God's accepting this sacrifice. And thereupon he blessed Noah, and established his covenant with him, and with his seed, promising to destroy the earth in like manner no more; signifying how that it is by the sacrifice of Christ that God's favor is obtained, and his people are in safety from God's destroying judginents, and do obtain the blessing of the Lord. And God now, on occasion of this sacrifice that Noah offered to God, gives him and his posterity a new grant of the earth; a new power of dominion over the creatures, as founded on that sacrifice, and so founded on the covenant of grace. And so it is to be looked upon as a diverse grant from that which was made to Adam, that we have Gen. i. 28: “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Which grant was not founded on the covenant of grace; for it was given to Adam while he was under the covenant of works, and therefore was antiquated when that covenant ceased. The first grant of the earth to Adam was founded on the first covenant; and therefore, when the first covenant was broken, the right conveyed to him by that first covenant was forfeited and lost. And hence it came to pass, that the earth was taken away from mankind by the flood: for the first grant was forfeited ; and God had never made another after that, till after the food. If the first covenant had not been broken, God never would have drowned the world, and so have taken it away from mankind : for then the first grant made to mankind would have stood good. But that was broken ; and so God after a while, destroyed the earth, when the wickedness of man was
But after the flood, on Noah's offering a sacrifice that represented the sacrifice of Christ, God in smelling a sweet savor, or accepting that sacrifice, as it was a representation of the true sacrifice of Christ, which is a sweet savor indeed to God, he gives Noah a new grant of the earth, founded on that sacrifice of Christ, or that covenant of grace which is by that sacrifice of Christ, with a promise annexed, that now the earth should no more be destroyed, till the consummation of all things; as you may see in Gen. viii. 20, 21, 22, and chap. ix. 1, 2, 3, 7. The reason why such a promise, that God would no more destroy the earth, was added to this grant made to Noah, and not to that made to Adam, was because this was founded on the covenant of grace, of which Christ was the surety, and therefore could not be broken. And therefore it comes to pass now that though the wickedness of man has dreadfully raged, and the earth has been filled with violence and wickedness thousands of times, and one age after another, and much more dreadful and aggravated wickedness than the world was full of before the flood, being against so much greater light and mercy; especially in these days of the gospel : yet God's patience holds out; God does not destroy the earth; his mercy and forbearance abide according to his promise ; and his grant established with Noah and his sons abides firm and good, being founded on the covenant of grace.
IV. On this God renews with Noah and his sons the covenant of grace, Gen. ix. 9, 10: “And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you, and with every living creature that is with you," &c.; which was the covenant of grace; which even the brute creation have this benefit of, that it shall never be destroyed again until the consummation of all things. When we have this expression in Scripture, my covenant, it commonly is to be understood of the covenant of grace. The manner of expression, “I will establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you,” shows plainly, that it was a covenant already in being, that had been made already,
and that Noah would understand what covenant it was by that denomination, viz., the covenant of grace.
V. God's disap,pointing the design of building the city and tower of Babel. This work of God belongs to the great work of redemption. For that building was undertaken in opposition to this great building of God that we are speaking of. Men's going about to build such a city and tower was an effect of the corruption that mankind were now soon fallen into. This city and tower was set up in opposition to the city of God, as the god that they built it to, was their pride. Being sunk into a disposition to forsake the true God, the first idol they set up in his room, was themselves, their own glory and fame. And as this city and tower had their foundation laid in the pride and vanity of men, and the haughtiness of their minds, so it was built on a foundation exceedingly contrary to the nature of the foundation of the kingdom of Christ, and his redeemed city, which has its foundation laid in humility.
Therefore God saw that it tended to frustrate the design of that great building that was founded, not in the haughtiness of men, but Christ's blood; and therefore the thing that they did displeased the Lord, and he baffled and confounded the design, and did not suffer them to bring it to perfection; as God will frustrate and confound all other buildings, that are set up in opposition to the great building of the work of redemption.
In the second chapter of Isaiah, where the prophet is foretelling God's setting up the kingdom of Christ in the world, he foretells how God will, in order to it, bring down the haughtiness of men, and how the day of the Lord shall be on every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, &c. Christ's kingdom is established, by bringing down every high thing to make way for it: 2 Cor. x. 4, 5, “ For the weapons of our warfare are mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God. What is done in a particular soul, to make way for the setting up of Christ's kingdom, is to destroy Babel in that soul.
They intended to have built Babel up to heaven. That building that is the subject we are upon, is a building that is intended to be built so high, that its top shall reach to heaven indeed, as it will to the highest heavens at the end of the world, when it shall be finished : and therefore God would not suffer the buildings of his enemies, that they designed to build up to heaven in opposition to it, to prosper. If they had gone on and prospered in building that city and tower, it might have kept the world of wicked men, the enemies of the church, together, as that was their design. They might have remained united in one vast, powerful city; and so they might have been too powerful for the city of God, and quite swallowed it up.
This city of Babel is the same with the city of Babylon; for Babylon in the original is Babel. But Babylon was a city that is always spoken of in Scripture as chiefly opposite to the city of God. Babylon, and Jerusalem, or Zion, are often opposed to each other, both in the Old Testament and New. This city was a powerful and terrible enemy to the city of God afterwards, notwithstanding this great check put to the building of it in the beginning. But it might have been, and probably would have been vastly more powerful, and able to vex and destroy the church of God, if it had not been thus checked. 9 Thus it was in kindness to his church in the world, and in prosecution of the great design of redemption, that God put a stop to the building of the city
and tower of Babel. . VI. The dispersing of the nations, and dividing the earth among its inhabit.