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was eaten until after the Flood. So little is revealed respecting five or six of the ten antediluvian fathers, that it is not certain, although it is generally concluded, that they were all good men. We have reason to think, they were all men of eminence, as well as of prudence and piety, in their day. And if not much is said, or known of them, it is the same now of many great and good men. But goodness is the only true greatness. One thing is certainly said of each one, except Enoch, and which will be said of us And he died. These men have been gone to Judgment above four thousand years; some near five thousand. And if they were pious men, as we suppose, however obscure may be their names on earth, they are not obscure in heaven. And there were giants in the earth in those days; mighty men, men of renown. The sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair, and they bare these giant children upon the earth. The sons of God are commonly thought to have been the children of pious Seth, and the daughters of men the children of wicked Cain, who intermarried after the world became corrupted. Grace, says Matthew Henry, does not run in the blood, but corruption does. A sinner begets a sinner, but a saint does not beget a saint.
Of Methuselah, Noah's grandfather, we only know that he was the oldest man that ever lived. He lived almost a thousand years. This was a great while for an immortal soul to inhabit a house of clay. But none can challenge life by a long proscription. Methuselah, or Mathusala, for the most of Hebrew names, though from the same root, are spelled differently in different parts of Scripture, Methuselah, the longest liver, carried death in his name. His name intimates the prophetic spirit of his father Enoch. He dieth, and water is sent forth. And Methuselah, it is supposed, died the very year in which the Flood came.
The last name in our line is that of Noah. Noah was destined to connect, or hinge together, two worlds. Noah, like Enoch, walked with God. But, in his days, the wickedness of man was great upon the earth; so great, that it grieved God that he had made man. He determined therefore to destroy him. "The time of God's pa-.
tience and forbearance toward provoking sinners is sometimes long, but always limited; reprieves are not pardons; though God bear a great while, he will not bear always.' Noah built the ark of the incorruptible gopher wood. It was five hundred feet long, and upwards. For a hundred and twenty years, after the threatening, was Noah preaching and building. The going on in building the ark was in itself a continued sermon. The daily sounds of the hammer were loud words. But they repented not. They mocked. The Flood came. The ark rode. It had no rudder. The angels guided it. The world was drowned, The ark rested on Ararat. And the covenant-bow spanned, and cheered the New Heavens and the New Earth. As Adam was the father of the first, so was Noah the father of the second world. Noah's three sons separated, and colonized the new world; all probably then of one complexion, unless the curse upon Canaan altered his colour. Nimrod, the grandson of Ham, and Noah's great-grandson, that mighty hunter before the Lord, built Babylon, and the Tower of Babel, and also, as most think, Nineveh, very soon after the Flood. Noah himself lived three hundred and fifty years after the Deluge. But human life was soon shortened, first to a hundred and twenty years; and in process of time, to our brief and melancholy three-score years and ten.
Noah was a type of Christ. As it was in the days of Noè, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man. The world was once drowned. It is next to be burned. When that time comes, and the stars shall fall like a shower of fire, Christ will be the only Ark of Safety.
It has been said, that the Old Testament ends with a Curse, and the New Testament with a Blessing. Then, if the Old Testament is a Paradise Lost, the New Testament is a Paradise Regained.
1. The name of Adam being placed at the Head of the line of mankind, forever confutes, to all who believe 13*
the Bible, the fabulous pretences of some nations to a race of people, who are said to have lived before Adam, called Præ-Adamites.
2. It is remarkable, and no compliment to human pride, that the history of above sixteen hundred and fifty years, even from Adam to the Flood; and which is compressed, and crowded, into the half a dozen chapters of Genesis, as we said; is the only true record in the world of the Antediluvian Ages. Such is Human Fame. And such is the inestimable value of these authentic sketches of the first historian, Moses.
3. As no one of these men died much short of eight hundred years old, and many of them lived longer than that term; and as all these patriarchs, except Noah, were born before Adam died; they, as we before intimated, might easily, and probably did, receive from his venerable lips, before he left the earth, the account of the Creation, which he had received, either from God himself, or an angel of God. Also of Eden, of the Fall, the promise, and the precepts of piety. These were thence transmitted down from one to another. And after Adam's death, they could be corrected by Methuselah, who had lived, and talked with Adam; and thus would they be naturally received and treasured up, as divine oracles, by Noah. And from Noah they could be, and doubtless were, dispersed out of the Ark, over the second world; and then, after a period of above eight hundred years from the Deluge, collected, and recorded, by the learned and inspired Moses. Thus doth God preserve the history of his Church.
4. We may assign some natural causes for the antediluvian longevity; such as the more healthful air, the more benign influence of the heavenly bodies, the comparatively paradisiacal state of the earth, and perhaps the superior medicinal knowledge of the plants. Yet, after all, the principal cause must be resolved into the preserving will and providence of God; in order thereby more speedily to populate the earth, and to promote the memory of religion.
5. We perceive that very small beginnings may produce very great and important ends, by the power and
blessing of God. And as all mankind, from Adam to Noah, and from Noah to Christ, and from Christ to Ourselves, are of one family, and therefore but brothers and sisters, more or less remotely related; we should feel that relationship in every person we meet, whether rich or poor, a foreigner or a native, and even whether virtuous or vicious; and strive to do good to each other, and ever to counsel, and sympathise with, and relieve each other, in the bonds of a kindred fellowship.
6. The translation of Enoch conspicuously showed the goodness of God. It was a reward for eminent piety, preserved in the midst of an ungodly world. It was an evidence of a future state. It foreshowed the resurrection of the body. It was a living sign to the patriarchal age. Adam, who talked with God, was dead. Noah, who was hereafter to converse with God, was not yet born. In the middle age, between these two, Enoch was taken to heaven by a miracle. And the subject, and the instruction conveyed, were worthy of a miracle.
7. Pious persons have no cause to regret an early removal from this world of sin. Abel and Enoch, the two most favoured of the antediluvian believers, were sooner taken from earth to heaven, than any others, whose names are left recorded.
If all mankind, of all ages, of all nations, of all languages, and of all complexions, have sprung, as it is revealed, from one common Father; how inconsistent, how cruel, how degrading to our species, and how worthy of all condemnation, both human and divine, are War and Slavery.
9. Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Though long delayed, the time came at last, the sentence was executed. Though the Antediluvians lived so long, they finally died. Not one escaped. In all their glory, in all their goodness, in all their wickedness, in all their ambition, both the heads and the branches, the fathers and the families, went down into the dust of Adam. Whether they lived a thousand, or a hundred years, is now nothing to them. They have made up their account. And we must soon make up ours. Such is the vanity of human life, even in its best, and longest existence. And such is
the importance of living that life well. If life be full of sorrow and sin, it is a blessing that our days are shortened, that we may the sooner prepare to enter into that rest, which remaineth for the people of God. For though man dies, God lives.
10. The Names alone remain. Such is the whole history, and often more than the whole history, of man. Man is born, bequeathes his own likeness, and dies. Millions on millions have died, and are daily dying, without so much as leaving behind them even a bare name, that they once lived. But, if they were good men, although their names be blotted out on earth, they will be found written on the white adamantine stone in heaven.
11. We have reason to believe that, in the World before the Flood, when men lived so long, and there were giants in the earth, there were many renowned men, and great achievements; and towns built, and battles fought; and vineyards planted, and arts invented, and cattle increased; but the particulars of these are all lost and buried in the flood of oblivion. This should remind us of the perishable tenure of men's doings; and lead our thoughts to that second destruction of human hopes, when the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll.
12. Lastly, As we are all descended from that one man Adam, by whom sin and death entered into the world, we should be sensible of our vileness and frailty; and strive to be habitually ready for the stroke of that sweeping scythe, which, in its swathe, cuts down both the dry stalk, and the green blade; and will so soon lay us all, side by side, upon the plain. And as all the incomputable myriads of men, which have peopled, and shall people the earth, through all past and passing generations, will ere long be summoned to the judgment seat of Christ; may we so walk faithful through this thorny wilderness, the Paradise Lost of the first Adam; that we may at death be ushered welcome into the Paradise Regained of the second Adam, who is the Lord from Heaven.