Page images

While the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease.

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

And the fear of you, and the dread of you shall be upon 'every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and

upon all the fishes of the sea, into your hand are they delivered.

Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you ; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall you not eat.

And surely your blood of your lives will I require: at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man;

at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man.

Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed : for in the image of God made he man.

And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply, bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.

And God spake unto Noah and to his sons with him, saying

And I, behold I establish my covenant with you, and with

And with every living creature that is with you

of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with

you, from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. And I will establish my covenant with you;

neither shall all flesh' be cut off any more by the waters of a flood, neithir shall there any more be a food to de. stroy the carth,


seed after you.


And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations.

I do set my bow in the cload, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud.

And I will remember my covenant which is between me and yoy, and every living creature of all flesh, and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

And the bow shall be in the cloud ; and I will look upon it; that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all desh that is upon the earth.

And the sons of Noah that went forth of the ark were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan.

These are the three sons of Noah : and of them was the whole earth overspread.

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. We may judge that it was an essential part of religion to offer sacrifices to the LORD God, by Noah's having recourse to them imicdiately after he left the Ark; and we may conclude, from the expression The LORD smelled a sweet savour, which is a figurative mode of speaking, that they were acceptable.

When Adam was first created and placed in Eden, he had several blessings and privileges conferred on him of God; these were forfeited at the Fall; but we here find these very blessings restored to human-kind in Noah and his posterity, Be fruitful and multiply, &c. *.

* Compare Gen, i. 28. with the passage under consideration.


It is impossible to ascertain the exact state of the earth from the Fall to the Flood ; but we have great reason to suppose, tat it required much harder labour to cul. tivate it, than at present, especially before man assisted by beasts Labour in fact is no longer a curse upon mankind in general; many men are totally exempted from it ; and those who toil the hardest are not subjected to it through the natural condition of the ground, but from other accidental circumstances, and are usually eased from the worst parts of it by instruments of hus. bandry, and the aid of horses, oxen, &c.---Thorns and thistles indeed it still produces, but not in such abundance as to be a plaque : on the contrary, they may now be ranked among the blessings of the earth, since they add to the beauties of nature, and afford delicious food for birds and beasts ; nay, are often the means of restoring health to mankind when employed in medicines, or converted into milk, of the ass in particular. The case was very different in respect to Ada n, supposing him to have been placed in a part of the earth over-run with these plants. It must have been a very laborious task to clear the ground from them with his own hands only, or the feeble assistance of Eve.

What the carse actually was, we may with great probability collect from that denounced against Israel when disobedient, I will break the pride of your 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 ha ll not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits *. God's promise of regular seasons after the flood seems to intimate that they were very irregular and confused before t: We may therefore reasonably conclude, that the state of the earth is

* Ler. xxvi. 19, 20. + See this subject fully handle:l in Bishop Sherlock on Prophecy.


better etter since the deluge than it was before ; of this, at least, we may be certain, that God has been fuithful to his promise, which he made to Noah, for though floods and famines have been occasionally sent as judgments on wicked nations, they have never been general, so as to cut off every living thing from the face of the Earth.

In addition to the privileges bestowed upon Adam, mankind had now that of cating flesh, with this restriction, that they should take care that every creature was totally dead, before they began dressing it for food.

It is remarked that those beasts, which feed on living creatures, are particularly fierce; and it is likely, that the same practice would render man ferocious. There was a time when the lion, the wolf, and the tyger, eat grass wich the ox *. How sanguinary are they now! We may therefore consider it as an instance of Divine mercy to us, that man was forbidden to feast himself with the blood of those animals he was permitted to kill.

A positive command was at this time given against murder, and a law established for the punishment of that dreadful crime. This law is agreeable to right reason, and is still in force in all civilized nations.

Though God permitted mankind to kill animals for food, he did not give them a license to be cruel, or leave them at liberty to extirpate any entire species ; on the contrary, the ALMIGHTY took in every class of living creatures when He made the covenant, which is recorded in this section t, in order to convince Noah, and all generations, that the mercy of the Lord is over

* And God said to every beast of the earth, I have given every green herb for meat. See Section i.

+ See Dr. Primaits Dissertation on the Du'y Nercy, and Son of Cruelty to Brute Anima's.


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

all his works, and that every living creature, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth, is as much in its kind the object of his care as man.

It has been a question whether the rainbow was seen before the food ? Most likely it was, but no object in nature could be so proper for a Token of the Covenant, which God made at this time, because it is the effect of rain, and its appearance is, a certain sign that rain does not fall at that time in every part of the world ; therefore we cannot wonder that Divine wisdom should select it for this purpose.

From this section, we learn, that it is an acceptable act, in the sight of God, to return public thanksgivings for extraordinary deliverances.

We also learn to adore the SUPREME BEING for his mercy and goodness in pronouncing a blessing on the earth, whereby we ourselves enjoy such invaluable bene fits, and which are entailed on our latest posterity:

We are likewise admonished to be thankful to God for restraining njankind, by a Divine law, from killing each other, and for giving us dominion over the brute creation, and implanting in their nature such a fear and dread of man, as render those beasts subservient to many useful purposes, who, from their make, are able to vanquish and destroy us. But we should never forget, that beasts. are of consequence enough to be taken into covenant with God, and are therefore entitled to our regard ; and so far from inflicting wanton cruelties, on them, we should make it our study to render their lives as comfortable as possible.

Let us then imprint on our minds the EVERLASTING COVENANT, that whenever the TOKEN of it

in the clouds, we may recollect it with gratitude, as it relates lo mankind in general, and to ourselves in particular: Deyer forgetting that God's mercy i over all his works,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]



« PreviousContinue »