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I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations. I do set my bow in the cloud; 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 you 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 flesh that is upon the earth."*
THE CONNEXION OF NOAH'S PREACHING AND SACRIFICE WITH THE COUNSEL OF GOD IN CHRIST.
Now the preservation of Noah from the general destruction was one instance of God's grace, and this covenant with him was another; both connected with the early promise to Adam, and both bestowed for the sake of Christ, that is, by virtue of his compact with the Father before the foundation of the world, and in consideration of his future conquest and satisfaction. Had all flesh been destroyed by the flood, so
* Genesis, ix. 12-16.
that not one remained, there would have been an end to the posterity of Adam; and an entirely new creation must have been effected in order to the repeopling of the earth; and such beings so created could have derived no inheritance of corruption from the first transgressors; consequently the early promise of God could not have been fulfilled, as the victorious seed of the woman had not then been manifested, and could not in after-time be born in the nature of Adam and Eve which would have been extinct. Noah, therefore, was preserved in order that the generations to be born after him might be the descendants of Adam, and that from among those descendants the victorious seed might in the fulness of time arise, and duly fulfil the promise.
By the preaching of Noah the fact of God's grace, vouchsafed at the time of the fall, was communicated to the new world, and set before men as that upon which they were to exercise their faith in the great blessing to come, and to rest their hope of mercy hereafter. And by his offering burnt-offerings unto the Lord immediately after his preservation, offerings which the Lord was pleased to approve and accept, he set the seal of his authority and example to the Divine institution of sacrifice; an institution intimately and inseparably connected with faith in
the promise of God, and mysteriously typical of the bruise which the seed of the woman was to receive in the hour of his victory.
THE CALL OF ABRAM; GOD'S PROMISE TO HIM.
The call of Abram and God's promise to him form the next link in the great chain of God's counsel of redemption.
Soon after the flood mankind began to multiply exceedingly; and the families of Shem, Ham, and Japhet spreading themselves different ways after the confusion of tongues, the earth in process of time was replenished with inhabitants. Wickedness was also of rapid growth; and Satan had at length acquired such an influence over the minds and hearts of men, darkening the one and corrupting the other, that the very name and worship of God were passing into oblivion. At this period the Almighty, remembering his covenant with the Son and his promise to Adam, proceeded in his economy of preparation to an act of the highest importance, namely, the selecting of a person from among the family of Shem to be the father of that peculiar people to whom he intended to intrust his sacred oracles, by whom his providential arrangements were to be carried on, and from among whom the seed of the woman was in due time to arise.
The most righteous man then upon earth, who worshipped the only true God, served him faithfully with all his heart, and trusted stedfastly in the fulfilment of his word, was Abram, the son of Terah, who lived in Ur of the Chaldees. Him God chose out from among mankind, and called him, saying, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee, and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed; or, as he afterwards said, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." +
THE CONNEXION OF THIS PROMISE WITH THE COUNSEL OF
GOD IN CHRIST.
First, let this promise to Abraham be considered in connexion with the promise to Adam.
The first promise was of a very general signification. All that could be collected from it was this; that, although Satan had through man's free consent acquired a dominion over
* Gen. xii. 1-3.
+ Ibid. xviii. 18; xxii. 18.
human nature, God would raise up one in that nature, mystically termed the seed of the woman, who should live in enmity with the great seducer of mankind, and who, though he himself should be partially bruised, would gain a signal victory over him, and finally destroy his power, for the deliverance and benefit of those whom he had taken captive.
Some information was here given of a general nature; but much with regard to particulars was evidently withheld; for in this promise we observe that it is not signified who this seed was to be; that no time was fixed for his appearing, no place mentioned where he was to be born, no nation or family described from which he was to arise. And if we consider the period when it was made, we shall see good reason why these specifications were omitted. The counsel of God in Christ was to be developed gradually under the direction of perfect wisdom, which revealed itself at its own pleasure, and according to the circumstances of the world.
It was first declared, when there were but two persons upon earth, that an extraordinary seed would arise to overcome the serpent, and to overcome him by virtue of personal sufferings, for the benefit of transgressors. That nothing more was said deserves our admiration. A