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he continued in friendship with God, according to the first covenant of amity, all was well; but violating that, he was expelled paradise. God however revealing to him the new covenant, we may charitably believe he personally closed with it, though not as a public person, as in the former, yet for himself at least in his private capacity; for whereas God in justice might have found him out, and struck him dead, according to his threatening, yet he makes an inquiry after his fallen creature, not to condemn him at the tribunal of justice, but to alarm his conscience under guilt, and convince him of his need of a mediator; and God shews him the city of refuge, the horns of the altar, "the seed of the woman that breaks the serpent's head," Gen. iii. 15. Expositors say, that the 14th verse denounceth the punishment of the instrument, the literal serpent, this of the devil, the mystical serpent: doubtless the Messiah is that seed of the woman, and though his heel was bruised in his passion and death, yet "by death he destroyed him that had the power of death, even the devil." This is the plain English of that primitive prophecy, which we may rationally conclude Adam embraced, for
(1.) His life was protracted nine hundred and thirty years, and this suspending of the threatened punishment of death was only through Christ.
(2.) When Adam was terrified in his conscience for sin, and beaten out of all his holds, he had no way to flee but to the promised Messiah ;|| then was the gospel welcome to his guilty soul.
(3.) Some think that God's walking in the garden in the cool, or gentle breathing air of the day,§ opposed to the heat of the day, doth signify that now God begins to be appeased towards man, through his Son's
* Vid. Pol. Crit. in loc. + Gen. v. 5.
§ Gen. iii. 8.
+ Heb. ii. 14.
Gen. iii. 8. Gal. iii. 22, 24.
.Ad auram vel ventum Diei רוח היום
undertaking, whereby man's scorched conscience was sweetly refreshed, as well as divine wrath pacified; and this by the blessed blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than the blood of Abel,* to be poured out in the evening of the world.
(4.) Adam called his wife's name Eve, or Hevah, because she was the mother of all living: this speaks Adam's faith, that though they were condemned, and so dead in law, yet they should live and produce a living offspring, yea the promised seed; therefore he calls her Hevah,† not only a living woman, but life-giving woman, from whom the life-giving Redeemer should spring to give saving life to the world; for the second Adam is made a quickening Spirit, ‡ and it is probable that Adam offered sacrifice, in testimony of his faith in the meritorious sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb of God; the beasts' skins, and his sons sacrificing, demonstrate his doing it. Yea further, we have grounds to believe that Eve herself believed in Christ, and renewed her covenant personally with God, for she calls her son Seth, Gen. iv. 25, this she spoke anticipating the Messiah. The Hebrews think that Adam and Eve came not together, but spent some years in bitter lamentation for their fall and expulsion, and at last came together for procreation, and called their son Seth, put or placed as a foundation, that is, of the church of God, a figure of Christ the true foundation: for the patriarchs imposed names on children, as monuments of divine benefits, and arguments of faith: God saith she hath appointed me another seed; doubtless, this other seed refers to Christ, the promised seed:** and should any
Gen. xviii. 1.
+ Gen. iii. 20.
vivificatricem. Rom. v. 17. 1 Cor. xv. 45.
|| Gen. iii. 21. iv. 3, 4.
¶ Isa. xxviii. 16.
§ 1 Cor. iii. 11.
** Gal. iii. 16.
now despair, if Adam and Eve who opened the floodgates of sin and misery, had the door of salvation opened to them by Christ, and embraced him in the new covenant, and were justified, and saved! O astonishing act of gospel grace in the morning of the world!
2. Enoch is the next instance of one that made a personal covenant, Gen. v. 22, 24; it is said twice that Enoch walked with God; the words are very emphatical, and signify,
(1.) He urged, persuaded, and caused himself to walk with God; he found his perverse heart drawing back, and turning aside, and therefore excited himself, and brought his wandering spirit back to the exercise. saying as David, "My soul wait thou only upon God." +
(2.). The word signifies, he drew or brought himself to God, or he delivered himself over to God, that is, by covenant, engaging his heart wholly to be the Lord's.
(3.) He adhered more closely, familiarly, and intimately to the Lord; there might be some sincerely religious, but Enoch exceeded them all, he bound himself more strictly to the Lord, in the bonds of union and intimate communion with his Maker.
(4.) He walked continually before, or with the Lord, or according to the Lord, that is, setting the Lord always before him, regulating his life always by God's will and pleasure, whether it was in the office of the public ministry, as walking before God doth elsewhere import,¶ or in a private capacity; in both he bound himself close to God, and faithfully discharged his duty.
* Ambulare se fecit. † Psal. lxii. 5. Arctius et familiarius Deo inhæsit.
Deduxit se ad Deum.
§ Ambulavit indesinenter cum Domino, or, secundum Deum. ¶ Sam. ii. 30, 35.
O how careful was this good man in his conversation! how fearful of missing his duty! therefore he entered into solemn covenant with the Lord, lest by force or flattery, by Satan's temptations, or corrupt examples, he should be drawn away from God in that evil day; all this was by faith, saith the apostle ;* and so he pleased God, and was translated to heaven immediately and early, when he had but arrived to the third part of the age of others; God was pleased early to take him out of the world, as one of whom the world was not worthy. The Hebrews say, though Enoch was a good man, yet he had strong inclinations to evil, therefore he bound himself the more closely to God, and God snatched him from this polluting and ensnaring world, lest his honest purposes should be changed; but however, Enoch leaped over the formidable ditch of death by a singular privilege of translation: this was a covenanting soul on earth, and now a crowned saint in heaven.
3. Noah entered into a personal covenant with God: he had Lamech for his father, Methuselah was his grandfather, Enoch his great grandfather, and he walked in his pious ancestor's steps. Noah was a just man and perfect in his generation, and Noah walked with God, Gen. vi. 9: just in point of actions, perfect in point of inward integrity. Noah was eminent for his faith, and he dared to be good in a bad time, when all flesh had corrupted its way:† how came this? Why, next to the grace of God enabling him, his own covenanting with God fortified him against infection and opposition; and this is the first express mention of a covenant between God and man after the fall, Gen. vi. 18, “With thee will I establish my covenant," which doubtless was reciprocal, for Gen. viii. 20, 21, "Noah built an altar • Heb. xi. 5. + Heb. xi. 7. Gen. vi. 12.
to the Lord, and offered burnt-offerings,-and the Lord smelt a sweet savour." Noah made a covenant with God by this sacrifice; God's wrath was appeased, mercy promised, his person accepted through Christ the mediator of the covenant, whom Noah saw in the rainbow; for though it was fixed as a token that the world should be no more drowned with water,* yet Noah by faith looked beyond that, to God, as his covenant God, through the rainbow which was round about the throne, and which is said to be in sight like unto an emerald;† importing that God in his judgments is ever mindful of his covenant, and is approachable by his saints through our mediator. The emerald is of a green colour, which is most grateful to the eyes; surely there is no such glorious sight as God in covenant with poor sinful souls through Christ; his covenant is always fresh and green, it never decays, but is ever new, firm and flourishing. Noah signifies rest, and in him was the charter of dominion and propagation again renewed, ‡ in him was the curse removed from the earth, and the ruins of the old world repaired; and still in after-times there was a reference to this covenant between God and Noah, Isa. liv. 9, 10. Ezek. i. last.
4. Abraham, the father of the faithful, was called out of his own country, to whom God promised that Christ should come out of his loins, for so the apostle interprets that promise, "In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed :"|| Abraham complied with the divine call by an unparalleled self-resignation to the divine pleasure; putting his hand into God's, he went blindfold, not knowing whither he went,§ only he knew God led him, and that satisfied Abraham. This was a
* Gen. ix. 12, 13. + Rev. iv. 3. Gen. ix. 9. 1 Pet. iii. 20. Gen. xii. 3. Act. iii. 25. Gal. iii. 16. § Heb. xi. 8.