After the flood, Noah lived 350 years.
1. He lived accepted of God, promoted by Him, testifying against sin, preaching righteousness, giving laws from God to the generation wherein he was; and sometimes slipping into sin, and falling into bitter afflictions.
And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.
I. THE SLOW MOVEMENTS OF DIVINE JUSTICE. Before the flood the wickedness of man had grown so great that God threatened to cut short his appointed time upon the earth. His days were to be contracted to one hundred and twenty years — a terrible reduction of the energy of human life when man lived nearly one thousand years (Genesis 6:3). But, from the instance of Noah, we find that this threat was not executed at once. Divine justice is stern and keen, but it is slow to punish.
II. THE ENERGY OF THE DIVINE BLESSING. God blessed man at the first, and endowed him with abundant measures of the spirit of life. Even when human iniquity required to be checked and punished by the curtailing of this sift, the energy of the old blessing suffered little abatement. God causes the power of that blessing still to linger among mankind. The hand of Divine goodness slackens but slowly in the bestowal of gifts to man. How often are the favours of Providence long continued to doomed nations and men! Underlying all God's dealings with men there is the strong power of redemption, which is the life of every blessing. That power will yet overcome the world's evil and subdue all things.
III. GOD'S PROVISION FOR THE EDUCATION OF THE RACE. When men depended entirely upon verbal instruction, and teachers were few, the long duration of human life contributed to the preservation and the extending of knowledge. But as the education of the world advanced, new sources of knowledge were opened and teachers multiplied, the necessity for long life in the instructors of mankind grew less. The provisions of God are wonderfully adjusted to human necessity.
IV. AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO PATIENT ENDURANCE. Here is one who bore the cross for the long space of nine hundred and fifty years. What a discipline in suffering as well as in doing the will of God! Time is the chief component among the forces that try patience, for patience is rather borne away by long trials than overwhelmed by the rolling wave. If tempted to murmur in affliction, or at our protracted contest with temptation and sin, let us think of those who have endured longer than we.
(T. H. Leale.)
2. He died a death beseeming such a man; he died a saint, a believer, a glorious instrument in Christ's Church, and so died in hope when by faith he had seen the promises.
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
The Congregational Pulpit.I. GOD IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL to His promises, and mindful of those who trust in Him.
III. NOAH'S SIN is a most solemn warning. (1 Corinthians 10:12; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Peter 5:8.) It is a sad finish to the history of so eminent a saint; an ominous beginning to the history of a new world. The first recorded sin after the Fall was a sin of violence; the first recorded sin after the flood was a sin of self-indulgence and sensuality. It is hard to say which of these two classes of sin has been, and is, the greatest curse to mankind.
(The Congregational Pulpit.)
2. Times and conditions of His Church God would have us know.
3. In the greatest desolations God hath raised some for His Church's good.
4. God extends the life of His saints as He bath use of them (ver. 28).
5. The longest life of saints wades through various conditions (ver. 29).
6. The longest living saint must die, yet like a saint, not fall as the wicked.
(G. Hughes, B. D.).
Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah.
I. IT IS MARKED BY THE FEATURES OF A TRUTHFUL RECORD.
1. It is not vague and general, but descends to particulars. The forgers of fictitious documents seldom run the risk of scattering the names of persons and places freely over their page. Hence those who write with fraudulent design deal in what is vague and general.
2. Heathen literature when dealing with the origin of nations employs extravagant language. The early annals of all nations, except the Jews, run at length into fable, or else pretend to a most incredible antiquity. National vanity would account for such devices and for the willingness to receive them. The Jews had the same temptations to indulge in this kind of vanity as the other nations around them. It is therefore a remarkable circumstance that they pretend to no fabulous antiquity. We are shut up to the conclusion that their sacred records grew up under the special care of Providence, and were preserved from the common infirmities of merely human authorship.
3. Here we have the ground plan of all history.
II. THAT HISTORY HAS ITS BASIS IN THAT OF INDIVIDUAL MEN. The general lesson of this chapter is plain, namely, that no man can go to the bottom of history who does not study the lives of those men who have made that history what it is.
III. THAT MAN IS THE CENTRAL FIGURE OF SCRIPTURE. Infidels have made this characteristic of revelation a matter of reproach; but all who know how rich God's purpose towards mankind is, glory in it, and believe that great things must be in store for a race which bus occupied so much of the Divine regard.
IV. THE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT OF HISTORY TOWARDS AN END. All the interest centres successively in one people, tribe, and family; then in One who was to come out of that family, bringing redemption for mankind. "Salvation is of the Jews." The noblest idea of history is only realized in the Bible. Those of the world had no living Word of God to inspire that idea. That book can scarcely be regarded as of human origin which passes by the great things of the world, and lingers with the man who "believed in God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness."
(T. H. Leale.)
(J. Parker, D. D.)
(Bishop Samuel Wilberforce.)
In their nations. —1. It is descended from one head. Others may be occasionally grafted on the original stock by intermarriage. But there is a vital union subsisting between all the members and the head, in consequence of which the name of the head is applied to the whole body of the nation. In the case of Kittim and Dodanim we seem to have the national name thrown back upon the patriarchs who may have themselves been called Keth and Dodan. Similar instances occur in the subsequent parts of the genealogy.
2. A nation has a country or "land" which it calls its own. In the necessary migrations of ancient tribes, the new territories appropriated by the tribe, or any part of it, were naturally called by the old name, or some name belonging to the old country. This is well illustrated by the name of Gomer, which seems to reappear in the Cimmerii, the Cimbri, the Cymry, the Cambri, and the Cumbri.
3. A nation has its own "tongue." This constitutes at once its unity in itself and its separation from others. Many of the nations in the table may have spoken cognate tongues, or even originally the same tongue. Thus the Kenaanite, Phoenician and Punic nations had the same stock of languages with the Shemites. But it is a uniform law, that one nation has only one speech within itself.
4. A nation is composed of many "families," clans, or tribes. These branch off from the nation in the same manner as it did from the parent stock of the race.
(Prof. J. G. Murphy.)1. The most cursed man may have a numerous seed: it enlargeth the curse.
2. Cursed ones bring out sometimes an eminent rebellious seed to hasten vengeance (ver. 8).
3. The greatest judgments will not keep wicked ones from sin though being but a little escaped from them.
4. Under a wise providence, power and violence is suffered to rise and spring in the earth (ver. 8).
5. It is the property of giants in sin and earthly power to hunt to death God's saints to His face.
6. God makes in vengeance the names of such wicked ones a proverb (ver. 9).
7. The beginning and chief of all the power of wicked ones is but confusion, and the place of wickedness. Babel and Shinar (ver. 10).
8. Wicked potentates are still invading others to enlarge themselves (ver. 11).
9. Edifying cities, and places of strength, is the wickeds' security.
10. Great cities they may have, but such as are under the eye and judgment of God (ver. 12).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
A mighty hunter, and his prey was man.Obscurity rests, and ever shall rest, on his particular achievements, although his figure and name have been found of late in Nineveh. What animals he slew, what weapons he employed, what battles he fought, with the blood of what enemies he cemented the cities which he built, how long he lived and where, how and where he died, are not recorded either in profane history or in the Book of God. Imagination figures him as another Hercules, clad in the skins of lions, and pursuing his prey with sounding bow and fiery eye over the vast plains of Asia, and when wild beasts are not to be found, turning his fury against his neighbours. Such men are the ragged and menacing shadows which the sun of civilization casts before it; their "strong heart is fit to be the first strong heart of a people"; their crimes, for which they must answer to God, are yet made useful to God's purpose, and from the blood they shed springs up many a glorious harvest of arts and sciences, of culture and progress. Without questioning their guilt or the evil they do, or seeking to solve the mystery why they exist at all, we see many important ends which their permission answers; and acknowledge that the page of history were comparatively tame, did it want the red letters which record the names of a Nimrod, a Nebuchadnezzar, a Charlemagne, a Henry the Eighth, a Rienzi, and a Napoleon.
1. In the first place, if you want to be effectual in doing good, you must be very sure of your weapon. There was something very fascinating about the archery of olden times. Perhaps you do not know what they could do with the bow and arrow. Why, the chief battles fought by the English Plantagenets were with the long-bow. They would take the arrow of polished wood, and feather it with the plume of a bird, and then it would fly from the bowstring of plaited silk. The broad fields of Agincourt, and Solway Moss, and Neville's Cross heard the loud thrum of the archer's bowstring. Now, my Christian friends, we have a mightier weapon than that. It is the arrow of the Gospel; it is a sharp arrow; it is a straight arrow; it is feathered from the wing of the dove of God's Spirit; it flies from a bow made out of the wood of the cross. Paul knew how to bring the notch of that arrow on to that bowstring, and its whirr was heard through the Corinthian theatres, and through the courtroom, until the knees of Felix knocked together. It was that arrow that stuck in Luther's heart when he cried out: "Oh, my sins! Oh, my sins!" In the armoury of the Earl of Pembroke, there are old corslets which show that the arrow of the English used to go through the breastplate, through the body of the warrior, and out through the backplate. What a symbol of that Gospel which is sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing asunder of soul and body, and of the joints and marrow! Would to God we had more faith in that Gospel!
2. Again, if you want to be skilful in spiritual archery, you must hunt in unfrequented and secluded places. The good game is hidden and secluded. Every hunter knows that. So, many of the souls that will be of most worth for Christ and of most value to the Church are secluded. They do not come in your way. You will have to go where they are.
3. I remark, further, if you want to succeed in spiritual archery, you must have courage. If the hunter stand with trembling hand or shoulder that flinches with fear, instead of his taking the catamount, the catamount takes him. What would become of the Greenlander if, when out hunting for the bear, he should stand shivering with terror on an iceberg? What would have become of Du Chaillu and Livingstone in the African thicket, with a faint heart and a weak knee? When a panther comes within twenty paces of you, and it has its eye on you, and it has squatted for the fearful spring, "Steady there." Courage, O ye spiritual archers! There are great monsters of iniquity prowling all around about the community. Shall we not in the strength of God go forth and combat them? We not only need more heart, but more backbone. What is the Church of God that it should fear to look in the eye any transgression?
4. I remark again, if you want to be successful in spiritual archery, you need not only to bring down the game, but bring it in. I think one of the most beautiful pictures of Thorwaldsen is his "Autumn." It represents a sportsman coming home and standing under a grapevine. He has a staff over his shoulder, and on the other end of that staff are hung a rabbit and a brace of birds. Every hunter brings home the game. No one would think of bringing down a reindeer or whipping up a stream for trout, and letting them lie in the woods. At eventide the camp is adorned with the treasures of the forest — beak, and fin, and antler. If you go out to hunt for immortal souls, not only bring them down under the arrow of the Gospel, but bring them into the Church of God, the grand home and encampment we have pitched this side the skies. Fetch them in; do not let them lie out in the open field. They need our prayers and sympathies and help. That is the meaning of the Church of God — help. O ye hunters for the Lord! not only bring down the game, but bring it in.
(Dr. Talmage.)1. The last mention of the Church's line is not the least in God's account.
2. Fruitfulness is given to the Church of God, for its continuance on earth.
3. Visible distinction hath God made between the lines of the world and of the Church.
4. Heber's children are the true Church of God.
5. The name and blessing of Shem is on that Church.
6. Sharers in the promise are especially brethren.
7. The first in birth may be last in grace (ver. 21).
8. Out of the same holy stock may arise enemies to the Church as well as the right seed (ver. 22).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)1. Syrians may arise from the Father of the Church according to the flesh, very enemies to it.
2. God's mind is to keep the line of His Church distinct; from all who turn aside (ver. 23).
3. The line of the Church is but short in respect of the world (ver. 24).
4. Memorable as well as terrible is that division of people and tongues which God hath made (ver. 25).
5. Saints have been careful to keep in memory such judgments of division; the naming of the child (ver. 25).
6. Numerous is the seed departed from the Church (ver. 26, 29).
7. God has given a dwelling place to degenerate seed (ver. 30).
8. The Church hath its family, tongue, place, and people, distinct from all (ver. 37).
(G. Hughes, B. D.).
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