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it is applicable to all who walk according to their lusts. And these are the things, which, the scripture testifies, were delivered concerning the doctrine of salvation, in the first age of the world.
C Η Α Ρ. ΙΙ.
Of the Doctrine of Grace under Noah.
S Noah was the patriarch of the new world, we are now to explain, what was handed down to us in his time, concerning the doctrine of salvation. As soon as he was born, his father Lamech called him Noach, saying, DSÆH JENACHAMENU, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed, Gen. V. 29.
II. And here, in the first place, we are to take notice of the name given to the child, both with respect to its etymology, and the reason assigned by the pious parent for that name. The name is NOACH, Noah, which, if we follow the rules of grammar, is derived from the root NUACH, to rest, or be quiet ; to which word, both as to letters and signification, NACHAM, he comforted, is near of kin, which Lamech used in assigning the reason of the etymology. They who keep close to grammatical niceties, endeavour to correct the words of the text, and, instead of JENACHAMENU, would have us read JENACHNU, as the Septuagint, in order to come nearer to the etymology of the word. And as to the name NOACH, have also rendered it, HOUTOS ANAPAUS EJ HEMAS, This same shall refresh
But seeing the Hebrew copies, the Chaldee paraphrast, Jerome, &c. constantly read JENACHAMENU, we dare not rely only on our own judgment, or be willing to have any thing altered. In proper names, derived from a verb, commonly some letter or other is either added, taken away, or transposed, and the accuracy of grammatical etymology not constantly observed ; which the celebrated Buxtorf has shewn, by several examples, in his Vindiciæ veritatis Hebraicæ, p. 267. Whence the Hebrew doctors generally incline to derive NOACH from NACHAM, by cutting away the last letter. But Mercer's opinion appears more probable, who affirms, here only is a resemblance of words, but not a reason taken from etymology ; because the verb NACHAM,
; both in sound and signification, comes near to the noun NOACH, which signifies rest and comfort: and, as Aben Ezra learnedly says, “ comfort also is rest from grief of heart.” And then the Hebrews usually have a greater regard to the sense than to the sound of words. As therefore the reason of the name is thus expressed, DSÆH JENACHAMENU, he shall comfort us, it is altogether the same, as if he had said DSÆH JENACHNU, he shall make us to rest, because to the same purpose, whoever comforts, causes rest from trouble. But these are rather niceties, though not to be overlooked, in order to preserve the integrity of the Hebrew copies inviolable. This one thing is evident, that Lamech, in the name of his son, intended a standing monument of his own wishes and hopes. UI. Let us therefore see, what he intended by this
This same, says he, shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed. Three things are contained in this sentence. 1. The evil, under which, with other pious people, he groaned. 2. The good opposed VOL. II.
to that evil, which he had the hopeful prospect of. 3. The author of that good.
IV. He makes the evil he complains of, to consist in our work, in the toil of our hands, and in the ground zohich God hath cursed. The carnal Jews generally restrict this to that fatigue of body, which men are forced to bear, in the culture of the earth, occasioned by the curse of God, and that these words only contain a prophecy concerning an easier method of agriculture, which Noah would discover. But his pious parents were not so delicate, and so much taken up with the conveniencies of this life, as to place the greatest part of their misery in those fatigues of the body. These things have a higher view. By MIMMANGASENU, our work, are principally to be understood those evil works, which bring grief and sorrow to the soul. For these are our works, opposed to the work of God in us. These produce an unspeakable trouble and fatigue to the godly. As an heavy burden, they are too heavy for them, Ps. xxxviii. 4. These were at that time visible every where, men being arrrived at the utmost pitch of wickedness. Whence Peter, 2 ep. ii. 5. calls the men of that generation, the world of the ungodly.
But to those evil works was added the toil of their hands. To this I refer all the labour, misery, and calamity of this life, which were to be undergone in the sweat of our brow. This is accompanied with dwelling on the earth rohich is cursed ; so that while man lives there, he cannot possibly enjoy a full state of holiness and tranquility of soul, and see the light of God's face in glory. For svhilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord, 2 Cor. v. 6.
6 V. The good, opposed to this evil, which he desired, and was in expectation of, he calls consolation or comfort. This consists in the applying some effectual re
medy against, and in the very removal of, those evils. The comfort against our vicious works consists in the expiation and remission of them, in the intimation of that gracious sentence, by which they are pardoned on the account of the Messiah, and finally, in the purging them away by the Spirit of sanctification. Comfort from the miseries of this life, or from the toil of our hands, is partly a lessening of that affliction, by granting a more prosperous and happy state of things, partly the delighting the soul with an inward relish of divine goodness, whereby it is enabled to bear all those toils with which God is pleased to exercise his people, willingly and with cheerfulness, from a sense of the love of God. Comfort, as to the ground which God hath cursed, consists in the beginnings and preludes of the heavenly glory, which the elect are even here favored with ; but chiefly, in a freedom from the body of death, and the translation of the soul into a better state and mansion. Lamech breathed after these blessings, desired them and hoped for them, and was willing to have a monument of this desire and hope in the name of his son.
VI. But whom did he point to, as the author of this great blessing, when he said to his son, when he was born, This same shall comfort us? Some think, that being mistaken in the person, he flattered himself that Noah was the Messiah. And indeed, as the believers of that age, with the greatest and most assured hope, pressed earnestly after the accomplishment of the
promise made in paradise, and prepossessed it in their longings, but not having any certainty about the time when it was to be fulfilled, it is not so very improbable, that, in the warmth of desire, they promised to themselves the expected seed in the persons of the sons which were born to them. But what we lately observed concerning this expectation of our mother Eve, are
objections to this. It seems therefore safer to believe, that, on occasion of this son, he comforted himself with the hope of the speedy coming of the Messiah, and considered him as a forerunner and type, and an extraordinary herald of the Messiah. Finely speaks Martyr to this purpose : "I would rather imagine, they acknowledged their sons to be shadows or types of Christ, and therefore distinguished them by such names. But Noah was not only a shadow of Christ,” &c. Though a genuine and real consolation proceeds alone from the Messiah and bis Spirit, yet Lamech truly prophesied of Noah, that he also would be a comfort to wretched mortals. And he was so, 1. By preaching, with an extraordinary zeal, the righteousness of faith ; of which presently. 2. By obtaining a respite of the imminent destruction by means of his prayers, and exemplary holiness of life, till the ark should be completed: for Ezekiel classes him with Daniel and Job, as one who was very prevalent by his deprecations, Ezek. xiv. 14, 20. 3. By preserving the remains of the perishing world in the ark, which he had built at God's command, and performing very many things, in which we might see him, as a type of the Messiah, and of the spiritual and heavenly benefits to be obtained by him. Of which we are to speak more fully hereafter.
VII. We have just now said, that Noah was a preacher of righteousness. This we learn from Peter, who calls him KERUKA TES D'IKAIOSUNES, a preacher of righteousness, 2 Pet. ïi. 5. But righteousness signifies not only that virtue of man, which consists in rectitude and a conformity to the rule ; but also that obedience of the Messiah, whereby the ungodly is justified ; the righteousness which is of God, and opposed to our own righteousness, Rom. x. 3. Noah was a preacher of both these. He not only pathetically exhorted the men