Genesis 6:9
The description of Noah is very similar to that of Enoch, just and perfect in his generation, that is, blameless in his walk before men, which is saying much of one who lived in a time of universal corruption. And he walked with God, i.e. devout and religious, and, from the analogy of the preceding use of the words, we may say, a prophet. He preached righteousness both with lip and life. To this good and great prophet the announcement is made of the coming judgment. "The secret Of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will show them his covenant." The earth is filled with violence through men, and therefore with man must be destroyed. With the message of judgment there is also the message of mercy, as at the first. THE ARK, AN EMBLEM OF SALVATION BY GRACE, AS AFTERWARDS (cf. 1 Peter 3:19-22). The offer of salvation was a trial of faith. God did not himself provide the ark; it was made by the hands of men, of earthly materials, with ordinary earthly measurements and appointments, and prepared as for an ordinary occasion. There was nothing in the visible ark to stumble faith; but, as it was connected with a positive commandment and prophecy, it was a demand on the simple faith of the true child of God, which is of the nature of obedience. We cannot doubt that this Divine message to Noah was the Bible of that time. It appealed to faith as the word of God. And, as in all times, with the written or spoken word there was the unwritten law, the lex non scripta; for we are told that "Noah did according to all that God commanded him, so did he." In this primitive dispensation notice these things: -

1. The righteousness of God is the foundation.

2. The accordance of the world with God's heart, as at once commanding righteousness and hating violence, is the condition of its preservation.

3. The mercy of God is connected with his special revelations in and by the men who have found grace in his sight.

4. The provisions of redemption are embodied in an ark, which is the symbol of Divine ordinances and the associated life of believers.

5. The salvation of man is the real end and aim of all judgments.

6. With the redeemed human race there is a redeemed earth - creatures kept alive in the ark to commence, with the family of God, a new life.

7. While we must not push the symbology of the Flood too far, still it is impossible to overlook the figure which the Apostle Peter saw in the ark floating on the waters - the Church of Christ as washed by the Holy Ghost in those waters, which represent not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God. - R.







Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
I. NOAH, we read, "was a just man and perfect in his generations"; and why?

1. Because he was a faithful man — faithful to God, as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." Noah and Abraham believed God, and so became heirs of the righteousness which is by faith; not their own righteousness, not growing out of their own character, but given them by God, who puts His righteous Spirit into those who trust in Him.

2. Noah was perfect in all the relations and duties of life — a good son, a good husband, a good father: these were the fruits of his faith. He believed that the unseen God had given him these ties, had given him his parents and his children, and that to love them was to love God, to do his duty to them was to do his duty to God.

II. The Bible gives us a picture of the old world before the flood — a world of men mighty in body and mind, fierce and busy, conquering the world round them, in continual war and turmoil; with all the wild passions of youth, and yet all the cunning and experience of enormous old age; everyone guided only by self-will, having cast off God and conscience, and doing every man that which was right in the sight of his own eyes. And amidst all this Noah was steadfast; he at least knew his way; he "walked with God, a just man and perfect in his generations."

III. There was something wonderful and Divine in Noah's patience. He knew that a flood was to come; he set to work in faith to build his ark, and that ark was in building for one hundred and twenty years. During all that time Noah never lost faith, and he never lost love either, for we read that he preached righteousness to the very men who mocked him, and preached in vain. One hundred and twenty years he warned those sinners of God's wrath, of righteousness and judgment to come, and no man listened to him. That must have been the hardest of his trials.

(C. Kingsley, M. A.)

I. THAT GOOD MEN LIVING IN DEGENERATE TIMES ARE NOT OVERLOOKED BY GOD.

II. THAT GOOD MEN LIVING IN DEGENERATE TIMES ARE OFTEN CHARACTERIZED BY SIGNAL PIETY. Piety at such times is —

1. A contrast.

2. A rebuke.

3. A testimony.

4. A duty.

III. THAT GOOD MEN LIVING IN DEGENERATE TIMES ARE ANXIOUS THAT THEIR FAMILY CONNECTIONS MAY BE PRESERVED FROM MORAL DEFILEMENT.

IV. THAT GOOD MEN LIVING IN DEGENERATE TIMES RECEIVE THE COMMUNICATIONS OF HEAVEN IN REFERENCE TO THE DESTINY OF MEN.

1. This is a dignity.

2. This is a discipline. LESSONS:

(1)The good man is worth the mention and commendation of God.

(2)That true piety can survive the darkest ages and live through the most arduous toils.

(3)That good men know most of the mind of God in reference to the world's future.

(4)That good men will not be included in the destructions which overtake the wicked.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. It was characterized by justice.

2. It was characterized by moral perfection.

3. It was characterized by holy communion with God.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. Christ the rule of it.

2. Christ the company of it.

3. Christ the end of it.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

I. Notice here, first, THE SOLITARY SAINT. Noah stands alone "in his generations" like some solitary tree green and erect in a forest of blasted and fallen pines. "Among the faithless, faithful only he." His character is described, so to speak, from the outside inwards. He is "righteous," or discharging all the obligations of law and of his various relationships. He is "perfect." His whole nature is developed, and all in due symmetry and proportion; no beauty wanting, no grace cultivated at the expense of others. He is a full man; not a one-sided and therefore a distorted one. We do not take these words to imply sinlessness, of course. They express a relative, not an absolute, completeness. Hence we may learn both a lesson of stimulus and of hope. We are not to rest satisfied with partial goodness, but to seek to attain an all-round perfectness, even in regard to the graces least like our dispositions. And we can rejoice to believe that God is generous in His acceptance and praise. He does not grudge commendation, but takes account of the deepest desires and main tendencies of a life, and sees the germ as a full-blown flower, and the bud as a fruit. Learn, too, that solitary goodness is possible. Noah stood uninfected by the universal contagion; and, as is always the case, the evil around, which he did not share, drove him to a more rigid abstinence from it. Flowers grow on a dunghill, and a very reeking rottenness may make the bloom finer. Learn, too, that the true place for the saint is "in his generations." If the mass is corrupt, so much the more need to rub the salt well in. Notice, again, the companion of the solitary saint. What beauty there is in that description of the isolated man, passing lonely amid his contemporaries, like a stream of pure water flowing through some foul liquid, and untouched by it, and yet not alone in all his loneliness, because "he walked with God"! One man, with God to back him, is always in the majority. Though surrounded by friends, have we found that, after all, we live and suffer and must die alone? Here is the all-sufficient Friend, if we have fellowship with whom our hearts will be lonely no more. Observe that this communion is the foundation of all righteousness in conduct. Because Noah walked with God, he was "just" and "perfect." If we live habitually in the holy of holies, our faces will shine when we come forth.

II. Notice THE UNIVERSAL APOSTASY. Two points are brought out in the sombre description. The first is moral corruption; the second, violence. Bad men are cruel men. When the bonds which knit society to God are relaxed, selfishness soon becomes furious, and forcibly seizes what it lusts after, regardless of others' rights. To walk with God is the true way to make men gentle and pitying. Learn from this dark outline that God gazes in silence on the evil. That is a grand solemn expression, "corrupt before God." All this mad riot of pollution and violence is holding its carnival of lust and blood under the very eye of God, and He says never a word. So is it ever. Then comes a further expression of the same thought. "God looked upon the earth." As a sudden beam of sunshine out of a thundercloud, His eye flashes down, not as if He then began to know, but that His knowledge then began, as it were, to act.

III. WHAT DOES THE STERN SENTENCE TEACH US? A very profound truth, not only of the certain Divine retribution, but of the indissoluble connection of sin with destruction. Sin is death in the making; death is sin finished. The promise of deliverance, which comes side by side with the stern sentence, illustrates the blessed truth that God's darkest threatenings are accompanied with the revelation of the way of escape.

IV. We pass by the details of the construction of the ark to draw the final lesson from the exact obedience of Noah. We have the statement twice over, HE DID "ACCORDING TO ALL THAT GOD COMMANDED HIM." It was no easy thing for him to build the ark, amidst the scoffing of his generations. Smart witticisms fell around him like hail. All the "practical men" thought him a dreamy fool, wasting his time, while they prospered and made something of life. The Epistle to the Hebrews tells us the secret of his obedience: "By faith, Noah," etc. He realized the distant unseen, because he believed Him who warned him of it. The far-off flood was more real to him than the shows of life around him. Therefore he could stand all the gibes, and gave himself to a course of life which was sheer folly unless that future was real. Perhaps a hundred and twenty years passed between the warning and the flood; and for all that time he held on his way, nor faltered in his faith. Does our faith realize that which lies before us with anything like similar clearness? Do we see that future shining through all the trivial, fleeting present? Does it possess weight and solidity enough to shape our lives? Noah's creed was much shorter than ours; but I fear his faith was as much stronger.

V. We may think, finally, of THE VINDICATION OF HIS FAITH. For a hundred and twenty years the wits laughed, and the "common sense" people wondered, and the patient saint went on hammering and pitching at his ark. But one morning it began to rain; and by degrees, somehow, Noah did not seem quite such a fool. The jests would look rather different when the water got up to the knees of the jesters; and their sarcasms would stick in their throats as they drowned. So is it always. So it will be at the last great day.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. HIS PRIVATE CHARACTER.

1. He found grace in the sight of the Lord.

2. He was a just man.

II. HIS PUBLIC LABOURS. A preacher of righteousness (1 Peter 2:5).

1. As such he would have to place their unrighteousness before them.

2. He had to enforce attention to righteousness.

3. As a preacher he was faithful.

4. He preached practically. By his own example, and especially by building the ark.

5. Yet he was an unsuccessful preacher.

III. HIS GRACIOUS DELIVERANCE.

1. The gracious reward of his faith and obedience.

2. For the encouragement of believing sinners to the end of the world.APPLICATION.

1. Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years; displayed great frailty, etc. Let us watch and pray, etc.

2. Ministers may learn their duty.

3. Sinners, their only way of sure and certain safety.

4. And the incorrigible, their inevitable doom.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

I. THE INNER PRINCIPLE OF NOAH'S LIFE. "Walked with God."

1. Companionship.

2. Confidence.

3. Communion.

II. THE OUTER ASPECTS OF THE LIFE OF THE PATRIARCH. His religion was no fruitless tree, no scentless flower, no painted fire; it was a tree growing fruit, a flower giving fragrance, a fire casting heat everywhere. I know there were many mournful and some disgraceful defects in his character, but then they were the defects, not of death, but of imperfect life. Society is always influential; companionship moulds character, association produces resemblance; the less always catches naturally something of the spirit and character of the greater; and so he, who walked with God, became "a just man," says my text, "and perfect in his generations." He who wears a mask before his God will always try to wear a veil before his fellow creatures. Integrity is the invariable accompaniment of spiritual religion; open, manly, brave, unselfish integrity. And so Noah was a just man, always upright, always straightforward, always clear as crystal. The righteousness at which he aimed was a righteousness of the heart; and here, of course, as everywhere, the waters took their sweetness and their purity from the fountain out of which they rose. He who has felt that inner life, which is a walking with God, will be no sham amongst his fellow creatures, no trickster towards them. Truth will be upon his lips, justice in his hands, honour in his acts, probity in his dealings, purity in his affections. Noah, too, my text says, was "perfect in his generations." There was nothing pretentious, nothing vain; all was sincere; his devotion to his God was a visible reality. The man was just what he seemed to be — honest, earnest, truthful. The word "generations" is a very emphatic word in this connection. The age was all against such a character as this; it would be least looked for, and it would be sure to pass unhonoured and unloved at such a time. The world was never more corrupt than it was then, goodness never so scarce, so limited to a single person; yet the man kept his course, contracted no contagion, never fell clown quite to the low level which was on all sides of him.

(C. J. P. Eyre, M. A.)

Essex Remembrancer.
I. ILLUSTRATE THE SENSE OF THE PHRASE, "WALKING WITH GOD."

1. To exercise the thoughts upon God continually.

2. A conscientious regard to His Word and ordinances.

3. To live habitually in the exercise of spiritual graces, depending on Divine influence.

4. It also imports that the attainments, intimacies, and joys, of godliness are of a progressive kind.

II. WHAT WE MAY ASSOCIATE WITH SUCH A WAY OF LIVING.

1. There is the highest honour which man can realize,

2. There is safety and peace to be found.

3. There will be a happy futurity.

(Essex Remembrancer.)

If we endeavour to keep the familiar figure of walking with a person fully in mind, we shall see that the phrase implies —

I. COMPANIONSHIP — constant and habitual; for as God is everywhere present and at all times, so the saint is never parted from Him. United once we are united forever by a companionship as constant as the omnipresence of God, and as long continued as the immortal life of man's soul. Let the expression be closely observed, together with the familiar ideas it suggests — walking with God. Not amid God's works, nor in God's presence; not with the saints of God, not in the ways of God, but actually with God, as if the Divine Being Himself had quitted His throne — as, indeed, He has done in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God — and, linking Himself with the creature He had redeemed, went forth in sweet and wonderful companionship with man, inseparable throughout all the trials and perplexing paths of human experience.

II. The expression IMPLIES CONCURRENCE OF WILL. To walk together implies movement toward the same object, along the same road. Where two persons take different roads, companionship must cease. Yet we know that Noah was a fallen creature like ourselves. He lived after the curse of sin had fallen upon man; and we know it to be the essence of sin that man's will and God's will do not agree. In unfallen man, pure and holy as he came from his Creator's hand, there was perfect agreement with God. The two wills, the Divine and the human, were like two strains of music in sweet harmony with each other. But sin turned the harmony into discord. It is the very essence of the carnal nature that, in St. Paul's language, "it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." The will of man has become contrary to the will of God. One of the two must be subject to the other. That is most certain. Which is it to be? Is the will of the great, omnipotent, and holy Creator to be brought into conformity with all the wayward fancies, all the petty selfishnesses, and all the foolish imaginations of fallen man? God forbid! God's will can not be changed to suit man's. Then it remains that man's will must be changed to suit God's, and thus all the varying wishes of mankind be harmonized in one adoring submission to the Divine mind. This can be; this may be; if you will not drive the Holy Spirit away from you, this will be.

III. The expression IMPLIES AFFECTIONATE AND DELIGHTFUL INTERCOURSE. Do you not choose as a companion one whom you love? and if your choice be well placed, and there be thorough sympathy between you and your friend, is not companionship delightful? Indeed, do you not walk with him, for the sake of being alone with the loved one and enjoying his society?

(E. Garbett, M. A.)

Two doctrines are deducible from the words. Doctrine 1 — In the most declining generation, wherein sin and wickedness come to the greatest height,

I. GOD HAS STILL SOME, THOUGH FEW, THAT RETAIN THEIR INTEGRITY, and cleave to Him and His ways. It has been found so in all ages of the Church. In the old world there was a Noah; in Sodom a Lot; among the children of Israel in Egypt a Moses, who all retained their integrity, and cleaved to the Lord and His ways. When Christ came into the world, there were some "waiting for the consolation of Israel"; and when the Jewish nation was ruined at the destruction of Jerusalem, there was "a remnant according to the election of grace." In the grand apostasy under the New Testament, there were still "two witnesses" left (Revelation 9).

II. How is it that the declining of a generation comes to he so very general, THAT SO VERY FEW ARE LEFT RETAINING THEIR INTEGRITY, that they may be for signs and wonders in the day wherein they live?

1. The corruption of human nature is the springhead of it (Genesis 6:5).

2. No due care taken for the religious education of those who are springing up, doth notably advance it.

3. Corruption of manners thus prevailing, everyone serves to corrupt another, till the leaven has well nigh gone through the whole lump (Genesis 6:12).

4. When a generation is thus posting on in the road of apostasy from God unto ruin, the Lord usually takes home many of His own out from among them (Isaiah 57:1, 2).

5. The declining humour by these means at length so prevails, that it makes its way over all opposition, and gets the mastery; so as it carries all before it, like a flood.

6. What puts the copestone on the course of a generation's defection from God, and readily fills the cup to the brim, is persecution of the way of God, and of any that will dare to retain their integrity.

III. WHY ARE SOME, THOUGH FEW, STILL LEFT RETAINING THEIR INTEGRITY IN SUCH A GENERATION?

1. Because of God's faithfulness in His promise (Matthew 16:18).

2. Because God will not leave Himself without a witness in an apostatizing generation.

3. Because therein the power of His grace appears most illustriously.

4. The Lord preserves them for a seed to better days.

Use 1. Whatever encouragement such have, that turn their back on the way of religion and seriousness, and take a sinful latitude to themselves from the multitude going their way, there is a witness against them still left, that will rise up in judgment against them, and condemn them.

2. However bad the days are, let none pretend it cannot be better with them, because their lot is cast in such an evil day.

3. Be exhorted not to conform yourselves to the ways of the declining generation wherein our lot is cast: but be among the few who cleave to Him and keep His way. It is hard, yet it is possible. Doctrine 2 — God takes special notice of them for good, who in a declining generation retain their integrity, and keep right, cleaving to Him and His way in the face of a generation departing fast from Him.

I. The first thing is to show what this rare attainment is, this perfection in such a generation; or, How men keep right, like Noah, in such a generation. It is then to be,

1. Sincere, and not a hypocrite.

2. Downright for God, without going aside to the ways of carnal wisdom.

3. Tender in one's private walk and conversation, as under the eye of the all-seeing God.

4. Watchful against snares and temptations, that one be not led away with them.

5. Proof against ill example, which is the great engine of Satan for carrying on apostasy in such a day and generation.

6. A mourner for the sins of others.

7. An opposer of the sinful courses of the day and generation wherein he lives, as he hath access. Hence is that exhortation (Ephesians 5:11).

8. In a word, it is to be rowing against the stream of iniquity, and endeavouring to draw the nearer God that others are going from Him.

II. The second thing is, to show what are the advantages of this course, in which the Lord takes special notice for good, of those who follow it in a declining day.

1. Sweet peace of conscience in keeping the Lord's way, while others are disregarding it. Hence said the apostle (2 Corinthians 1:12).

2. Communion with God, and access to Him in duties. Hence saith our Lord (John 14:21).

3. A sweet allowance of furniture, strength, and support, for the duty called for (Proverbs 10:29).

4. Seasonable providential appearances for them. God has a watchful eye for good over them who keep His way; and He will protect them in it, while He has use for them in that way (Psalm 121:2, 3).

5. Special favour in a suffering time, when the Lord ariseth to plead His controversy with the sinful generation. Hence saith the prophet Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3:16).

USE. I exhort you to be perfect in this generation, to be persons of integrity, downright for God, rowing against the stream of this sinful generation. And in order to that,

1. Purge your conversation from the gross pollutions of the outward man.

2. Be Christians indeed, in the inner man. Such an one is described (Romans 2:28, 29).

3. Be of a public spirit (Psalm 137:5, 6).

4. Be of a Gospel spirit, having high thoughts of the free grace of God, and deep impressions of the nothingness of man and all that he can do (Galatians 6:14).

5. Be accurate observers of your duty to God, whom the generation we live in has much cast behind their back.

6. Be nice observers of justice and truth in your dealings with men; for both these are rare to a marvel in this generation, as they were of old (See Isaiah 59:13-15; Micah 7:1, etc.).

7. Oppose and set yourselves against sin and wickedness in others, as ye have access; and so endeavour to stem the tide of the apostasy of the generation (Ephesians 5:11).

8. Do your endeavour to get a right set in the young generation, who are in great hazard at this day. I shall give you the following motives to press you to be perfect in this generation, as you have been exhorted.Consider:

1. It will be a great discovery of your sincerity, and unfeigned love to the Lord and the way of holiness.

2. It is a noble, heaven-like disposition, to be perfect in such a generation; to cleave to Christ, when the generation is so generally turning their back on Him (John 6:66-68).

3. It will glorify God very much; and that is the great business we have to do in the world, agreeable to what is said (1 Corinthians 10:31).

4. It is the best service ye can do for the generation, like David, who "served his own generation by the will of God" (Acts 13:36).

5. Suppose it should not be effectual to stop the career of any in their sin, yet it would leave a conviction of sin in their consciences.

6. It is a debt we owe to posterity. Hence says the Psalmist (Psalm 45:17).

7. It is an honourable thing. It is to be a witness for God; and this is one of the characters of His people (Isaiah 43:10).

8. It is the best course ye can take to be safe in the evil day, when the Lord calls the generation to an account.

9. It will be most comfortable in a dying hour; as it was to the good king Hezekiah, when he said, "Remember now, O Lord, I beseech Thee, how I have walked before Thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in Thy sight" (Isaiah 38:3).

(T. Boston, D. D.)

I. NOAH'S EARLY LIFE.

II. NOAH'S TIMES.

III. NOAH'S WORK.

IV. NOAH'S SECRET.What was it that made Noah different from other people? What was it that made Noah a strong and valiant man — a hero, in fact? Why, his faith. He did not see the deluge approaching, but he believed in it; he was sure it would come, because God had told him so. And his belief in God's Word made him despise all the opposition he had to encounter; made him begin the work, and carry on the work, and end the work; made him bold to tell people the truth, although there was at the time no proof or evidence to back his words.

(G. Calthrop, M. A.)

I. How IT IS SO. 'Tis most manifest in sacred history, that God ordered the best of prophets to be born and to officiate in the worst of times; oh what a degenerate age was that wherein Moses appeared! Israel was in the bondage of Egypt, and in the worst part of that bondage, their tale of brick and mortar work was doubled upon them, and that without straw (Exodus 1:11, 14; Exodus 5:18, 19, etc.). Then God sent Moses their deliverer. And what a degenerate age was that wherein Samuel was born, where there was no open vision (1 Samuel 3:1, etc.). No better, but far worse, were the times of Elijah, who, in his own computation, was left alone of all the Lord's prophets, when the prophets of Baal were many (1 Kings 18:22). This is also remarkable in the civil or secular history (complying with that of the sacred aforesaid) that the best of human laws have been gained in the reigns of the worst of kings, as a happy counter-balance to their exorbitant and extravagant actings.

II. This leads me to the WHY IT IS SO. Herein appeareth the wisdom and graciousness, as well as the power and providence, of God to reserve a little remnant for royal use in the worst of times, that he might not ruin the whole work of His hands at once: saints are called the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). Oh, how dark would the world be in the night of degeneracy if God had not some orient stars sparkling and bespangling the world, though not in every part, yet in every zone and quarter of it. Such an one was our Noah here. Some good men in bad times, a holy remnant kept for a reserve. Good husbands cast not all their corn into the oven, but reserve some for seed. God kept His Mithe-Mispar, a small few, here to replant the world.

III. AFTER WHAT MANNER IT IS. 'Tis as the chaff is kept from burning while the corn is amongst it. As in all times God hath a few pearls to preserve the many pebbles, and a few jewels to preserve the lumber from being destroyed, so the Holy Seed.

(C. Ness.)

I. NOAH'S CIRCUMSTANCES. The earth was filled with "violence," i.e., oppression, tyranny, persecution of good men, injustice, cruelty. How difficult for Noah to be faithful! How he would be taunted, scoffed at, ridiculed!

II. NOAH'S CHARACTER. "Just," i.e., righteous, trying to do that which was right in God's sight, and right towards his fellow men; and "perfect in his generations," i.e., living a blameless life among those of his own day and his kinsfolk. He also), like Enoch, "walked with God," i.e., loved, trusted, and served God. He also "found grace in the eyes of the Lord," i.e., was pleasing to the Lord, and was accepted by Him.

III. NOAH'S WORK. To warn the people of his generation.

1. By preaching God's truth.

2. By preparing an ark.LESSONS:

1. Our day and opportunity is now and here. We must prepare now for the unseen future.

2. Being warned ourselves, we must both by what we say, and by what we do, proclaim God's truth to those around us.

3. Let us pray God to give us Noah's faith and Noah's fear.

(W. S. Smith, B. D.)

I. THE CHRISTIAN MAN IS SOMETIMES SOLITARY IN HIS COMPANIONSHIP. It was so with Noah. No companionship for him in the violent men of his age.

1. His was not fancied loneliness, like Elijah's.

2. His loneliness was not the result of an exclusive spirit.

II. THE CHRISTIAN MAN IS SOMETIMES SOLITARY IN HIS CHARACTER. Noah was alone in moral goodness. The real king of the age his sceptre a holy life.

III. THE CHRISTIAN MAN IS SOMETIMES SOLITARY IN HIS WORK.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. It is painful to find but one family, nay, it would seem but one person, out of all the professed sons of God, who stood firmly in this evil day. Some were dead, and others, by mingling with the wicked, had apostatized.

2. It is pleasant to find one upright man in a generation of the ungodly: a lily among thorns, whose lovely conduct would shine the brighter when contrasted with that of the world about him. It is a great matter to be faithful among the faithless. With all our helps from the society of good men, we find it enough to keep on our way: but for an individual to set his face against the whole current of public opinion and custom, requires and implies great grace. Yet that is the only true religion which walks as in the sight of God, irrespective of what is thought or done by others. Such was the resolution of Joshua when the whole nation seemed to be turning aside from God: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

3. It is encouraging to find that one upright man was singled out from the rest when the world was to be destroyed. If he had been destroyed with the world, God could have taken him to Himself, and all would have been well with him; but then there had been no public expression of what he loved, as well as of what he hated.

(A Fuller.)

Standing on the seashore on a calm summer morning or evening, the vessels in the far distance appear to be sailing in the sky and not on the sea. So doubtless did Noah appear to these worldling spectators of his age, to be walking in the sky, and not on the earth. He was a marked man, secretly to be admired, but openly to be avoided. They took notice of him that be was unlike themselves, living a life of faith, traversing his spiritual way to the glory of God. (W. Adamson.)

The perfection here ascribed to Noah, and elsewhere to other servants of God, is to be understood as being a perfection, not of degree, but of extent — not of height, but of breadth. He is perfect — not as having reached on earth the full maturity of holiness which he is to attain in heaven, nor as being immaculate and exempt from liability to sin — but as having the entire new man formed in him, and no affection of the old man willingly allowed. For it is this completeness and consistency of character that is to be understood by perfection. It is opposed to a partial and insincere devotion of the heart and life to God — to everything like compromise, or evasion, or reservation in the obedience that is rendered to Him — to the idea of doing many things to please Him, but yet something to please self or the world. It implies the dedication of the whole man, soul, and body, and spirit, absolutely and unequivocally to God — and the keeping of the whole law, without offending in any one point or breaking one of the least of its commandments. In short, it is the wisdom which cometh down from above — whose distinguishing characteristic is, that it is perfect — complete and compact in all its parts — being "first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." To this wisdom is opposed that which "descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish" (James 3:15-17). The bitter fruits and characteristics of that wisdom are envying and strife, confusion, tumult, unquietness, and every evil work in one word, "violence" — such as then filled the earth. Now, the perfection which has been described naturally attends upon a heart right with God — a mind calmly fixed in a righteous peace with heaven. To have got settled, upon just terms, the dread controversy which sin has caused, the angry strife of conscience, the impatient struggle against judgment — to have this warfare ended, in that blessed tranquillity which a sense of saving mercy and justifying righteousness inspires, through "the love of God being shed abroad in the heart, by the Holy Ghost, which is given" to the believer (Romans 5:5) — to have the heart thus established with grace (Hebrews 13:9) — this, this alone, and this effectually, disposes to universal holiness and love.

(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)

As all the water in the salt sea cannot make the fish salt, but still the fish retains its freshness, so a]l the wickedness and filthiness that is in the world cannot destroy, cannot defile true grace; that will bear up its head, and hold up itself forever.

(J. Caryl.)

Grace in the heart will appear in the life. If there be a new spirit, a tender heart, there will be walking in the statutes. A new spirit cannot be imprisoned within; but it will break out into action. When the seed is sown in good ground, it will not lie long under ground, but spring forth. Grace is light, and will manifest itself.

(W. Greenhill.)

Not only are the first beginnings of grace from God, but also the daily increase and progress of grace in every degree and step from the lowest to the highest.

(J. Ferguson.)

Happy art thou if thy heart be replenished with three fears — a fear for received grace, a greater fear for lost grace, a greatest fear to recover grace.

(Quarles.)

Trace back any river to its source, and you will find its beginnings small. A little moisture oozing through the sand or dripping out of some unknown rock, a gentle gush from some far away mountain's foot, are the beginning of many a broad river, in whose waters tall merchantmen may anchor and gallant fleets may ride. For it widens and gets deeper, till it mingles with the ocean. So is the beginning of a Christian's, or a nation's, grace. It is first a tiny stream, then it swells into a river, then a sea. There is life and progression towards an ultimate perfection when God finds the beginning of grace in any man.

(J. J. Wray.)

Matthew Henry, shortly before his death, desired his friends to take down, and remember, as his dying saying, that, "A life spent in the service of God, and communion with Him, is the most comfortable and pleasant life that any man can live in this world."

Noah begat three sons.

1. Fruitfulness in body is an effect of grace, to continue God's Church.

2. The holiest parent cannot bring forth a holy seed; that is, born of grace. Noah could not.

3. Little or small may be the visible Church; father and sons and wives but eight.

4. In the visible Church may be such as are not saints, indeed; but far from it.

5. Grace puts the last before the first, and the younger before the elder.

6. Mixtures in the Church not destructive to its being, were permitted not to divide, but to put them upon purging it.

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

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