« הקודםהמשך »
curse denounced on the ground for man's sake.
The prophecy of Lamech which Moses has recorded, was occasioned by the birth of his son Noah. “ And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son. And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed.” The evil which was felt and deplored was the curse of God on the soil, which made labour and toil necessary to render it fruitful for the support and comfort of man. The comfort expected was a cessation, or at least an alleviation, of toil in providing for the maintenance of life; and the instrument of affording that comfort was Noah, whose name was prophetically given him in reference to it, the name imposed by Lamech on his son signifying rest. It has been supposed that some facilities to be produced by the inventions of Noah after the Flood in the art of husbandry, is that which is intended by this prediction: but surely this cannot be all that was proposed by the inspiring author of a prophecy which has been, under his influence, recorded for the benefit of succeeding generations.
We know that Noah, as the builder of the ark of safety for himself and his family, was an illustrious type of Christ,* as that ark was of a spiritual salvation.
* Pet. iii. 20, 21, 22. Noah was an eminent type of the promised Messiah, 1. As he was a prophet, or “ preacher of righteousness ;" 2. As he was a priest, and offered sacrifice from which Jehovah is said to have “ smelled a sweet savour." (Comp. Eph. v. 2. with Gen. viii. 21. 3. As he was the patriarchal prince of a new world. 4. As he was the subordinate author of a salvation, which symbolized that of the Divine Saviour of his family, the church.
« This” salvation (says Jehovah)* " is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah shall no more go over the earth, so I have sworn, that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee." The prophecy of Lamech, like this of Isaiah, waits for its full accomplishment in the millennial period of the church.
The curse on the ground was to have a double general result, first, in an universal deluge, and, secondly, in an universal conflagration. Noah, in his literal character as the founder of a new world by means of a preservation of man in the ark, was to afford comfort in relation to the universal deluge; and in his typical character of the representative of the promised seed, by illustrating the eternal salvation of sinners through faith in his name, was to afford comfort as the founder of new heavens and a new earth in which should dwell righteousness. If the spirit of prophecy instructed Enoch to predict the second coming of Christ, * (and doubtless his first coming also, on which the second depends) and the grand object of his appearance; what should prevent our seeing in the prediction of Lamech the same glorious subject, conveyed indeed in symbolic language, but, as that language was the usual medium of Divine communication, illustrating by a parable the prospects of the faithful to the end of time? The picture of the blessed results of Divine interference is borrowed from the images of a newly. fertilized earth. In no other way than as a type of Christ, could Noah be the comforter of his father and other antediluvian believers. They had no personal interest in the restoration after the deluge, but as that restoration was a figure of the restitution of all things, for which a few persons before the flood,“ having the first fruits of the Spirit, groaned within themselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body.”
* Isaiah lv. 9, 10.
If such information were given to Enoch and Lamech, why may we not suppose, that God intended to convey similar instruction to the mind of Adam? A Saviour had been promised who was to remove the curse incurred by the great transgression. But it was necessary that the apostacy and its attendant curse should be
* Jude 14, 15.
memorialized, in order that the promised salvation might be kept in mind through successive generations and be duly valued. The curse removed from Adam, by faith in the promised seed, was to rest as a memorial on the ground he was to cultivate by his toil and labour for his daily sustenance. The sentence passed on the ground on account of his sin, would, if thus understood, continually remind him of the curse he had entailed on himself and his posterity, of the effect of that curse in the natural sterility of the human heart, of the toil and labour of redemption, the future travail of the Redeemer's soul; and of the necessity of working out his own salvation with fear and trembling. Taught of God, he would consider, while pursuing his daily task, that his own heart was “God's husbandry,” and that, by due cultivation, its desert was to become as the garden of the Lord from which he had been expelled. And he would be comforted, in regard to his posterity whom he had involved in ruin, while engaged in meditation of Him who was to “ bruise the serpent's head,” and, finally, to obliterate the curse to which the temptation of the Wicked One had given rise.
It is true: he was told that he must return to the dust from whence he was taken; but death is a blessing to believers. It is the termination of their toil and labour, corporeal and spiritual.
It is the total removal of every thing that
memorialized the curse. It is the divestiture of our prison garments. The dissolution of soul and body, with respect to believers, appears to be regarded in Scripture not as a part of the curse, though it is a memorial of its having once existed; for it is said that “whosoever liveth and believeth in Jesus shall never die;" he “is passed from death unto life.” “ There is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus."* It is admitted that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither can corruption inherit incorruption: but it is the privilege of the believer to be assured that this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal, immortality, and that death shall be swallowed up in victory. And if Adam was enabled, by Divine instruction, to reason on the promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, or remedy the evil which transgression had introduced, he would connect that promise with the return of his body to the dust, and infer the future resurrection of his body, as well as the salvation of his soul, from the promise of the incarnate Redeemer, the Saviour of both. I see no reason for denying that knowledge to the first convert to the faith of Christ, which we know to have been vouchsafed to his believing descendants before the appearance of Jesus in the flesh.m
* See Vitringa's Observationes Sacra. Lib. ii.; and the homily of our church against the fear of death.
† Job xix. 23—27. The translation of Enoch taught the same doctrine.