An Exposition on the
By J O H N.B U N Y A N.
First published in 1691, by Charles Doe.
An unfinished commentary on the Bible, found among John
Bunyan's papers after his death, in his own handwriting.
er. 1. "And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation."
The ark being now prepared, and the day of God's patience come to an end, he now is resolved to execute his threatening upon the world of ungodly men; but withal, in the first place, to secure his saints, and them that have feared his name. In this therefore we have a semblance of the last judgment, and how God will dispose of his friends and enemies.
"Come thou into the ark." God, I say, will take care of, and safely provide for us that have feared him, when he most eminently entereth into judgment with the world: As he also saith by Isaiah the prophet, "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be over-past" (26:20). He shall send forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to another.
"Come thou and all thy house." Not an hoof must be left behind; God will not lose the very dust of his people: Of all that thou hast given me have I lost nothing, but will raise it up at the last day (John 6:39). God therefore was careful not only of Noah, but of all that were in his house; because they were all of his visible church, they must therefore be preserved from the rage and fury of the deluge. "Gather my saints together unto me; [saith he] those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice" (Psa 50:5).
"For thee have I seen righteous before me." This is not to be understood as the meritorious cause, but as the characteristical note that distinguisheth them that are gods, from others that are subjects of his wrath and displeasure: wherefore, those that at this time perished, bear the badge of ungodliness, as that which made them obnoxious to this overflowing judgment: As also we have it in the book of Job, "Hast thou [saith Eliphaz] marked the old way which wicked men have trodden? Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood" (Job 22:15,16).
Righteousness therefore, is the distinguishing character whereby the good are known from the bad. Thus it was in Ezekiel's time: "Set a mark [saith God] upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst of the city" (Eze 9:4). Which mark was to distinguish them from those that were profane, and that for their wickedness were to be destroyed by the ministers of God's justice.
"For thee have I seen righteous before me." These words, before me, are inserted on purpose to shew us, that Noah was no feigned worshipper, but one who did all things in the sight of God. Indeed, there are two things which are of absolute necessity for the obtaining of this approbation of God. 1. All things must be done as to manner according to the word. 2. All things must be done as to the matter of them also according to the word. Both which were found in Noah's performances; and therefore he is said to be perfect in his generations, and that he walked with God. Thus it was also with Zacharias and Elizabeth, "they were both righteous before God"; that is, sincere and unfeigned in their obedience (Luke 1:6).
"Righteous before me in this generation." By this we see, righteousness, or the truth of God's worship in the world, was now come to a low ebb; the devil, and the children of Cain, had bewitched the church of God, and brought the professors thereof so off from the truth of his way, that had they got Noah also, the church had been quite extinct, and gone: wherefore, it now was time for God to work, and to cherish what was left, even by sending a besom of destruction upon all the face of the earth, to sweep away all the workers of iniquity.
Ver. 2, 3. "Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.—Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and his female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth."
Something hath been said to this already; only this I will add further, That by this commandment of God, both Noah, and all that were with him, were pre-admonished to look to their hearts; that they continued unfeigned before him. For if God would save unclean beasts, and fowls, from the present and terrible destruction; why also might not some of them, though they partook of this temporal deliverance, be still reputed as unclean in his sight? As indeed it came to pass; for a cursed Ham was there. Wherefore, read not lightly the commands of God, there may be both doctrine and exhortation; both item, as well as an obligation to a duty containd therein. Circumcision was a duty incumbent as to the letter of the commandment; but there was also doctrine in it, as to a more high and spiritual teaching than the letter simply imported.
Note then from hence, That when you read that unclean beasts and unclean birds, may be in the ark of Noah: That unclean men, and unclean women, may be in the church of God: "One of you is a devil," was an admonition to all the rest: Let this also of the beasts unclean be an admonition to you.
Ver. 4. "For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made, will I destroy, [or, blot out] from off the face of the earth."
Now the judgment is at the door; it is time to make haste, and pack into the ark. God doth not love to have his people have much vacancy from employment while they are in this world. Idle times are dangerous; David found it so in the business of Uriah's wife. Wherefore Noah having finished the ark, he hath another work to do, even to get himself, with his family and household, fitly settled in the vessel that was to save him from the deluge, and that at his peril in seven days' time.
"For yet seven days, and I will bring a flood." Note again, That it hath been the way of God, even when he doth execute the severest judgments, to tell it in the ears of some of his saints sometime before he doth execute the same: Yea, it seems to me, that it will be so even in the great day of God Almighty; for I read, that before the bridegroom came, thee was a cry made, "Behold the bridegroom cometh!" (Matt 25:6). Which cry doth not seem to me, to be the ordinary cry of the ministers of the gospel, but a cry that was effected by some sudden and marvellous awakening, the product of some new and extraordinary revelation. That also seems to look like some fore-word to the church, "Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven" (Matt 24:30): Some strange and unusual revelation of that notable day to be near, which in other ages was not made known to the world; upon which sign he presently appears. Now whether this sign will be the appearing of the angels first; or whether the opening of the heavens, or the voice of the arch-angel, and the trump of God, or what, I shall not here presume to determine; but a fore-word there is like to be, yet so immediately followed with the personal presence of Christ, that they who had not grace before, shall not have time nor means to get it then: And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him, and the door was shut (Matt 25).
"And I will cause it to rain forty days and forty nights." This length of time doth fore-pronounce the completing of the judgment: As who should say, I will cause it to rain until I have blotted out all the creatures, both of men, beasts, and fowls: and so the after- words import; "And every living substance that I have made, will I destroy from off the face of the earth."
Ver. 5. "And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him."
This note, as already I have said, doth denote him to be a righteous man; one that might with honour to his God, escape the judgment now to be executed: wherefore, the reiterating of this character is much for the vindicating of God's justice, and for the justification of his overthrowing the world of ungodly sinners.
But again, these words seem to respect in special, what Noah did in the last seven days, in order to the commandment laid before him in the three first verses of this chapter; and so they signify his faithfulness to the word, and his observance of the law of his God, even to the day that the rain began to fall upon the earth. And therefore they preach unto us, not only that he began well, but that he continued in godly and unfeigned perseverance; which when perfected, is the most effectual proof, that what before he did, he did with uprightness of heart, and therefore now must escape the judgment. As it is said in the gospel of Matthew, "He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved" (Matt 24:13). Ver. 6. "And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth."
Four hundred and fourscore of which the world had leisure to study the prophecy that God gave of him by the mouth of his father Lamech (Gen 5:29); the other hundred and twenty he spent in a more open testifying, both by word, and his preparing the ark, that God would one day overtake them with judgment; yet to the day that the flood came, the world was ignorant thereof (Matt 24:38,39). (Astonishing is the fruits of sin:) So it came to pass, that in the six hundredth year of Noah's life, which was the one thousand six hundred fifty sixth year of the world's age, the flood of waters were upon the earth, to the utter destruction of all that was found upon the face thereof, Noah only being left alive, and they that were with him in the ark.
Ver. 7. "And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood."
They had hardly done their work in the world, by that it began to rain, by that the first drops of the judgment appeared. They went into the ark, says the text, because of the waters of the flood. This should teach Christians diligence, lest they be called for by God's dispensations, either of death or judgment, before they have served completely their generations, by the will of God. Noah had done it, but it seems he had but done it; his work was ended just as the judgment came: "Be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matt 24:44).
Ver. 8, 9. "Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of everything that creepeth upon the earth, there went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah."
By these words it seems (as I also touched before) that the beasts, and fowls, both clean and unclean, did come in to Noah into the ark; not by Noah's choice, nor by any instinct that was common to all, but by an instinct from above, which so had determined the life and death of these creatures, even to a very sparrow; for not one of them doth fall to the ground without the providence of our heavenly Father.
"They went in unto Noah." And let no man deride, for that I say, By an instinct from above; for God hath not only wrought wonders in men, but even in the beasts, and fowls of the air; to the making of them act both above and against their own nature. How did Baalam's ass speak! (Num 22:28-30). And the cows that drew the ark, have it right to the place which God had appointed, not regarding their sucking calves! (1 Sam 6:10-14). Yea, how did those ravenous creatures, the ravens, bring the prophet bread and flesh twice a day, but by immediate instinct from heaven? (1 Kings 17:6). Even by the same did these go in to Noah, into the ark.
Ver. 10. "And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth."
Just as the Lord had denounced before: Look therefore, what God hath said, shall assuredly come to pass, whether it be believed, or counted an idle tale. The confirmation therefore of what God hath spoken, depended not upon the credence of man, because it came not by the will of man: "He hath said it, and shall he not make it good?" It will therefore assuredly come to pass, whatever God hath spoken, be it to save his Noahs, or be it to drown his enemies; and the reason is, Because to do otherwise, is inconsistent with his nature. He is faithful, holy and true, and cannot deny himself, that is, the word which he hath spoken.
Ver. 11. "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows [or flood- gates] of heaven were opened."
As to the month, and the day of the month I have but little to say: though doubtless, had not there been something worthy of knowing therein, it would not so punctually have been left upon record; for I dare not say this scribe wrote this in vain, or that it was needless thus to punctilio it; a mystery is in it, but my darkness sees it not; I must speak according to the proportion of faith.
"The same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up." By these words, it seems that it did not only rain from heaven, but also the springs and fountains were opened; which together with the great rain of his strength, did overflow the world the sooner.
This great deep, in mine opinion, was also a type of the bottomless pit, that mouth and gulf of hell, which at the day of judgment shall gape upon the world of ungodly men, to swallow them up from the face of the earth, and to carry them away from the face and presence of God.
"And the windows [or flood-gates] of heaven were opened." That is, that the water might descend without measure or order, even in its own natural force, with violence upon the head of the wicked. It came as water out of his buckets upon them, judgment without mercy (Num 24:7).
This opening of the flood-gates of heaven, was a type of the way that shall be made for the justice of God upon ungodly men, when Christ hath laid aside his mediatorship; for he indeed is the sluice that stoppeth this justice of God from its dealing according to its infinite power and severity with men. He stands, like Moses, and, as it were, holdeth the hands of God. Oh! but when he shall be taken away! When he shall have finished his mediatory work: then will the flood-gates of heaven be opened, and then will the justice and holiness of God deal with men without stint or diminution, even till it hath filled the vessels of wrath with vengeance till they run over. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
Ver. 12. "And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights."
That is, It rained so long without stop or sting (v 4).
Ver. 13. "In the self same day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark."
This therefore more fully approveth of what I said before; to wit, That they had hardly done their work in the world, by that it began to rain; but so soon as they had done, the flood was upon the earth. Much like this is that of Lot; it was not to rain fire and brimstone upon Sodom, till he was got to Zoar: But when Lot was entered, but just entered, "Then the Lord rained upon Sodom, and upon Gomorrah, brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven" (Gen 19:21-24).
Hence note, That the reason why God doth forbear to destroy the world for the wickedness of them that dwell therein, it is for the sake of the elect; because his work upon them is not fully perfected. "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise" (2 Peter 3:9); no, nor as concerning his threatening neither,—but is long- suffering to us-ward who are the elect; not willing that any of us should perish: But when Christ, head and members, are complete in all things, let the world look for patience and forbearance no longer; for in that self same day the trump of God will sound, and the Lord descend with a shout from heaven, to execute his anger with fury, and his rebukes with flames of fire. Behold, he is now "ready to judge the quick and the dead!" (1 Peter 4:5) "ready to be revealed in the last time!" (1 Peter 1:5). The judge also stands at the door (James 5:9); it is but opening therefore, and his hand is upon you, which most assuredly he will do when his body is full and complete.
Observe again, that providence sometimes so ordereth it, that as touching the command of the Lord, necessity is as it were the great wheel that brings men into the performances of them, as here the flood drove them into the ark; as he said above, they went in because of the waters of the flood: So concerning the ordinance of unleavened bread, the first institution of that law, was as it were accompanied with an unavoidable necessity, it was unleavened, saith the text, "because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual" (Exo 12:39).
It will be thus also at the day of judgment: Israel will be sufficiently wary of this world, they will even as it were unexpressibly groan to be taken up from hence; wherefore the Lord will come, as making use of the weariness and groaning of his people, and will take them up into his chambers of rest, and will wipe away all tears from their eyes, as here Noah and his sons, &c. did enter into the ark.
Ver. 14. "They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort" or wing.
Without doubt this careful repetition is not without a cause, and have also in the bowels of it some comfortable doctrine for the church of God; every beast, all cattle, every creeping thing that creepeth; every fowl and bird of every wing.
Fist this sheweth, that God hath respect to the fulfilling of his word in the midst of all his zeal and anger against sin (Gen 19). He doth not as we, being angry, run headlong upon the offenders, but if there be but three in a kingdom, or one in four cities, he will have respect to them (Eze 14:19,20).
Secondly, It sheweth that, how inconsiderable soever the persons are, that are within the compass, and care of the love and mercy of God, that inconsiderableness shall not be a let to their safety and preservation: Yea, though they are but as these creeping things, that creep upon the earth, or as the saying is, but as a flea, a dead dog, or a grasshopper, or one of the least of the grains of wheat, not one of them, nay, not a hair of the head of them shall fall to the ground and perish.
Ver. 15, 16. "And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in."
The Holy Ghost in this relation is wonderfully punctual and exact: every beast, all cattle, every creeping thing, every fowl, and every bird, after their kind went in; and saith he again, they that went in, went in two and two; as if there had been an intelligence among these irrational creatures, that the flood was shortly to be upon the earth. Indeed, many among the sensitives have strange instincts, as appendixes to their nature, by which they do, and leave to do, to the astonishment of them that have reason: But that any instinct in nature should put them upon afore providing of shelter from the flood, by going into the ark, (a place to secure them, rather than to save them, had not the occasion and command of God been otherwise) it cannot be once with reason imagined. Wherefore, as their going into the ark, so their going in two by two, and that too male and female, plainly declares that their motion was ordered and governed by heaven, themselves being utterly ignorant thereof.
"And they that went in went in male and female of all flesh, [both man and beast] and the Lord shut him in," that is Noah; and those that were with him.
These latter words are of great importance, and do shew us the distinguishing grace of God, for by his thus shutting the door of the ark, he not only confirmed his mercy to Noah, but also discovered the bounds and limits thereof. As who should say, Now Noah you have your full tale, just thus many I will save from the flood: and with that he shut the door leaving all other, both man and beast, &c. to the fury of the waters. God therefore by this act hath shewed how it will go in the day of judgment with men. Those that (like those beasts, and birds, and creeping things) shall come to Christ, into his ark, before it rain fire and brimstone from heaven, those will God shut up in the ark, and they shall live in that day; but those that shall then be found in the world strangers to Jesus Christ, those will God shut out: "They that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut" (Matt 25:10).
And observe, it is not said, that Noah shut the door, but the Lord shut him in: If God shuts in or out, who can alter it? I shut, and no man openeth (Rev 3:7). Doubtless before the flood had carried off the ark, others besides would with gladness have had there a lodging room, though no better than a dog-kennel; but now it was too late, the Lord had shut the door. Besides, had there been now in the heart of Noah, bowels or compassion to those without the ark, or had he had desire to have received them to him, all had been worth nothing, the Lord had shut him in. This signifying, that at the day of judgment, neither the bowels of Jesus Christ, neither the misery that damned men shall be in, will anything at all avail with God to save one sinner more, "the door is shut."
Where you read therefore both in Matthew and Luke of the shutting of the door, understand that by such expressions Christ alludeth to the door in Noah's ark, which door was open while Noah and his attendants were entering into the ark, but they being got in, the Lord shut the door. Then they that stood without and knocked, did weep, and knock, and ask too late. As Christ saith, "When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets, [as Noah did of old]. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out" (Luke 13:25-28).
Ver. 17. "And the flood was forty days upon the earth, and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth."
While the ark rested, and abode in his place, no doubt but the ears of Noah were filled with doleful cries from the wretched and miserable people, whom God had shut without the ark, one while crying, another while knocking, according to what but now was related; which for ought I know might be many of the forty days, but when the waters much increased, and lift up the ark above the earth, this miserable company were soon shaken off.
It will be thus also in the day of judgment; at the beginning of that day the ears of the godly will sufficiently be filled with the cries and tears of the damned and miserable world; but when the ark shall be taken up, that is, when the godly shall ascend into the clouds, and so go hence with Jesus, they will soon lose this company, and be out of the hearing of their lamentable dolours.
"And the waters increased." God's judgments have no ears to receive the cries, nor heart to pity the miseries of the damned. They cry, it rains; they increase their cries, and the Lord does increase his judgment. "And it came to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts" (Zech 7:13).
Again, As the waters were a type of the wrath of God that in the day of judgment shall fall upon ungodly men: So they were also a type of those afflictions and persecutions that attend the church; for that very water that did drown the ungodly, that did also toss and tumble the ark about; wherefore by the increase of the waters, we may also understand, how mighty and numerous sometimes the afflictions and afflictors of the godly be: As David said, "Lord, how are they increased that trouble me? many are they that rise up against me" (Psa 3:1).
"And the waters increased, and bare up the ark." The higher the rage and tyranny of this world goeth against the church of God, the higher is the ark lifted up towards heaven, the most proud wave lifts it highest: The church is also by persecution more purged and purified from earthly and carnal delights; therefore it is added, "the waters bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth."
Ver. 18. "And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters."
These words are still to be considered under the former double consideration, to wit, both, as they present us with God's wrath at the last judgment, and as they present us with a sign of the rage and malice of ungodly men.
"And the waters prevailed"; that is, over all ungodly sinners; though they were mighty, and stout, and cared for none, yet the waters prevailed against them, as the fire and brimstone will do over all the world at the day and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore, well may it be said to all impenitent sinners, "Can thy heart endure, or can thy hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee" (Eze 22:14), saith the Lord God? Oh they cannot, the waters of the wrath of God will prevail against, and increase upon them, until they have utterly swallowed them up.
"And the waters prevailed." Take it now as a type of the nature of persecution, and then it sheweth, that as the waters here did swallow up all but the ark, so when persecution is mighty in the world, it prevaileth to swallow up all but the church; for none else can aright withstand or oppose their wickedness. It is said, when the beast had power to work, "the whole world wondered after the beast" (Rev 13:3), and all men who were not sealed, and that had not the mark of God in their foreheads, fell in with the worship of the beast; as it is said, "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb" &c. (v 8), So then it might well be said, "The waters prevailed and increased."
"And the ark went upon the face of the waters." It is said that in the beginning the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, and here that the ark went upon the face of them. Indeed the Spirit of God moveth, and the church, as God, walketh in strange and unthought of stations. It is said, that God hath "a way in the whirlwind, and in the storm" (Nahum 1:3). So he hath upon the very face of the persecution of the day, but none but the church can follow him here; it is the ark that can follow him upon the face of the waters. Deep things are seen by them that are upon the waters: "They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; They see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep" (Psa 107:23,24). Indeed it oft falls out, that the church seeth more of God in affliction, than when she is at rest and ease; when she is tumbled to and fro in the waters, then she sees the works of God, and his wonders in the deep.
And this makes persecution so pleasant a thing, this makes the ark go upon the face of the waters, she seeth more in this her state, than in all the treasures of Egypt (Heb 11:24,25).
Ver. 19. "And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered."
This second repetition of the prevailing of the waters, doth also call for a second consideration.
1. It shews us, that all hope that any ungodly man might have at the beginning of the flood to escape the rage thereof, was now swallowed up in death. Indeed it is natural to the creatures, when floods and inundations are upon the earth, to repair to the high places, as they only that are left for preservation of life; where life may be also continued if the waters do not overflow them: but when it comes to pass as here we read, that all the hills under the heavens are covered: then life takes its farewell, and is gone from the world, as was the effect of the waters of Noah.
The hills therefore were types of the hope of the hypocrite, upon which they clamber till their heads do touch the clouds, thinking thereby to escape the judgment of God; but "though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence," saith God (Amos 9:2,3). The flood of his wrath will come thither, even over the tops of all the hills. So that safety is only in the ark with Noah, in the church with Christ, all other places must be drowned with the flood.
2. We may also understand by this verse, how God in a time of persecution will cut off the carnal confidence of his people. We are apt to place our hope somewhere else than in God, when persecution ariseth because of the word. We hope that such a man, or that such outward means may prevent our being swept away with this flood. But because this confidence is not after God, but tendeth to weaken our stedfast dependence on him; therefore this flood shall cover all our hills, not one shall be found for us under the whole heaven (Jer 2:36,37). When the king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem to war, then Israel, instead of trusting in God, put their confidence in the king of Egypt, but he also was swallowed up by this flood, that Israel might be ashamed of such confidence; and this at last they confessed. "As for us, [said they,] our eyes as yet failed for our vain help: in our watching, we have watched for a nation that could not save us" (Lam 4:17).
It was requisite therefore that the hills should be covered, that Noah might not have confidence in them; but surely this dispensation of God was an heart-shaking providence to Noah, and they that were with him; for here indeed was his faith tried, there was no hill left in all the world; now were his carnal helpers gone, there was none shut up or left: Now therefore, if they could rejoice, it must be only in the power of God. As David said, "Shall I lift up mine yes to the hills? whence should my help come?" So the margin: "My help cometh from the Lord that made heaven and earth" (Psa 121:1,2).
Ver. 20. "Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered." The height of Goliath was but six cubits and a span (1 Sam 17:4), neither was Og's bedstead any more than nine (Deu 3:11). Wherefore this flood prevailed far the highest of those mighty ones: even fifteen cubits above the highest mountains.
Ver. 21, 22, 23. "And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed, which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowls of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth, and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark."
In these words you have the effects of the flood, which was punctually according to the judgment threatened. But observe, I pray you, how the Holy Ghost, by repeating, doth amplify the matter. "All flesh," "All in whose nostrils was the breath of life"; "All that was in the dry land," "every living substance," "every man"; and they were destroyed from off the earth: By which manner of language doubtless there is insinuated a threatening to them who should afterward live ungodly. And indeed the Holy Ghost affirmeth, that these judgments, with that of Sodom, are but examples set forth before our eyes, to shew us that such sins, such punishment. "Making them an ensample, saith Peter, unto those that after should live ungodly" (2 Peter 2:6). Nay, Jude saith, they are "set forth" in their overthrow, for that very purpose (v 7). Wherefore this careful repeating of this judgment of God, doth carry threatening in it, assuredly foreshewing the doom and downfall of those that shall continue to tread their steps.
Yea, mind how Peter hath it: For if God "spared not the old world," &c. (2 Peter 2:5). Secretly intimating, that those that then lived, being the first of his workmanship, and far surpassing in magnificence, if he would have spared, he would have spared them; but seeing he so dreadfully swept them away, let no man be so bold to presume that wickedness shall now deliver him that is given to it.
"And Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark." Noah was that man of God that had set himself against a world of ungodly men. The man that had hazarded life and limb for the word of God committed to him; he "only remained alive," &c. Hence note, That he was the man that outlived the world, that would for God venture life against all the world. Wherefore the saying in the gospel is true, He that will lose his life for my sake, shall save it unto life eternal. Thus did Noah, and passed the end, and went over the bounds, that God had appointed for every living thing. Behold! he was a man in both worlds, yea, the world then to come was given him for a possession.
"And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days." About the same time the scorpions mentioned of John, had power to hurt the earth (Rev 9:10). Wherefore, the thus prevailing of the water, might be a type of our persecution now in the New Testament days. All which time doubtless Noah was sufficiently tried, while the waves of the water had no pity for him.