(Calvin, Genesis 1. part 15)

there remained until God opened the way for his egress; and because he
chose rather to lie in a tainted atmosphere than to breathe the free air,
until he should feel assured that his removal would be pleasing to God.
Even in minute affairs, Scripture commends to us this self-government,
that we should attempt nothing but with an approving conscience. How much
less is the rashness of men to be endured in religious matters, if,
without taking counsel of God, they permit themselves to act as they
please. It is not indeed to be expected that God will every moment
pronounce, by special oracles, what is necessary to be done; yet it
becomes us to hearken attentively to his voice, in order to be certainly
persuaded that we undertake nothing but what is in accordance with his
word. The spirit of prudence, and of counsel, is also to be sought; of
which he never leaves those destitute, who are docile and obedient to his
commands. In this sense, Moses relates that Noah went out of the ark as
soon as he, relying on the oracle of God, was aware that a new habitation
was given him in the earth.

17. "That they may breed abundantly, &c." With these words the Lord would
cheer the mind of Noah, and inspire him with confidence, that a seed had
been preserved in the ark which should increase till it replenished the
whole earth. In short, the renovation of the earth is promised to Noah;
to the end that he may know that the world itself was inclosed in the
ark, and that the solitude and devastation, at the sight of which his
heart might faint, would not be perpetual.

20. "And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord." As Noah had given many
proofs of his obedience, so he now presents an example of gratitude. This
passage teaches us that sacrifices were instituted from the beginning for
this end, that men should habituate themselves, by such exercises, to
celebrate the goodness of God, and to give him thanks. The bare
confession of the tongue, yea, even the silent acknowledgment of the
heart, might suffice for God; but we know how many stimulants our
indolence requires. Therefore, when the holy fathers, formerly, professed
their piety towards God by sacrifices, the use of them was by no means
superfluous. Besides, it was right that they should always have before
their eyes symbols, by which they would be admonished, that they could
have no access to God but through a mediator. Now, however, the
manifestation of Christ has taken away these ancient shadows. Wherefore,
let us use those helps which the Lord has prescribed. Moreover, when I
say that sacrifices were made use of, by the holy fathers, to celebrate
the benefits of God, I speak only of one kind: for this offering of Noah
answers to the peace-offerings, and the first-fruits. But here it may be
asked, by what impulse Noah offered a sacrifice to God, seeing he had no
command to do so? I answer: although Moses does not expressly declare
that God commanded him to do it, yet a certain judgment may be formed
from what follows, and even from the whole context, that Noah had rested
upon the word of Gods and that, in reliance on the divine command, he had
rendered this worship, which he knew, indubitably, should be acceptable
to God. We have before said, that one animal of every kind was preserved
separately; and have stated for what end it was done. But it was useless
to set apart animals for sacrifice, unless God had revealed this design
to holy Noah, who was to be the priest to offer up the victims. Besides,
Moses says that sacrifices were chosen from among clean animals. But it
is certain that Noah did not invent this distinction for himself since it
does not depend on human choice. Whence we conclude, that he undertook
nothing without divine authority. Also immediately afterwards, Moses
subjoins, that the smell of the sacrifice was acceptable to God. This
general rule, therefore, is to be observed, that all religious services
which are not perfumed with the odour of faith, are of an ill-savour
before God. Let us therefore know, that the altar of Noah was founded in
the word of God. And the same word was as salt to his sacrifices, that
they might not be insipid.

21. "And the Lord smelled a sweet savour." Moses calls that by which God
was appeased, an odour of rest; as if he had said, the sacrifice had been
rightly offered. Yet nothing can be more absurd than to suppose that God
should have been appeased by the filthy smoke of entrails, and of flesh.
But Moses here, according to his manner, invests God with a human
character for the purpose of accommodating himself to the capacity of an
ignorant people. For it is not even to be supposed, that the rite of
sacrifice, in itself, was grateful to God as a meritorious act; but we
must regard the end of the work, and not confine ourselves to the
external form. For what else did Noah propose to himself than to
acknowledge that he had received his own life, and that of the animals,
as the gift of God's mercy alone? This piety breathed a good and sweet
odour before God; as it is said, (Psalm 116: 12,) "What shall I render
unto the Lord for all his benefits? I will take the cup of salvation, and
will call upon the name of the Lord."
  "And the Lord said in his heart." The meaning of the passage is, God
had decreed that he would not hereafter curse the earth. And this form of
expression has great weight: for although God never retracts what he has
openly spoken with his mouth, yet we are more deeply affected when we
hear, that he has fixed upon something in his own mind; because an inward
decree of this kind in no way depends upon creatures. To sum up the
whole, God certainly determined that he would never more destroy the
world by a deluge. Yet the expression, 'I will not curse,' is to be but
generally understood; because we know how much the earth has lost of its
fertility since it has been corrupted by man's sin, and we daily feel
that it is cursed in various ways. And he explains himself a little
afterwards, saying, 'I will not smite anymore every thing living.' For in
these words he does not allude to every kind of vengeance, but only to
that which should destroy the world, and bring ruin both on mankind and
the rest of animals: as if he would say, that he restored the earth with
this stipulation, that it should not afterwards perish by a deluge. So
when the Lord declares, (Isa. 54: 9,) that he will be contented with one
captivity of his people, he compares it with the waters of Noah, by which
he had resolved that the world should only once be overwhelmed.
  "For the imagination of man's heart." This reasoning seems incongruous:
for if the wickedness of man is so great that it does not cease to
provoke the anger of God, it must necessarily bring down destruction upon
the world. Nay, God seems to contradict himself by having previously
declared that the world must be destroyed, because its iniquity was
desperate. But here it behaves us more deeply to consider his design; for
it was the will of God that there should be some society of men to
inhabit the earth. If, however, they were to be dealt with according to
their deserts, there would be a necessity for a daily deluge. Wherefore,
he declares, that in inflicting punishment upon the second world, he will
so do it, as yet to preserve the external appearance of the earth, and
not again to sweep away the creatures with which he has adorned it.
Indeed, we ourselves may perceive such moderation to have been used, both
in the public and special judgments of God, that the world yet stands in
its completeness, and nature yet retains its course. Moreover, since God
here declares what would be the character of men even to the end of the
world, it is evident that the whole human race is under sentence of
condemnation, on account of its depravity and wickedness. Nor does the
sentence refer only to corrupt morals; but their iniquity is said to be
an innate iniquity, from which nothing but evils can spring forth. I
wonder, however, whence that false version of this passage has crept in,
that the thought is prone to evil; except, as is probable, that the place
was thus corrupted, by those who dispute too philosophically concerning
the corruption of human nature. It seemed to them hard, that man should
be subjected, as a slave of the devil to sin. Therefore, by way of
mitigation, they have said that he had a propensity to vices. But when
the celestial Judge thunders from heaven, that his thoughts themselves
are evil, what avails it to soften down that which, nevertheless, remains
unalterable? Let men therefore acknowledge, that inasmuch as they are
born of Adam, they are depraved creatures, and therefore can conceive
only sinful thoughts, until they become the new workmanship of Christ,
and are formed by his Spirit to a new life. And it is not to be doubted,
that the Lord declares the very mind of man to be depraved, and
altogether infected with sin; so that all the thoughts which proceed
thence are evil. If such be the defect in the fountain itself, it
follows, that all man's affections are evil, and his works covered with
the same pollution, since of necessity they must savour of their
original. For God does not merely say that men sometimes think evil; but
the language is unlimited, comprising the tree with its fruits. Nor is it
any proof to the contrary, that carnal and profane men often excel in
generosity of disposition, undertake designs apparently honorable, and
put forth certain evidences of virtue. For since their mind is corrupted
with contempt of God, with pride, self-love, ambitious hypocrisy, and
fraud; it cannot be but that all their thoughts are contaminated with the
same vices. Again, they cannot tend towards a right end: whence it
happens that they are judged to be what they really are, crooked and
perverse. For all things in such men, which release us under the colour
of virtue, are like wine spoiled by the odour of the cask. For, (as was
before said,) the very affections of nature, which in themselves are
laudable, are yet vitiated by original sin, and on account of their
irregularity have degenerated from their proper nature; such are the
mutual love of married persons, the love of parents towards their
children, and the like. And the clause which is added, "from youth", more
fully declares that men are born evil; in order to show that, as soon as
they are of an age to begin to form thoughts, they have radical
corruption of mind. Philosophers, by transferring to habit, what God here
ascribes to nature, betray their own ignorance. And to wonder; for we
please and flatter ourselves to such an extent, that we do not perceive
how fatal is the contagion of sin, and what depravity pervades all our
senses. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the judgment of God, which
pronounces man to be so enslaved by sin that he can bring forth nothing
sound and sincere. Yet, at the same time, we must remember, that no blame
is to be cast upon God for that which has its origin in the defection of
the first man, whereby the order of the creation was subverted. And
furthers it must be noted, that men are not exempted from guilt and
condemnation, by the pretext of this bondage: because, although all rush
to evil, yet they are not impelled by any extrinsic force, but by the
direct inclination of their own hearts; and, lastly, they sin not
otherwise than voluntarily.

22. "While the earth remaineth." By these words the world is again
completely restored. For so great was the confusion and disorder which
had overspread the earth, that there was a necessity for some renovation.
On which account, Peter speaks of the old world as having perished in the
deluge, (2 Pet. 3: 6.) Moreover, the deluge had been an interruption of
the order of nature. For the revolutions of the sun and moon had ceased:
there was no distinction of winter and summer. Wherefore, the Lord here
declares it to be his pleasure, that all things should recover their
vigour, and be restored to their functions. The Jews erroneously divide
their year into six parts; whereas Moses, by placing the summer in
opposition to the winter, thus divides the whole year in a popular manner
into two parts. And it is not to be doubted, that by cold and heat he
designates the periods already referred to. Under the words, "seed-time,"
and "harvest," he marks those advantages which flow to men from the
moderated temperature of the atmosphere. If it is objected that this
equable temperament is not every year perceived; the answer is ready,
that the order of the world is indeed disturbed by our vices, so that
many of its movements are irregular: often the sun withholds its proper
heat,--snow or hail follow in the place of dew,--the air is agitated by
various tempests; but although the world is not so regulated as to
produce perpetual uniformity of seasons, yet we perceive the order of
nature so far to prevail, that winter and summer annually recur, that
there is a constant succession of days and nights, and that the earth
brings forth its fruits in summer and autumn. Moreover, by the
expression, 'all the days of the earth,' he means, 'as long as the earth
shall last.'

Chapter IX.

1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and
multiply, and replenish the earth.
2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of
the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth [upon]
the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they

3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green
herb have I given you all things.
4 But flesh with the life thereof, [which is] the blood thereof, shall ye
not eat.
5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of
every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of
every man's brother will I require the life of man.
6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the
image of God made he man.
7 And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the
earth, and multiply therein.
8 And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,
9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed
after you;
10 And with every living creature that [is] with you, of the fowl, of the
cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of
the ark, to every beast of the earth.
11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be
cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more
be a flood to destroy the earth.
12 And God said, This [is] the token of the covenant which I make between
me and you and every living creature that [is] with you, for perpetual
13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a
covenant between me and the earth.
14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that
the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
15 And I will remember my covenant, which [is] between me and you and
every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a
flood to destroy all flesh.
16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may
remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature
of all flesh that [is] upon the earth.
17 And God said unto Noah, This [is] the token of the covenant, which I
have established between me and all flesh that [is] upon the earth.
18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham,
and Japheth: and Ham [is] the father of Canaan.
19 These [are] the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth
20 And Noah began [to be] an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within
his tent.
22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and
told his two brethren without.
23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid [it] upon both their
shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father;
and their faces [were] backward, and they saw not their father's
24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done
unto him.
25 And he said, Cursed [be] Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be
unto his brethren.

26 And he said, Blessed [be] the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be
his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem;
and Canaan shall be his servant.
28 And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.
29 And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he

1. "And God blessed Noah." We hence infer with what great fear Noah had
been dejected, because God, so often and at such length, proceeds to
encourage him. For when Moses here says, that God blessed Noah and his
sons, he does not simply mean that the favour of fruitfulness was
restored to them; but that, at the same time, the design of God
concerning the new restitution of the world was revealed unto them. For
to the blessing itself is added the voice of God by which he addresses
them. We know that brute animals produce offspring in no other way than
by the blessing of God; but Moses here commemorates a privilege which
belongs only to men. Therefore, lest those four men and their wives,
seized with trepidation, should doubt for what purpose they had been
delivered, the Lord prescribes to them their future condition of life:
namely, that they shall raise up mankind from death to life. Thus he not
only renews the world by the same word by which he before created it; but
he directs his word to men, in order that they may recover the lawful use
of marriage, may know that the care of producing offspring is pleasing to
Himself, and may have confidence that a progeny shall spring from them
which shall diffuse itself through all regions of the earth, so as to
render it again inhabited; although it had been laid waste and made a
desert. Yet he did not permit promiscuous intercourse, but sanctioned
anew that law of marriage which he had before ordained. And although the
blessing of God is, in some way, extended to illicit connections, so that
offspring is thence produced, yet this is an impure fruitfulness; that
which is lawful flows only from the expressly declared benediction of

2. "And the fear of you." This also has chiefly respect to the
restoration of the world, in order that the sovereignty over the rest of
animals might remain with men. And although after the fall of man, the
beasts were endued with new ferocity, yet some remains of that dominion
over them, which God had conferred on him in the beginning, were still
left. He now also promises that the same dominion shall continue. We see
indeed that wild beasts rush violently upon men, and rend and tear many
of them in pieces; and if God did not wonderfully restrain their
fierceness, the human race would be utterly destroyed. Therefore, what we
have said respecting the inclemency of the air, and the irregularity of
the seasons, is also here applicable. Savage beasts indeed prevail and
rage against men in various ways, and no wonder; for since we perversely
exalt ourselves against God, why should not the beasts rise up against
us? Nevertheless, the providence of God is a secret bridle to restrain
their violence. For, whence does it arise that serpents spare us, unless
because he represses their virulence? Whence is it that tigers,
elephants, lions, bears, wolves, and other wild beasts without number, do
not rend, tear, and devour everything human, except that they are
withheld by this subjection, as by a barrier? Therefore, it ought to be
referred to the special protection and guardianship of God, that we
remain in safety. For, were it otherwise, what could we expect; since
they seem as if born for our destruction, and burn with the furious
desire to injure us? Moreover, the bridle with which the Lord restrains
the cruelty of wild beasts, to prevent them falling upon men, is a
certain fear and dread which God has implanted in them, to the end that
they might reverence the presence of men. Daniel especially declares this
respecting kings; namely, that they are possessed of dominion, because
the Lord has put the fear and the dread of them both on men and beasts.
But as the first use of fear is to defend the society of mankind; so,
according to the measure in which God has given to men a general
authority over the beasts, there exists in the greatest and the least of
men, I know not what hidden mark, which does not suffer the cruelty of
wild beasts, by its violence to prevail. Another advantage, however and
one more widely extended, is here noted; namely, that men may render
animals subservient to their own convenience, and may apply them to
various uses, according to their wishes and their necessities. Therefore,
the fact that oxen become accustomed to bear the yoke; that the wildness
of horses is so subdued as to cause them to carry a rider; that they
receive the pack-saddle to bear burdens; that cows give milk, and suffer
themselves to be milked; that sheep are mute under the hand of the
shearer; all these facts are the result of this dominion, which, although
greatly diminished, is nevertheless not entirely abolished.

3. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you." The Lord
proceeds further, and grants animals for food to men, that they may eat
their flesh. And because Moses now first relates that this right was
given to men, nearly all commentators infer, that it was not lawful for
man to eat flesh before the deluge, but that the natural fruits of the
earth were his only food. But the argument is not sufficiently firm. For
I hold to this principle; that God here does not bestow on men more than
he had previously given, but only restores what had been taken away, that
they might again enter on the possession of those good things from which
they had been excluded. For since they had before offered sacrifices to
God, and were also permitted to kill wild beasts, from the hides and
skins of which, they might make for themselves garments and tents, I do
not see what obligation should prevent them from the eating of flesh. But
since it is of little consequence what opinion is held, I affirm nothing
on the subject. This ought justly to be deemed by us of greater
importance, that to eat the flesh of animals is granted to us by the
kindness of God; that we do not seize upon what our appetite desires, as
robbers do, nor yet tyrannically shed the innocent blood of cattle; but
that we only take what is offered to us by the hand of the Lord. We have
heard what Paul says, that we are at liberty to eat what we please, only
we do it with the assurance of conscience, but that he who imagines
anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean, (Rom. 14: 14.) And whence
has this happened to man, that he should eat whatever food he pleased
before God, with a tranquil mind, and not with unbridled license, except
from his knowing, that it has been divinely delivered into his hand by
the right of donation? Wherefore, (the same Paul being witness,) the word
of God sanctifies the creatures, that we may purely and lawfully feed on
them, (1 Tim. 4: 5.) Let the adage be utterly rejected which says, 'that
no one can feed and refresh his body with a morsel of bread, without, at
the same time, defiling his soul.' Therefore it is not to be doubted,
that the Lord designed to confirm our faith, when he expressly declares
by Moses, that he gave to man the free use of flesh, so that we might not
eat it with a doubtful and trembling conscience. At the same time,
however, he invites us to thanksgiving. On this account also, Paul adds
"prayer" to the "word," in defining the method of sanctification in the
passage recently cited.
  And now we must firmly retain the liberty given us by the Lord, which
he designed to be recorded as on public tables. For, by this word, he
addresses all the posterity of Noah, and renders this gift common to all
ages. And why is this done, but that the faithful may boldly assert their
right to that which, they know, has proceeded from God as its Author? For
it is an insupportable tyranny, when God, the Creator of all things, has
laid open to us the earth and the air, in order that we may thence take
food as from his storehouse, for these to be shut up from us by mortal
man, who is not able to create even a snail or a fly. I do not speak of
external prohibition; but I assert, that atrocious injury is done to God,
when we give such license to men as to allow them to pronounce that
unlawful which God designs to be lawful, and to bind consciences which
the word of God sets free, with their fictitious laws. The fact that God
prohibited his ancient people from the use of unclean animals, seeing
that exception was but temporary, is here passed over by Moses.

4. "But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof." Some
thus explain this passages 'Ye may not eat a member cut off from a living
animal,' which is too trifling. However, since there is no copulative
conjunction between the two words, blood and life, I do not doubt that
Moses, speaking of the life, added the word blood exegetically, as if he
would say, that flesh is in some sense devoured with its life, when it is
eaten imbued with its own blood. Wherefore, the life and the blood are
not put for different things, but for the same; not because blood is in
itself the life, but inasmuch as the vital spirits chiefly reside in the
blood, it is, as far as our feeling is concerned, a token which
represents life. And this is expressly declared, in order that men may
have the greater horror of eating blood For if it be a savage and
barbarous thing to devour lives, or to swallow down living flesh, men
betray their brutality by eating blood. Moreover, the tendency of this
prohibition is by no means obscure, namely, that God intends to accustom
men to gentleness, by abstinence from the blood of animals; but, if they
should become unrestrained, and daring in eating wild animals they would
at length not be sparing of even human blood. Yet we must remember, that
this restriction was part of the old law. Wherefore, what Tertullian
relates, that in his time it was unlawful among Christians to taste the
blood of cattle, savours of superstition. For the apostles, in commanding
the Gentiles to observe this rite, for a short time, did not intend to
inject a scruple into their consciences, but only to prevent the liberty
which was otherwise sacred, from proving an occasion of offense to the
ignorant and the weak.

5. "And surely your blood of your lives will I require." In these words
the Lord more explicitly declares that he does not forbid the use of
blood out of regard to animals themselves, but because he accounts the
life of men precious: and because the sole end of his law is, to promote
the exercise of common humanity between them. I therefore think that
Jerome, in rendering the particle "ach", for, has done better than they
who read it as an adversative disjunctive; 'otherwise your blood will I
require;' yet literally it may best be thus translated, 'And truly your
blood.' The whole context is (in my opinion) to be thus read, 'And truly
your blood, which is in your lives, or which is as your lives, that is
which vivifies and quickens you, as it respects your body, will I
require: from the hand of all animals will require it; from the hand of
man, from the hand, I say, of man, his brother, will I require the life
of man.' The distinction by which the Jews constitute four kinds of
homicide is frivolous; for I have explained the simple and genuine sense,
namely, that God so highly estimates our life, that he will not suffer
murder to go unavenged. And he inculcates this in so many words, in order
that he may render the cruelty of those the more detestable, who lay
violent hands upon their neighbours. And it is no common proof of God's
love towards us, that he undertakes the defense of our lives, and
declares that he will be the avenger of our death. In saying that he will
exact punishment from animals for the violated life of men, he gives us
this as an example. For if, on behalf of man, he is angry with brute
creatures who are hurried by a blind impulse to feed upon him; what, do
we suppose, will become of the man who, unjustly, cruelly, and contrary
to the sense of nature, falls upon his brother?

6. "Whose sheddeth man's blood." The clause "in man" which is here added,
has the force of amplification. Some expound it, 'Before witnesses.'
Others refer it to what follows, namely, 'that by man his blood should be
shed.' But all these interpretations are forced. What I have said must be
remembered, that this language rather expresses the atrociousness of the
crime; because whosoever kills a man, draws down upon himself the blood
and life of his brother. On the whole, they are deceived (in my judgment)
who think that a political law, for the punishment of homicides, is here
simply intended. Truly I do not deny that the punishment which the laws
ordain, and which the judges execute, are founded on this divine
sentence; but I say the words are more comprehensive. It is written, 'Men
of blood shall not live out half their days,' (Ps. 55: 25.) And we see
some die in highways, some in stews, and many in wars. Therefore, however
magistrates may connive at the crime, God sends executioners from other
quarters, who shall render unto sanguinary men their reward. God so
threatens and denounces vengeance against the murderer, that he even arms
the magistrate with the sword for the avenging of slaughter, in order
that the blood of men may not be shed with impunity.
  "For in the image of God made he man." For the greater confirmation of
the above doctrines God declares, that he is not thus solicitous
respecting human life rashly, and for no purpose. Men are indeed unworthy
of God's care, if respect be had only to themselves. but since they bear
the image of God engraven on them, He deems himself violated in their
person. Thus, although they have nothing of their own by which they
obtain the favour of God, he looks upon his own gifts in them, and is
thereby excited to love and to care for them. This doctrine, however is
to be carefully observed that no one can be injurious to his brother
without wounding God himself. Were this doctrine deeply fixed in our
minds, we should be much more reluctant than we are to inflict injuries.
Should any one object, that this divine image has been obliterated, the
solution is easy; first, there yet exists some remnant of it, so that man
is possessed of no small dignity; and, secondly, the Celestial Creator
himself, however corrupted man may be, still keeps in view the end of his
original creation; and according to his example, we ought to consider for
what end he created men, and what excellence he has bestowed upon them
above the rest of living beings.

7. "And you, be ye fruitful and multiply." He again turns his discourse
to Noah and his sons, exhorting them to the propagation of offspring: as
if he would say, 'You see that I am intent upon cherishing and preserving
mankind, do you therefore also attend to it.' At the same time, in
commending to them the preservation of seed, he deters them from murder,
and from unjust acts of violence. Yet his chief end was that to which I
have before alluded, that he might encourage their dejected minds. For in
these words is contained not a bare precept, but also a promise.

8. "And God spake unto Noah." That the memory of the deluge might not
inspire them with new terrors, as often as the sky were covered with
clouds, lest the earth should again be drowned; this source of anxiety is
taken away. And certainly, if we consider the great propensity of the
human mind to distrust, we shall not deem this testimony to have been
unnecessary even for Noah. He was indeed endued with a rare and
incomparable faith, even to a miracle; but no strength of constancy could
be so great, that this most sad and terrible vengeance of God should not
shake it. Therefore, whenever any great and continued shower shall seem
to threaten the earth with a deluge, this barrier, on which the holy man
may rely, is interposed. Now although his sons would need this
confirmation more than he, yet the Lord speaks especially on his account.
And the clause which follows, 'and to his sons who were with him,' is to
be referred to this point. For how is it, that God, making his covenant
with the sons of Noah, commands them to hope for the best? Truly, because
they are joined with their father, who is, as it were, the stipulator of
the covenant, so as to be associated with him, in a subordinate place.
Moreover, there is no doubt that it was the design of God to provide for
all his posterity. It was not therefore a private covenant confirmed with
one family only, but one which is common to all people, and which shall
flourish in all ages to the end of the world. And truly, since at the
present time, impiety overflows not less than in the age of Noah, it is
especially necessary that the waters should be restrained by this word of
God, as by a thousand bolts and bars lest they should break forth to
destroy us. Wherefore, relying on this promise, let us look forward to
the last day, in which the consuming fire shall purify heaven and earth.

10. "And witch every living creature." Although the favour which the Lord
promises extends also to animals, yet it is not in vain that he addresses
himself only to men, who, by the sense of faith, are able to perceive
this benefit. We enjoy the heaven and the air in common with the beasts,

(continued in part 16...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-01/cvgn1-15.txt