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Well: God would not let the good Noah perish with the bad world ; so he told him how he might escape. " What! did God talk with Noah, then ? How does God talk ?” I will tell you. God does not speak with a voice as we do, but he has a great many ways in which he can make people hear him; and, perhaps, he might show Noah in a dream, or impress it upon Noah's mind, that he would drown the world. We know, however, that he who made Noah could easily tell him how he would save him. So he, being taught in some way to do it, built a huge ark, something like a ship without sails; and, being of wood, it could swim upon the water. And he made different rooms in it, and he put pitch inside and out, to keep out the rain.
And at length he went into the ark, with his wife, and his sons, and their wives ; and God caused some of every living thing to go into the ark. “And all the fountains of the great deep were broken up;" that is, the springs out of which water is pumped, rushed up on the earth; and the sea and all the rivers overflowed, “and the windows of heaven were opened.”
"What! are there windows in heaven, then ?" No, my dear ; this is a way of speaking,-meaning only that God opened the clouds as we would a window, and that he poured out his rain upon the earth in great torrents.
Well, at last the flood ceased, after it had rained upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and Noah remained a whole year in the ark, till he could come out upon dry land, and all the waters had sunk into the earth and dried up.
From that time God gave a sign that he would never more destroy the earth by water. That sign was the rainbow. Not that the rainbow did not before exist, for no doubt it did; but, from that time, whenever we looked on the rainbow, we were to remember what God had said to Noah.
The Building of Babel, and Beginning of many Languages.
GENESIS XI. 1—9. For more than seventeen hundred years everybody in the world spoke one language, supposed to have been Hebrew, such as the Jews speak; and there must have been a great many people in the world.
But a man, supposed to have been Nimrod, named in chapter x. and verse 8 and 9, is thought to have wished to be king over them all. Therefore, under a pretence that they would be more happy by living all together than by spreading abroad over the earth which God had made for them, and would have them inhabit, he got them to consent to build a fine city. And they began a tower, which was the most wonderful thing that ever was seen. It
was half a mile round it, and half a quarter of a mile high !
The shape was square, like many church towers, which, however, are as small, compared with it, as a post compared with them. There was a walk to ascend by degrees round and round it, so broad that horses and carriages might pass each other and turn round. This tower was built of brick, fastened together with a kind of hard pitch, instead of mortar.
It was against God's will that men should all live together, instead of spreading over the earth; so God said, “Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.”
And nothing could so completely break in pieces all their plans; for now one man would call for one thing in Hebrew, and the man he asked to bring it could only understand Greek ; and another would call for another thing in Chinese, and perhaps his neighbour only understood Arabic; and all but a few forgot their native tongue, and these were not enough to build. What confusion there was then ! The carpenter would call for a hatchet, and his man would perhaps bring him a hammer; and the bricklayer would call for bricks, and his man would perhaps bring him mortar. So they were forced to leave off building, and, to this day, when we talk of confused noises, we say, " they are as bad as Babel ;” and when people set about plans they cannot finish, we say, “they are as foolish as the Babel-builders.”
Some bold gentlemen have lately travelled to where Babel stood, and they have found some little part of its wall still standing, for it was very strong; and it is built of bricks and hard pitch, or slime, as the Scripture says; so true is everything it relates.
This account of the Babel-builders shows that whatever wicked men may think, say, or do, God will do as he pleases; for he is more mighty than they-he is God Almighty.
Xerxes, a great king of Persia, destroyed this tower; and a long time afterwards, Alexander, a great Grecian king, tried to build it again. It took ten thousand men two months to clear away the fallen rubbish, and then they had not done; when Alexander died, and his plan was given over.
GENESIS XII. 1-3. You read a great deal about Abram in the Bible. His father's name was Terah, and his family was of the race that sprung from Shem, one of the sons of Noah.
Abram lived in a place called Ur, in the country of the Chaldeans ; but the people were wicked, so God “said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee :
“And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing :
“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed."
How God spoke to Abram we cannot tell ; but we know that God can do all things, and he who made the world could very easily make any one in the world to know what he wished him to do. He now speaks to us in his word; but then he often spoke to good men in dreams, and by other like means, and he might so speak to Abram.
Abram minded what God said to him. He left his country, and he took with him those that would go of his family—his wife Sarai, and his nephew Lot. “ And they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.”
This was a country then full of wicked men ; but Abram did not go to live amongst them as he did in his native country. “The Canaanite was then in the land.” The Canaanites displeased God very much by their sins, and their land was in time to be taken from them because of their sins, and then Abram's family would have it; and they would know what was to be got by having so good a father, whom God had blessed and made a blessing to them.
As soon as Abram got into Canaan, " there was a famine," or want of food in the land. The crops of corn and fruit had failed, and people were starving. This must have made Abram think whether he had done right or not in leaving his country, and whether God would really bless him as he had said. But Abram had great faith : he was sure that all God says is right and true. So Abram would not go back ; and he went for a time into the next country, which was Egypt, where there was corn.
GENESIS XIII. 5–13. The riches of people in those days were mostly in cattle, of which they had great numbers. “ And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.”—“ And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them,” (that is, it was not