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nostrum non est hæc divinare.-Quamcunque terram occupamus, illam Deus se dedisse dicit, et vult sibi acceptam referri. In answer to this, I must take notice, that the Scriptures are not silent upon this head: and what we find mentioned in them, must not be taken in so lax and indefinite a manner; there being nothing in them, that can in the least countenance this notion of a general and indeterminate dissipation. I shall not take upon me to settle the time, when this great event happened : let it suffice, that it did happen; that there was a particular rule and order observed in the distribution, and the whole by God's appointment. That there was a partition, is evident from the words of Moses, saying ; 3“ By these were the isles « of the Gentiles divided.” 4" In his days [Pha“ leg's] the earth was divided.”
By these were the nations divided in the earth after the “ food.” These texts I should think sufficient : but in another place this divine writer speaks more particularly to the purpose ; and his account is so plain and circumstantial, as to leave no room for uncertainty. It is in that noble and prophetic hymn, one of the most sublime compositions, that ever was penned; where he pours forth his soul to
3 Gen. 10. v. 5. h 1 Chron. I. v. 19. 3. Gen. 10. v, 32.
6o Remember,” says
God, and at the same time addresses himself to the people, whom he had so long conducted, and was now going to leave for ever. he, “ the days of old, consider the years of many
generations : ask thy father, and he will shew “thee, thy elders, and they will tell thee. When “ the most High divided to the nations their inhe
ritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he
set the bounds of the people according to the 66 number of the children of Israel. For the Lord's
portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his « inheritance.” This is too particular to be cursorily passed over. We are told, that the nations of the earth had an inheritance assigned them; and that it was by divine appointment. Moreover, that at the general dispersion it pleased God to have a provident regard for a nation, which was to come, even for the sons of Israel: and in the distribution of countries had set bounds to other fainilies, that they should not trespass upon the inheritance of Jacob, which was his own portion. Thus limits were prescribed according to the necessities of a people to come, and to the space, which would be requisite for their numbers to inherit. In other words, the land of Canaan was excepted out of the general partition. This space was usurped by the people who gave name to it. They knew the di
6 Deut. 32. v. 7, 8, 9.
vine allotment; yet wilfully transgressed : on which account they brought themselves and their posterity under the severest curse; and justified every thing, which they afterwards suffered for their rebellion : though at the time of their punishment, their guilt was accumulated with additional wickedness and apostacy.
What I have mentioned above, St. Paul likewise alludes to: 7 Εποιησε τε εξ ενος αιματος παν εθνος ανθρωπων κατοικειν επι παν το προσωπον της γης, όρισας προτεταγμενες κουρες, και τας οροθεσιας της κατοικιας αυτων. This in our version is translated too indefinitely : and should not be, “ God hath made, and hath deter“ mined,” but, “ God made," or,“ did make of “ one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all “ the face of the earth, and determined the times “ before appointed, and the bounds of their habi“ tation.” It refers to a particular time, and ordinance; the same that is spoken of by Moses. And it affords us this additional information ; that not only the place of residence for each family, but the time likewise of the migration was by God's appointment. This was the sense of many of the fathers upon this subject, and particularly of Eusebius.
Μερισμος γης. Το βφοβ ετει τα κοσμε, ενα
7 Acts 17. v, 26.
8 Euseb. Chronic. Acyos lipwr. pag. 10. Syncellus pag. 90. as quoted above, mentions this infringement and usurpation of the
κοσιοσω τριάκοσιοςω ετει τε Νωε, κατα ΘΕΙΟΝ δηλονότι ΧΡΗΣΜΟΝ, εμερισε Νωε τους τρισιν υοις αυτε την γην. He afterwards proceeds to mention the infringement of this divine ordinance, and the consequences of it: νεωτερισας και το Χαμ υιος Χανααν επεβη τους οριους Σημ, και κατώκησεν εκει, παραβας την εντολην Νωε, κ. τ. λ. whose posterity he afterwards tells us was destroyed by Moses and Joshua : ες δια Μωσεως και Ιησε τα Ναυη εξωλοθρευσεν ο Θεος.
This may serve to explain a passage in Scripture, which has been the cause of much perplexity. It is mentioned that Ham the son of Noah had been guilty of a great breach of duty, and want of reverence to his father : that when Noah awoke, and was sensible of what his younger son had done, 10 « He said, cursed be Canaan ; a servant of ser"vants shall he be unto his brethren. And he
said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem ; and " Canaan shall be his servant." It has seemed to many persons extraordinary, that, as Ham was the person guilty, he should be passed over without any animadversion : and that the curse should devolve to Canaan, who does not seem to have been
Canaanites, and the attack made upon them for that outrage by the family of Shem : Το βωλη ετει τα κοσμε, τα δε Φαλεκ ξζ ετεν, Καϊναν ασεθανεν και οι υιοι το Σημ εαολεμησαν προς τες υιες Χαμ. σερι των οριων της Παλαισινης.
9 Gen. 9. ν. 22.
at all an accomplice. But it must be observed, that these words are not so much to be esteemed a curse vented out of resentment against Ham and Canaan, for what had been done, as a prophetic denunciation of disobedience in time to come, and of the evils in consequence of it: and even then not uttered for their sakés, but upon account of others of another family, who were to come after, and to be instructed by it. It is very common with the sacred historian in the early accounts, which he gives us, to specify, what immediately relates to the grand purpose in hand; and to omit every thing else, which is not connected with it. Many things alluded to were well known at the time he wrote: it was therefore sufficient to extract, what was essential ; and to give a sample for the whole. This may be observed in the " history of Lamech, of a " conquest made by Jacob, in the "3 fragment upon the conquest of Heshbon ; and in other places. In the
passage, I am speaking of, there is reason to think, that a great deal preceded what is here mentioned by Moses ; and that we have only a part of the original prophecy. From the tenor of what remains, we may perhaps form some judgment of what is omitted. It is probable, that at this season
11 Gen. 4. v. 23.