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LECTURE IV.

THE DESTRUCTION OF BABEL, THE CONFUSION .OF LANGUAGE, THE DISPERSION OF THE PEO. PLE, AND THE ORIGIN OF NATIONS.

GEN. xi. 1–9. And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LoRD came dozen to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LoRD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence wpon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel, because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earths and from thence did the LoRD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the £arth,

OBADIAH 3 & 4.

The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou eralt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LoRD.

WE left Noah floating, with his family, upon the bosom of an overwhelming deluge, which had ex''. the fountains of the deep, to wash away the stains of guilt from the surface of the earth. We are now to accompany this favored family, from the ark that preserved them, to the wasted, deserted plains, once more visible. What an interesting picture, does the sacred historian present, to the eye of the imagination! Behold, an altar erected—a family surrounding it—the rainbow extending its sublime arch across the face of heaven—and the Eternal himself appealing to it, as the seal of a gracious covenant, and a pledge of security to the human race! On the one hand, may be seen the ark on the elevation of Mount Ararath: on the other, strewed thick and sad, the mournful remains of those who had perished by the waters. All is silent—while the patriarch adores his omnipotent Preserver; and presents his sacrifice, with the mingled emotions of pity, of gratitude, and of faith. —Of Pity. Could he view the scene of desolation around him, without suffering one tear of compassion to fall? Impossible! And well might a patriarch's bosom entertain this divine and generous principle, when she takes up her residence, a welcome

guest, in heaven! She throws her softest tints over those blissful regions, without impairing either their beauty or their tranquillity; and sheds her sweetest balm upon their inhabitants, without destroying either their happiness or their repose. Her lily is interwoven with the roses which form celestial garlands; and her drops of compassion mingle with the tears of exquisite delight, which glitter in immortal eyes. She takes up her lasting abode in the bosom of the Son of God. She conducted the Savior through every trying scene which he witnessed in his passage through this valley of tears. “He wept with those that wept;” and “in all our afflictions he was afflicted.” She accompanied him every step of his journey; and placed her chaplet of cypress upon his conquering head, when he expired on Calvary. In proportion as we possess the spirit of Jesus, we shall become the companions of pity. She will teach us to bind up the broken heart: to wipe away the tear from the eye of sorrow, and to pour the oil and the wine of sympathy, into the woundcd bosom. O Religion! how have thy adversaries slandered thee, when they represent thee, as hardening the heart! Christianity instructs us to “love our enemies:” teaches those to weep, who never wept before; softens the obdurate spirit; melts down the ferocious disposition; controls the furious passions; quickens the sensibilities of nature; transforms the instruments of cruelty, into implements of husbandry; becomes the strongest, and most permanent, bond of Society; and, in every point of view, meliorates the condition of humanity. —Of GRATITUDE. As the patriarch had seen, with sorrow, the destruction of the world, he was preserved, in mercy, to behold the renovation of it. His consecrated ark had floated safely, during the prevalence of the waters; and now, that they were abated, he descended from it, upon the face of nature, smiling, as a bride newly adorned. He received from HIM, who is the Sovereign Disposer of all events, a promise, that the serene sky should lower no more to destroy; and that the hand that balanced the poles of heaven, should roll the seasons round in their order. “I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood.” “While the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease.” With the distinction which had been made between himself and his family, and the whole , human race, in a moment of punishment so signal, fresh in his memory; and with these words of mercy sounding in his ears; surely, he could not but kneel before his altar with gratitude. It is gratitude which tunes the harps of heaven, and touches them with the finger of harmony. And when gratitude was extinguished in the bosoms of “a third part” of the sons of God, the order of heaven was deranged, the harmony of heaven was suspended, the symphonies of heaven were silenced, war first reared his hideous form, hell first received existence, and angels became demons. Nor can this sacred principle be annihilated in any bosom, excepting those over which Satan holds undivided empire. It could not, therefore, be excluded the heart of Noah. —Of FAITH. There extended the seal of the cove

nant over the retiring cloud. “He believed; and it was counted to him for righteousness.” He saw the fidelity of God, sparkling in the brilliant colors, formed by the rays of the sun, falling upon the descending shower. And did he not look forwards to HIM, who should finally remove the curse, “plant a rain-bow round about the throne,” and “make all things new?” Surely, he, from whom a new world was to spring, was not suffered to remain ignorant of the Redeemer of fallen man! He remembered the promise, that “the “Seed' of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent;” and his sacrifice ascended with acceptance, because he beheld in the type, with the eye of faith, Jesus, the great antitype. Did Noah find acceptance in raising an altar to God, and in collecting his family around it? Every good man may avail himself of the same privilege, enjoy the same intercourse, and find the same acceptance. Every Christian family will have an altar consecrated to the Deity; before which, they will esteem it their duty, their privilege, and their happiness, to bow; and around which, they will assemble, to present their morning and evening sacrifice of prayer and thanksgiving. Permit me to press the question. Fathers of families have you a family-altar? Do you statedly, and constantly, bring your children, and your household, to a throne of grace, and present them before God? Do you mingle your praise, and your supplications, as the morning pours a flood of light upon your habitation, and the evening stretches her shadows over it? No “flaming sword, turning every way,” guards from access, the throne of God: no darkness, and thunder, forbid your near approach. A voice, from the most excellent glory, proclaims, “Draw near, with boldness, to the throne of grace; that ye may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” To this invitation, is added a command:—“for all these things, I will be entreated.” And woe to the man, who lives in the habitual neglect of this command, and

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