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keeps his household back from God: for he will “pour out his fury upon the nations that worship him not, and upon the families that call not upon his name!” Noah having built an altar, and gratefully surrounded it with his family, received the divine blessing on himself and his household. Permission was granted to man, for the first time, to eat, not only the produce of the ground, but flesh also. Then also, was impressed upon the brute creation, that fear of him, which the revolution of thousands of years has not been able to efface. “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 delivered.” To this hour, there are few among the beasts of prey which roam the forest, that will not avoid the sight of even an unarmed man: unless driven to desperation by hunger, or provoked to madness by pursuit. The noble, majestic lion, loses his native fierceness, in proportion as he dwells near human habitations. The horse, the ox, the elephant, unconscious of their strength, are easily disciplined, and freely lend their powers, to serve their more feeble master. And this impress of God, this fear of man, remains undiminished to the present moment. Upon this occasion, also, the first denunciation against murder was issued. “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” This solemn institution was confirmed, ratified, and enforced in the laws of Moses: and it has ever formed a fundamental law, in all civilized, and well-regulated states. We have long dwelt with pleasure upon Noah's piety: we are now to unveil his weakness. The characters portrayed in this volume are not perfect characters: otherwise they would not be men; neither would the history of their pilgrimage afford any solace to us in this vale of desertion and misery. For, alas! every day too sadly evinces that we are imperfect characters; every day discloses to our astonished eyes, some new trait of ingratitude, of disobedience, of sloth, and of depravity. It would be no consolation to us, to be informed, that God is now preserving their “eyes from tears,” and their “feet from falling,” for ever. “Ah, that may well be true”—would be our answer—“for their faith was always in lively exercise: their hope was never shaken: their zeal always burned with inextinguishable purity: their love never waxed cold. . No difficulties impeded them: no enemies vanquished them: no dangers affrighted them: no considerations deterred them from running, with holy alacrity, the race that was set before them. “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and HE, that sitteth on the throne, shall dwell among them.” But we are ever ready to turn aside. At best, we advance, “faint, yet pursuing.’ With wavering hopes, and a trembling faith; with languishing affections, and perplexing fear; we hardly reach forwards to our home; and are incessantly apprehensive, lest we should eventually fall short of it!” But what, if we should prove to you, that these were characters imperfect as yourselves? Many spots soiled their white raiment, while they walked through this world: many blemishes stain their memory. Yet “are they before the throne of God,” for your encouragement; and as monuments of His mercy, whose grace shall finally make you more than conquerors over your corruptions, and your enemies. In the
mean time, observe, that as they were subject to your imperfections, they also, while upon earth, participated your chastisements, and were exposed to similar calamities with yourselves.—Behold, then, this great man, this good man, overtaken by the sin of drunkenness! On this occasion, one of his sons forgot that filial sympathy which should cover a parent's imperfections, and which warmed the bosom of his brethren: in consequence of which, Ham drew down upon himself, and upon his family, his father's curse; while a blessing, soft as the dew, descended upon the heads of Shem and of Japheth, and upon their posterity. At length, we arrive at that eventful period, which , is the winding up of the longest history: “all the days of Noah, were nine hundred and fifty years—and he died!” Six hundred years of his life were passed upon the face of the old world; and three hundred and fifty, he walked upon the ground of the new one. Three hundred and sixty-five days, had he floated upon the surface of a boundless ocean: rescued with his family from destruction; and bearing with him this testimony, “that he pleased God.” This, it was, that encircled his hoary head with a diadem of glory: he was “found in the way of righteousness.” The longest life is but as “yesterday, when it is passed:” but “Noah walked with God”—with that Being, whose days are commensurate with the ages of eternity; and who first provided for him, and afterwards bestowed upon him, an unfading inheritance. When the sacred writer had conducted the venerable patriarch to his last, peaceful retreat—the grave; he favors us with a genealogy of his descendants. As his history particularly concerned the Israelites, he has given us the line of Shem entire; and his only.
As to the offspring of the other sons of Noah, his design appears to have been, merely to bring them down to the dispersion of the people; in order to leave to posterity the names of the first founders of nations; and then to dismiss them. Hence, although he mentions the Canaanites, as a people with whom the Israelites were concerned, yet he deduces the genealogy of Ham no farther; and it is shorter than those of Cush and Mizraim, by one generation. The predictions of Noah were remarkably fulfilled: but to unfold the various events in correspondence with them, were, of itself, the labor of a lecture; and indeed belongs to the department of scriptural prophecy. He had said, “Cursed be Canaan,” a servant of servants shall he be to his brethren.” This was fulfilled in the reduction of the Canaanites, the immediate descendants of Canaan, by the Israelites, the posterity of Shem. It was again fulfilled, in the subjugation of the Egyptians, the descendants of Ham; both by the Persians, the posterity of Shem; and by the Grecians, the offspring of Japheth. Tyre was built by the Sidonians, the descendants of Ham; and was twice subdued, and at length wholly desolated, by the posterity of his brethren. The Carthaginians were descendants of Ham: the Romans, who subdued them, derived their line from Japheth. The whole continent of Africa, was peopled, for the most part, by the children of Ham: it is become the mart of the whole world for slavery; and the Europeans, the oppressors of this wretched people, are the posterity of Japheth. The blessing pronounced upon Shem, was, “Blessed be the Lord God of Shem:” or rather, “Blessed of the
"It is a singularity in this prophecy, that Ham was cursed in the name of his youngest son, Canaan,
Lord my God, be Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” Shem was peculiarly blessed in two respects: the Church of God was among the posterity of Shem, for many generations; and from him, “according to the flesh,” the Messiah came.—Of Japheth, he said, “God shall enlarge Japheth.” All Europe; the lesser Asia; Media; a part of Armenia; Iberia; Albania; the wide regions of the North, once in the hands of the Scythians, now inhabited by the Tartars; India and China; and, probably, the continent of America; are the possessions of Japheth. Farther, “He shall dwell in the tents of Shem.” This seems to allude to the unions, which sometimes took place, between the posterity of these brethren, when they conjointly fought against the descendants of Ham. There have been some exceptions, when the descendants of Ham have subdued those of Shem, and of Japheth; but, in general, Ham has been the servant of his brethren: and it is worthy of remark, that the four grand empires of the world, the Assyrian, the Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman, descended, the two former from Shem, and the two latter from Japheth.* We are afterwards introduced to Nimrod, who is called “a mighty hunter before the Lord.” Commentators have been greatly divided respecting this extraordinary personage: since, the words of Moses may be taken in a good or a bad sense. There is nothing in his short history, bearing the least reproach; except, indeed, his name, which signifies a rebel. Enough, however, is said to render it evident that he grasped at empire; and obtained it. Some ascribe to him the project of building Babel; which, considering
*See Newton on the Prophecies; vol. i., Dissertation 1. Noah's