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&c. and, secondly, as a centre of union, or as the capital of a monarchy; thereby hoping to frustrate the purpose of God, whose will it was that they should separate, and settle in different parts of the earth. "Lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth."
V. 5. "The Lord came down," &c. That is, took exact notice of what they were doing; as men, when they examine for themselves, come to the spot.—" Children of men'' From whence it appears probable that the children of God—Noah, Sheni, Eber, and their families—were not concerned in this enterprise, nor, consequently, involved in its penalty, but retained the original language.
V. 6. "This they begin 1o do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do." One might have supposed that, after so awful an evidence of God's abhorrence of sin, and power to punish the sinner, as the deluge afforded, fear, for some time at least, would have kept men in awe. Yet we have here a strong proof that this is not enough to overcome the wickedness of the heart of man. Few things are more highly esteemed among men, than a high, daring, haughty spirit, twhich loves to signalize itself by actions that shall procure it fame and renown in the world; without reference to the will or the glory of God, or the real good of man. Pride, the acting with a view to bring ourselves into notice and admiration, is scarcely thought a sin by the world;—but how strongly does the history related in this chapter display God's abhorrence of this temper! How strongly does it shew us, that "every one that is proud in heart, is an abomination to the Lord;" and that "what is highly esteemed among men, is abomination in the sight of God." You have perhaps been almost ready to wonder at the severe displeasure expressed against these builders ; but, if you regard their attempt in its true colours, as an expression of their pride and independence, and con
sider how strongly these sins are condemned in Scripture, and how contrary they are to what should be the temper of a fallen and dependant creature, your astonishment will cease.
But you will ask, In what does the evil of pride consist? The evil of pride consists in its dishonesty and ingratitude. . If all the power we have to plan or act well and wisely comes from God— If it is He that " giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge- to them that know understanding," Dan. ii. 21.—If He is " a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle ;"—If even the art of the husbandmen cometh from the Lord, "who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working;" Isa. xxviii. 6. 24—29.—If all our success depends upon His blessing, and all our safety upon His protection (Ps. lxxv.».;, 7.—cxxvii. J.—Prov. xxi. 31.) —then is it not dishonesty, is it not robbing God of the glory due unto His name, to claim it as our own? But this is what every proud man does. He forgets that he has nothing " which he has not received, and that if he did receive it, he should not glory as if he had not received it." 1 Cor. iv. 7.
This is the sin against which the Israelites are cautioned in the eighth chapter of Deuteronomy: They were to beware, lest when they got into that good laud which the Lord gave them, and their silver and gold, and flocks and herds, and all that they had was multiplied, lest then "their hearts should be lifted up, and they should forget the Lord their God, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, who led them through that great and terrible wilderness; and should say in their hearts my power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God, for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth" This was the sin of the king of Assyria, in Isaiah the tenth, "He said, by the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and
1 have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man." Whereas "the staff in his hand".was God's indignation against an hypocritical people.
This was the sin of Nebuchadnezzar, Dan. iv. 30. "For which he was condemned to eat grass as oxen; until he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that He appointed over it whomsoever He would;" that " all his works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase;"—and of Belshazzar his sou, who, though he " knew all that had befallen his father, humbled not his heart, and glorified not the God in whose hand his breath was, and whose were all his ways." Dan. v. 22, 23.
It is a sin by which even holy persons are often brought to shame. It was pride that moved David to number the people, as though their increase had been owing to the prudence of his government:
2 Sam. xxiv. 1, and Hezekiah to shew his treasures to the ambassadors of Babylon, Isa. xxxix.— 2 Chron. xxxii. 24—26. 31. Often, alas, has the real Christian occasion to mourn over it—too often does he find that, instead of giving " God the glory due unto his name," that is, the glory of all the good in him, for all his sufficiency is of God, he is apt to claim it as his own. The glory of God is the only allowed end of all he does, but the idea of what men will think and say, is too apt to intrude. Self-esteem and admiration, and a desire to live in the esteem and good opinion of others, creep in and mar the singleness of his intentions.
V. 7. "Go to."—Go to, had the Babel builders said; setting God at defiance: but "in the thing svherein they dealt proudly, He was above them." "All nations before him are as nothing; as a drop e£ a bucket; as the small dust of the balance." 4!
Where was their puny strength, when He, in derision of their boastings, used their vain words against themselves J "Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!" "Who hath hardened himself against Him, and hath prospered l" "He breaketh down, and it cannot be built again. He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty."—" Confound their language."— That is, cause them to speak different languages, so that they may not understand one another's speech. . Thus they could not go on with their work, and were obliged to separate. As the unity of one common language had knit mankind into one community, so "different languages forced them into different societies."
V. 8. " So the Lord scattered," &c. Thus the very means they had adopted to secure their union, became the cause of their dispersion. "Many devices are in a man's heart; but the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand." "He scattereth the proud in the imagination of their hearts."
V. 9." Babel;" that is confusion* It is written in Prov. x. 24. "The fear of the wicked shall come upon him." These builders entered upon their design to preserve them a name in the earth, and it is remarkable that none of their names is left on record- Job v. 12,13. Isa. xl. 24.—" From thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of the earth." The dispersion here mentioned, is the same with that division of the earth among the families of the sons of Noah "after (or according to) their tongues, after their families, in their nations;" of which a particular account is given in the last chapter. It took place about the time that Peleg (the fifth in descent from Shem) was born; for it is said, " unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg: (that is, division) for in his days was the earth divided." In the genealogy given in this chapter, v. 10—26, the gradual diminution of the term of human life is very observable. Shem lived 600 years; Salah his son, 433; Peleg, 239; and Nahor, the eighth in descent from Shem, only 148 years. T. B. P.
(To he continued.)
Letter From A Father To His Son, An Apprentice Boy.
My Dear Boy,
In my last letter, I gave you a short account of the history of Henry the Fourth, but I think I forgot to tell you when he began to reign; it was in the year 1399, and he died in the year 1413. The next king was Henry the Fifth, his eldest son. I told you what a wild, ill-disposed, young man this prince had been, and how fond he was of bad company—the way, of all others, to teach a young man every thing that is bad.
You may be sure that, when this young prince came to be king, all his riotous companions would expect that they should be in great favour; and that they should be enabled to indulge in all their profligate schemes and wicked pleasures. But they soon found the difference; for the king sent for them, and told them, that he was thoroughly ashamed of his past behaviour:—he gave them each a small allowance sufficient to enable them to live honestly without being tempted to unfair means of supporting themselves; and he, at the same time, ordered them never to come into his presence again till they had completely altered their manners and practices.'
The orderly and good people, on the other hand, expected that they should find no favour; but they soon experienced, to their great joy, the nltered disposition of the new king. There is a pretty story of