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and that it is our duty to be merciful to the utmost of our power, for man was made in the image of God.
By the conclusion of this section we learn, that every individual of the millions of human beings who now overspread the earth, originally descended from one of other of the sons of Noah.
From Genesis, Chap. ix. And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard. And he drank of the wine, and was drunken, and he was uncovered within his tent:
And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his uncovered father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered their fa. ther; and their faces were backward.
And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his -younger son had done unto him.
And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a, servant of sere Tants shall he be unto his brethren.
And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant.
God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
And Noab lived after the food three hundred and fifty years. And all the days of Noah were gine hun. dred and fifty years : and he died.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. As Noah was the first who planted a vineyard, and made wine, it is highly probable that he might be overcome by the liquor, before he knew, or was fully apprised of, its inebriating quality.
The behaviour of his youngest son was inexcusable ; for it is a very great crime to expose and ridicule tlie errors of a parent. Filial duty requires children to do every thing in their power to conceal from the observation of others the infirmities of those, to whom they are so much indebted.
No wonder that Noah was offended; but we are not to regard the curse he denouncud against Ham, or the blessings he pronounced on Shem and Japheth, as the result of his own wishes. His words ar- evidently prophetic, and related to the posterities of his sons, (and have been amply fulfilled, as is shewn in th• course of this history, but it is likely, that Noah might be inspired to utter these predictions, at this time in particular, as a puni hment from the Lokd to one son for disobedience, and as a reward to the others for their filial piety. It certainly mu t have been a great mortification to Ham, to know that his descendants would be slave: ; it was an immediate degradation of himself, because it lessened his consequence in the world. Ja- pheth, on the other hand, was proportionably exalted;
and doubtless had great pleasure in hearing that his Coffspring would be
$0 prosperous; What must have been the happiness of Shem, when he found that the LORD was, in a peculiar manner, to be his God! The event has shewn, that this part of Noah's prediction "referred to the firoinised seed of the woman ;
and it is supposed that, as, Noah was heir to the righteousness which is by faith, he was honoured with the privilege of transmitting the inheritance of the spiritual, as well as the temporal blessings, which were promised to the human race, all of whom were to proceed from his sons,
Noah had lived to see the temporal curse removed from the earth ; and in the divine revelation made to
him in this prediction, he had hopes given him that there would be a final deliverance from it*.
Noah seems to have been blessed with long life, as a reward for his fidelity to God. We do not read of any man after him that lived to so great an age. The flood happened 1656 years after the creation of the world, and 2349 years before the birth of Christ. The space of time from the creation to the flood is called the first age of the world. From Noah's example, mankind' are warned to avoid indulging themselves to
excess in drinking strong liquors ; for none can tell what sins or follies they may commit, when they deprive themselves of the use of their reason.
As we shall have frequent occasion to speak of prophecies, it is necessary, before we proceed any farther, to explain what prophecy is.
The great CREATOR knows all things, past, present, and to coine ; and is able to make known to his creatures whatsoever he pleases. : That mankind might know every thing which was necessary to encourage them to do their duty, and trust in Him, God revealed to them, at different times, a number of events, which were to hapo · pen at distant periods.
There is in the Bible what may justly be stiled a chain of prophecy relating to the Saviour of the world; the first of these was spoken by the Lord Himself, and has been already noticed, viz. That by which Adam and Eve were comforted after the fallt, The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head. This served to convey to our first parents a general hope and expectation of pardon and restoration, and kept them from despair, by affording grounds for trust and confidence in Goo, without which religion cannot be supported in the world. In this prophecy, all the sons of Adam have an interest, and to this the administrations of Providence * See Bishop Sherlock on Prophecy. * See Section iii.
have in all ages had a relation, and will have, till the end of all things brings with it the appointed time for its full accomplishment.
To this prophecy, God's promise to Noah of establishe ing His covenant with him evidently referred. *
But the Lord did not always declare his predictions Himself; He appointed an order of men to be His instruments, who successively delivered many prophecies. These persons were divinely inspired, and spake not the dictates of their own reason, but the very words which God's Holy Spirit suggested. Lamech, the father of Noah, is supposed to have been under this Divine influ. ence, when he predicted that his son would be a comfort to the world in respect to the curse which was, at the fall of man, laid on the ground; he therefore was a prophet ; and Noah was a prophet when he cursed Ham, and blessed Shem and Japheth, The import of his prophecy has been already pointed out. The use and intent of prophecy seems to have been, to keep up a constant expecta. tion of the coming of a Redeemer, and to serve as an evia dence of him, when he should come upon earth.
In the course of this history, it will appear that there were two kinds of prophecies, which may be distinguished into local and general; the former related to the temporal concerns of particular persons or nations; the latter respected the spiritual concerns of all mankind. The completion of the first was an earnest of the accomplishment of the othera
THE CON FUSION OF TONGUES.
From Genesis, Chap. xi. And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass as they journeyed from
* See Bishop Sherlock on Prophecy.
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 morter.
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
the face of the whole earth.
And the LORD came down 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 upon 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 earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS, It is evident from this section, that many of the inhabitants of the earth had thrown off their confidence in the LORD, and trusted in their own wisdom and skill, and there is great reason to believe that the descendants of Ham had departed from the true Religion, and worshipped the Sun, to whoni as a Deity, or at least as the Image of God, the Tower of Babel was to be dedicated and used as a temple or place of worship. Nimrod,