Page images
PDF
EPUB

BOOK X 11.

24

till one shall rise Of proud ambitious heart :

It is supposed that the first goverments were patriarchial, until Nimrod laid the foundation for

ķingly government. 33 A mighty hunter thencc he shall be styled ;

Nimrod was a mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel. And Jehovah came down to the city and the tower which the children of men builded. And Jehovah said, Let us confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So Jehovah scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: Therefore is the name of it called Babel, because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth.

Gen. x. 101

Witness th' irreverent son
Of him who built the ark,

Ham, the son of Noah, who was himself the father of a family, coming from the secret part of his parents tent, laid open to ridicule the frailty which he had accidentally there witnessed. None but fools will make a mock of sin: but to turn it into exultation, to triumph over the failings of

others, shews a malevolent disposition, suited only to the nature of that being who rejoiceth in evil. In the case of Ham, the offence was much aggravated; for the object of his derision was an aged and affectionate parent, whom it was his duty to protect. When the patriarch was made acquainted with his behaviour, he pronounced, in the spirit of prophecy, a curse upon Canaan, the son of Ham. And he said, cursed be Canaan; a servant of

servants shall he be unto his brethren. Gen. ix. 114 Him on this side Euphrates yet residing Bred up in idol worship,

Abraham: this patriarch stands eminently distinguished as an example of unshaken confidence in the promise, and of uniform obedience to the will of the Almighty; on which account he obtained the exalted distinctions of, Father of the Faithful, and the Friend of God. Chaldea was at that time overran with idolatry, and so it continued for many ages afterwards. The prevailing worship was that of the host of heaven ; or the

sun, moon and stars, to which a divine influence was attributed : whence the vain science of astrology

took its rise among the Chaldeans. 120 Yet him God the Most High vouchsafes

To call by vision,

Now Jehovah had said unto Abraham, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will

shew thee. Gen. xii. 1, 2. 126

he straight obeys;
Not knowing to what land, yet firm believes :

And he went out, not knowing whither he went.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Heb. xi. 8. By faith that illustrious patriarch, Abraham, being called by the God of Glory, who appeared to him, to go out from his father's house and native land, to a distant place, which God promised that he should afterwards receive for an inheritance, obeyed without disputing or murmuring, and went out; though he knew not whither he was going, or to which part of the world he was to steer his course, humbly resigning himself to divine providence to mark out his

journey and abode. 128

with what faith
He leaves his gods, his friends and native soil

And they went forth from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan ; and they came

unto Haran and dwelt there. Gen. xi. 31. 135 Canaan he now attains ;

And they went forth from Haran, to go into the land of Canaan; and into Canaan they came : and Abram passed through the land, unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Morch, And Jehovah appeared unto Abram, and said ; Unto

thy seed will I give this land. 141 From Hermon east

A fertile mountain in the north of Canaan,

near Mount Lebanon, beyond Jordan. 144 Mount Carmel; here the double-founted stream, Jordan, true limit eastward :

Carmel, a mountain in the Holy Land, fifty' miles north west from Jerusalem. The river Jordan crosses Palestine, from north to south, and falls into the Dead Sea.

146 Shall dwell to Senir, that long ridge of hills

Senir or Seir, a long ridge of mountains, with many fertile tracts of land which constituted the country of the Edomites on the south side of the Red Sea aậd Canaan, forty-six miles from Jeru

salem 152 Whom faithful Abraham due time shall call,

Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram ; but thy name shall be called Abraham ; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

Gen. xvii. 5. *163 A son, and of his son a grand-child leaves

In the memoir of Abraham, we have viewed the great patriarch in trying situations; the life of his son Isaac was less diversified; for he having the advantage of a pious education and a good estate, sat down in the possession of it, without feeling the necessity of wandering about, to seek for either pleasure of riches. Eliezer, the pious steward of Abraham, was sent to Mesopotamia, to seek a wife for Isaac, from among the children of his brother Nahor: on his arrival at the place of destination, he stopped at a well, that his camels might drink. Thią steward had a most tender concern for the welfare of his master; and he shewed it, by a solicitous regard to promote his wishes for success, upon the commissan with which he was entrusted. He meets the daughter of Laban at the well, and is charmed with her affability, and secretly wishes that she might prove a branch of his master's brethren, . The sacred writer observed, that the man wondered at her ;' and well he might: the winning grace of such be

haviour could not but effect any human heart with love and admiration. Condescension and kindhess, in persons of distinction, will always have this effect upon persons of lower stations; and, if those who move in the more elevated circles would but consider how endearing they make themselves by gentle manners, it would be their chief ambition to win a praise so easily obtained. Eliezer is acknowledged as the steward of Abraham, and Rebekah attends him willingly. Let us now turn our eye towards the tents of the patriarch Isaac in Canaan. Isaac went out to meditate at even tide. The stillness of the scene calms every perturbed idea, and reduces into subjection the wildness of fancy. All nature shews sobriety and tends to elevate the mind to the universal parent, whose 'tender mercy is over all his works.' Thanksgiving for blessings produces contrition for offences, and this brings the contemplative man to pray for grace and forgiveness. While the patriarch was exercised io religious contemplation, and probably the thoughts of the new situation he was about to enter into had some share, he lifted his eyes and beheld the camels from Mesopotamia. Rebekah, on seeing the stranger, veiled herself: no grace is so beautiful as female delicacy and reserve. She descended from the camel in a spirit of humility: and Isaac brought her into his mother's tent; and he loved her, and was com

forted for his mother's death. 156 The grand-child with twelve sons increas'd departs From Canaan,

Isaac's two sons were Esau and Jacob; and

« PreviousContinue »