« PreviousContinue »
scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth. How the various parts of it came to be peopled by these first colonists and their posterity we have no exact information: but in the fact we see the fulfilment of the will of God. He taught them the means of passing from one continent to another, and guided their various tribes in their different successive migrations, in unconscious obedience to his command, "Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth." Different languages also still prevail; and vain indeed would be any attempt to establish one common tongue. Confusion remains, and will remain, a standing memorial of the sin at Babel. We feel
consequences of that sin in the manner in which we are shut out from general intercourse with our species, and in the difficulty which we experience in learning any languages which it may be necessary for us to acquire. But this is little in comparison of the consequences of that unhappy transgression of Adam, whereby he introduced confusion into all the moral feelings and faculties of man, and brought sin and death upon every
individual. had its remedy. When it was God's good pleasure that his gospel should be propagated in the earth, and preached among all nations for the obedience of faith, he wrought a miracle equal to this which we have been considering, and by the gift of tongues on the day of Pentecost conferred upon his servants the power of speaking in languages which they had never learned, and perhaps had never heard spoken; so that all of various nations, who were then at Jerusalem, with infinite amazement heard them speak every man in the tongue in which he was born. And has not God still more effectually and generally repaired the evil of the fall? Yes, in the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, we have a full remedy for the sin of the first Adam, if we appropriate that remedy by faith: "for if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ."
Each of these evils however has
2. We have here also a striking lesson on the impossibility of human effort to contend
against God. What availed the union, the power, and cunning, of these Babel-builders? Behold, in an instant "he dissappointed the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprize." What did
they effect, but their own confusion, and more complete separation?
And such will always be the end of the combinations of the wicked, however mighty, against the purposes and will of the Lord, for "every one that is proud in heart is abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand he shall not be unpunished." However many may league together in evil ways, and encourage one another in wickedness, worldliness and sin, yet numbers profit not, any more than riches, in the day of wrath. "When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them."
And does not something similar to this dispersion appear in the first establishment of the Gospel? Our blessed Lord, at his ascen sion into heaven, had said to his disciples, "Go ye, and teach all nations;" "Go ye
into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." But for some time they seemed to forget this command: they established themselves at Jerusalem, and appear to have had no thoughts of extending their labours beyond it. They were punished for their neglect, for we accuse them not of wilful disobedience, and in the punishment is the remedy of their fault. There arose "a great persecution against the church that was at Jerusalem, and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the Apostles." "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word." Thus the rage of these persecutors produced the very same effect as the attempt of the builders at Babel. It promoted the cause which it aimed to destroy. Though they conspired together to crush the religion of Christ, they only made it to spread the more, and by their very opposition accomplished "whatsoever his hand and his counsel determined before to be done," even as had been the effect of their previous conspiracy against the life of the Redeemer.
3. Let us also learn from this history to beware of seeking too high things for ourselves. God ever "resisteth the proud, but he giveth grace to the humble." "
They that exalt themselves shall be abased, but they that humble themselves shall be exalted." "It is better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud." While the Scriptures thus inculcate humility by precept, they set before us the most perfect pattern of it in the character and conduct of our blessed Lord. "Learn of me," saith Jesus himself, "for I am meek and lowly in heart." "Let the same mind be in you," saith St. Paul, "which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, yet made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and being found in fashion as a man he humbled himself even to the death upon the cross." If he whose essential dignity was such that he thought it not robbery to be equal with God, if he who was in the beginning with God and was God, exhibited such humility in all