Page images

II. To inquire what were the most remarkable consequences of the dispersion of the children of Ham, at the destruction of Babel, and the confusion of language.

Nimrod and his posterity were mighty men. They were men of knowledge, as well as men of war. This appears from their taking the plains of Shinar out of the hands of the children of Shem and building the tower of Babel. According to history, they were celebrated for agriculture, mathematics, and astronomy. They were, in short, the most knowing and most powerful branch of Noah's family, that is of all mankind. It is, therefore, natural to conclude, that their being driven, by the hand of heaven, from the plains of Shinar, and scattered abroad, there must have followed some remarkable and interesting consequences from such a great event. And here it may be observed,

1. That their dispersion was productive of war.--They waged the first war after the flood, in taking possession of Babylon. And after they were driven from thence, they maintained their rebellious and warlike spirit. They would not take their proper place among the nations according to God's appointment; but wandered about near Babylon, and infested the children of Shem in those parts. This excited the children of Shem to rise against them, and defend themselves. They succeeded, and laid these disturbers of peace under tribute. , But they soon revolted and refused to pay tribute, which brought on, in about twelve years, another and more general war. The children of Shem, in various places, united together and determined to destroy or to disperse these rebellious children of Ham. This was the war we have an account of in the fourteenth of Genesis, in which four Kings with five engaged in battle. In

this war, the children of Ham were obliged to flee, and according to the divine determination, they were scattered over the face of all the earth. These giants, for so they are called by both sacred and profane historians, dispersed far and wide into various parts of the world. Some went to Egypt. There they conquered the original inhabitants, and continued there about two hundred and fifty years, till at length the original inhabitants of Egypt rose and drove them out of their country. And from Egypt they went to the land of Judea, and subdued the inhabitants, and took possession of that rich and fertile country. There they continued, until the children of Israel drove them out under the conduct of Joshua. From Judea they went to Greece, and violently took possession of it. There the main body remained, while small parties wandered over China, Af: rica, and almost every quarter of the world. But wherever they went, they went in an hostile manner and being expert in arts and in arms, they easily conquered those they called Barbarians ; and they called all nations but themselves SO.

Their course where marked with violence and cruelty.

2. This knowing and powerful people carried the arts and sciences with them, wherever they went. In these, they excelled all other people. It was this people, that did such wonders in Egypt. After they subjected the original inhabitants there, they employed them in all kinds of manufactures; and especially in building those astonishing pyramids ; in cutting canals ; in making the great lake Mæris; and in cultivating the extensive plains, which were once a year overflowed by the Nile. Hence it came to pass, that Egypt, after they left it, was so celebrated for arts and sciences.--

was every This was owing to the Cuthites, who were dispersed at the distruction of Babel. They likewise carried the arts and sciences into Canaan ; and from thence into Greece ; and from thence into China and into all other countries whether they directed their course.

All the most ancient and astonishing works of magnificence, grandeur, ingenuity, and even utility, were performed by this powerful and ingenious people, whom providence scattered over the face of the earth, for our benefit, as well as for the benefit of mankind in general. Though they determined not to be scattered, yet they were the most scattered of any of the children of men. And notwithstanding their tyranny and cruelty, they did much to spread light and knowledge among the inhabitants of the earth. Of this, they have left astonishing monuments, in almost all parts of the world.

But I must add,

3. That this learned and ingenious people were gross idolaters, and spread idolatry through all nations whom they subdued, and among whom they lived. They were the most corrupt and wicked part of Noah's family. When all the other branches of his family submitted to the divine direction to disperse, they refused to submit. They went to Babylon in defiance to the true God. They set up the worship of the sun, the worship of fire ; the worship of demons, or departed men; the worship of the dove that was sent out of the ark; and the worship of serpents, and other animals, and reptiles. Such gross idolatry they carried into Egypt, into Canaan, and into all places whither they went. Noah was an eminently pious man, who undoubtedly instructed his posterity in the knowledge of the true God and of the true religion, as long as he liv

ed. And he lived three hundred and fifty years after the flood, which was sometime after the first and

general dispersion of his posterity. Accordingly, the children of Shem and of Japheth were worshippers of the true God, after the first dispersion, and carried the true religion with them into the distant parts of the world whither they went, by divine direction. And it is to be presumed, that the worship of the true God was maintained for a considerable time after the death of Noah, and the general dispersion of mankind. And had it not

. been for the particular dispersion of the sons of Ham at the destruction of Babel, the true religion might have been handed down through all succeeding generations. But the dispersion of this powerful, enlightened, and idolatrous people, spread idolatry every where, and proved the unhappy occasion of corrupting the whole world. They set up their false deities, erected their idolatrous temples, and established the most absurd and abominable modes of worship. And taking advantage of the native depravity of the human heart, they easily destroyed the true religion, and spread the most absurd and demoralizing sentiments among all nations but one, and even that they well nigh destroyed by their artful modes of seduction. Such were some of the great, extensive, and lasting consequences of the dispersion of the children of Ham, at the destruction of Babel and confusion of language.


1. This subject gives us reason to think, that true religion prevailed and flourished for many years after the flood. Every thing was suited to produce this happy effect. Noah was a man of piety, who was called to pass through scenes the most solemn and instructive. He saw the universal wickedness and stupidity of the world; and as a preacher of righteousness, he solemnly warned them of the tremendous calamity coming upon them, but without effect. He visibly manifested his faith in the execution of the divine threatenings, by preparing an ark of safety for himself, his family, and every species of living creatures. Just before the rains descended and the flood came, Noah, with a heavy heart, took his leave of the world, and with his family entered into the ark, and the Lord shut him in. There he continued an hundred and fifty days. What a long season for solemn reflection on the obduracy of the human heart, and on the severity and mercy of God! Though he had lived nearly six hundred years, and observed much of the ways of God and of the ways of men ; yet he probably learned more of God, more of himself, more of the worth of souls, and more of the vanity of the world, while shut up in the ark, than he ever learned before. There was one window in the ark, through which he could see the busy world six days before the flood came. After that, he could see the rains descending, the waters increasing, multitudes flying every where for shelter, and undoubtedly he could hear some surrounding the ark, and with piercing cries pleading for admission into the only sanctuary or place of refuge upon the face of the earth. But God had shut him in, and all the rest of the world out. Though his heart melted with compassion for a sinking world he could give them no relief. At length the fountains of the great deep were broken up, the waters covered the highest mountains, the cries of men were no more to be heard, an awful si

« PreviousContinue »