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Noah's life, and 2349 years before Christ, when The proba-
ble condition
the world was 1655 years old, according to of the an te-

Usshur, but much older according to Hale and world.
other authorities — when more time had elapsed than from
the Deluge to the reign of Solomon. And hence there more
people destroyed, in all probability, than existed on the
earth in the time of Solomon. And as men lived longer
in those primeval times than subsequently, and were larger
and stronger, " for there were giants in those days," and
early invented tents, the harp, the organ, and were artifi-
cers in brass and iron, and built cities — as they were full of
inventions as well as imaginations, it is not unreasonable to
infer, though we can not know with certainty, that the ante-
diluvian world was more splendid and luxurious than the
world in the time of Solomon and Homer — the era of the
Pyramids of Egypt.

IS The Antediluvian World. [Chap. I.

The art of building was certainly then carried to consider-
able perfection, for the ark, which Noah built, was

The ark.

four hundred and fifty feet long, seventy-five wide,
and forty-five deep ; and was constructed so curiously as to
hold specimens of all known animals and birds, with provi-
sions for them for more than ten months.

This sacred ark or ship, built of gopher wood, floated on
the world's waves, until, in the seventh month, it rested
upon the mountains of Ararat. It was nearly a year before
Noah ventured from the ark. His first act, after he issued
forth, was to build an altar and offer sacrifice to the God
who had preserved him and his family alone, of the human
race. And the Lord was well pleased, and made a covenant
The Divine with him that he would never again send a like

covenant . .

with Noah, destruction upon the earth, and as a sign and seal
of the covenant which he made with all flesh, he set his bow
in the cloud. We hence infer that the primeval world was
watered by mists from the earth, like the garden of Eden,
and not by rains.

" The memory of the Deluge is preserved in the traditions
The tradi- of nearly all nations, as well as in the narrative

tion of the J

deluge. of Moses ; and most heathen mythologies have some

kind of sacred ark." Moreover, there are various geological
phenomena in all parts of the world, which can not be
accounted for on any other ground than some violent dis-
ruption produced by a universal Deluge. The Deluge it-
self can not be explained, although there are many ingen-
ious theories to show it might be in accordance with natural
causes. The Scriptures allude to it as a supernatural event,
for an express end. When the supernatural power of God
can be disproved, then it will be time to explain the Deluge
by natural causes, or deny it altogether. The Christian
world now accepts it as Moses narrates it.



Whex Noah and his family issued from the ark, they were
blessed by God. They were promised a vast posterity, do-
minion over nature, and all animals for food, as well as the
fruits of the earth. But new laws were imposed, against
murder, and against the eating of blood. An authority
was given to the magistrate to punish murder. TheNoacMc
" Whosoever sheddeth man's blood, by man shall 0ode-
his blood be shed." This was not merely a penalty, but a
prediction. The sacredness of life, and the punishment for
murder are equally asserted, and asserted with peculiar em-
phasis. This may be said to be the Noachic Code, afterward
extended by Moses. From that day to this, murder has been
accounted the greatest human crime, and has been the most
severely punished. On the whole, this crime has been the
rarest in the subsequent history of the world, although com-
mitted with awful frequency, but seldom till other crimes are
exhausted. The sacredness of life is the greatest of human

The government was patriarchal. The head of a family
had almost unlimited power. And this government was re-
ligious as well as civil. The head of the family was both
priest and king. He erected altars and divided Patriarchal
inheritances. He ruled his sons, even if they had tions.
wives and children. And as the old patriarchs lived to a
great age, their authority extended over several generations
and great numbers of people.

20 Postdiluvian Ilistoiy to Abraham. [Ciiap. n.

Noah pursued the life of a husbandman, and planted vines,
probably like the antediluvians. Nor did he escape the
shame of drunkenness, though we have no evidence it was an
habitual sin.

From this sin and shame great consequences followed.
Noah was indecently exposed. The second son made light
of it; the two others covered up the nakedness of their
Consequen- father. For this levity Ham was cursed in his
of Noah. children. Canaan, his son, was decreed to be a
servant of servants — the ancestor of the races afterward
exterminated by the Jews. To Shem, for his piety, was
given a special religious blessing. Through him all the
nations of the earth were blessed. To Japhet was prom-
ised especial temporal prosperity, and a participation of
the blessing of Shem. The European races are now reap-
ing this prosperity, and the religious privileges of Chris-

Four generations passed without any signal event. They
all spoke the same language, and pursued the same avoca-
Settiements tions. They lived in Armenia, but gradually
eoendants. spread over the surrounding countries and espe-
cially toward the west and south. They journeyed to the
land of Shinar, and dwelt on its fertile plains. This was
the great level of Lower Mesopotamia, or Chaldea, watered
by the Euphrates.

Here they built a city, and aspired to build a tower which
The Tower should reach unto the heavens. It was vanity
of Babei. an( j p r id e which incited them, — also fear lest they
should be scattered.

We read that Nimrod — one of the descendants of Ham — a
mighty hunter, had migrated to this plain, and set up a king-
dom at Babel — perhaps a revolt against patriarchal author-
ity. Here was a ffreat settlement — perhaps the

Nimrod. J , „ , -, -, p -Zr t i

central seat of the descendants ol JNoan, where
Nimrod — the strongest man of his times — usurped dominion.
"Under his auspices the city was built — a stronghold from
which he would defy all other powers. Perhaps here he

Chip. II.] The Dispersion of Nations. 21

instituted idolatry, since a tower was also a temple. But,
whether fear or ambition or idolatry prompted the building
of Babel, it displeased the Lord.

The punishment which he inflicted upon the builders was
confusion of tongues. The people could not understand each
other, and were obliged to disperse. The tower was left
unfinished. The Lord " scattered the people abroad upon
the face of all the earth." Probably some remained at
Babel, on the Euphrates — the forefathers of the Israelites
when they dwelt in Chaldea. It is not probable The Confu-
that every man spoke a different language, but tongues.
that there was a great division of language, corresponding
with the great division of families, so that the posterity
of Shem took one course, that of Japhet another, and
that of Ham the third — dividing themselves into three
separate nations, each speaking substantially the same
tongue, afterward divided into different dialects from their
peculiar circumstances.

Much learning and ingenuity have been expended in trac-
ing the different races and languages of the earth to the
grand confusion of Babel. But the subject is too Dispersion
complicated, and in the present state of science, ° natlons -
too unsatisfactory to make it expedient to pursue ethnologi-
cal and philological inquiries in a work so limited as this.
We refer students to Max Muller, and other authorities.

But that there was a great tripartite division of the human
family can not be doubted. The descendants of Japhet
occupied a great zone running from the high lands of Ar-
menia to the southeast, into the table-lands of Iran, and to
Northern India, and to the west into Thrace, the Grecian
peninsula, and Western Europe. And all the nations which
subsequently sprung from the children of Japhet, spoke lan-
guages the roots of which bear a striking affinity. The settIe .
This can be proved. The descendants of Japhet, ^1$,^ «f
supposed to be the oldest son of Noah, possessed Jd i> htt -
the fairest lands of the world — most favorable to development
and progress — most favorable to ultimate supremacy. They

22 Postdiluvian History to Abraham. [Chap. ii.

composed the great Caucasian race, which spread over North-
ern and Western Asia, and over Europe — superior to other
races in personal beauty and strength, and also intellectual
force. From the times of the Greek and Romans this race
has held the supremacy of the world, as was predicted to
Noah. " God shall enlarge Japhet, and he shall dwell in the
tents of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant." The con-
quest of the descendants of Ham by the Greeks and Romans,
and their slavery, attest the truth of Scripture.

The descendants of Shem occupied another belt or zone.
It extended from the southeastern part of Asia Minor to the
The settle- Persian Gulf and the peninsula of Arabia. The
descendants 6 people lived in tents, were not ambitious of con-
ofShem. quest, were religious and contemplative. The
great theogonies of the East came from this people. They
Studied the stars. They meditated on God and theological
questions. They were a chosen race with whom sacred his-
tory dwells. They had, compared with other races, a small
territory between the possessions of Japhet on the north,
and that of Ham on the south. Their destiny was not to
spread over 'the world, but to exhibit the dealings of God's
providence. From this race came the Jews and the Messiah.
The most enterprising of the descendants of Shem were the
Phoenicians, who pursued commerce on a narrow strip of the
eastern shore of the Mediterranean, and who colonized Car-
thage and North Africa, but were not powerful enough to
contend successfully with the Romans in political power.

The most powerful of the posterity of Noah were the,
The descend- descendants of Ham, for more than two thousand
ftnts of Ham " years, since they erected great monarchies, and
were warlike, aggressive, and unscrupulous. They lived in
Egypt, Ethiopia, Palestine, and the countries around the
Red Sea. They commenced their empire in Babel, on the
great plain of Babylonia, and extended it northward into
the land of Asshur (Assyria). They built the great cities
of Antioch, Rehoboth, Calah and Resen. Their empire was
the oldest in the world — that established by a Cushite

Chap. II] The Descendants of Ham. 23

dynasty on the plains of Babylon, and in the highlands of
Persia. They cast off the patriarchal law, and indulged in a
i-estless passion for dominion. And they were the most civil-
ized of the ancient nations in arts and material life. They
built cities and monuments of power. These temples, their
palaces, their pyramids were the wonders of the ancient world.
Their grand and somber architecture lasted for centuries.
They were the wickedest of the nations of the earth, and effem-
inacy, pride and sensuality followed naturally from their
material civilization unhallowed by high religious ideas.
They were hateful conquerors and tyrants, and yet slaves.
They were permitted to prosper until their vices wrought
out their own destruction, and they became finally subser-
vient to the posterity of Japhet. But among some of the
descendants of Ham civilization never advanced. The negro
race of Africa ever has been degraded and enslaved. It
has done nothing to advance human society. None of
these races, even the most successful, have left durable monu-
ments of intellect or virtue : they have left gloomy monu-
ments of tyrannical and physical power. The Babylonians
and Egyptians laid the foundation of some of the sciences
and arts, but nothing remains at the present day which
civilization values.

How impressive and august the ancient prophecy to
Noah ! How strikingly have all the predictions been ful-
filled ! These give to history an imperishable interest and



We postpone the narrative of the settlements and empires
•which grew up on the banks of the Euphrates and the Nile,
the oldest monarchies, until we have contemplated the early
history of the Jews — descended from one of the children of
Shem. This is not in chronological order, but in accordance
with the inimitable history of Mose*s. The Jews did not
become a nation until four hundred and thirty years
after the call of Abram — and Abram was of the
tenth generation from Noah. When he was born, great cities
existed in Babylon, Canaan, and Egypt, and the descendants
of Ham were the great potentates of earth. The children
of Shem were quietly living in tents, occupied with agri-
culture and the raising of cattle. Those of Japhet were
exploring all countries with zealous enterprise, and found-
ing distant settlements — adventurers in quest of genial cli-
mates and fruitful fields.

Abram was born in Ur, a city of the Chaldeans, in the
year 1996 before Christ — supposed by some to be the Edessa
of the Greeks, and by others to be a great maritime city on
the right bank of the Euphrates near its confluence with the

From this city his father Terah removed with his children
and kindred to Haran, and dwelt there. It was in Meso-
potamia — a rich district, fruitful in pasturage. Here Abram
remained until he was 75, and had become rich.

While sojourning in this fruitful plain the Lord said unto
him, "get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred,
and from thy father's house, unto a land which I will show

Chap. III.] The Wanderings of Ahram. 25

thee." " And I will make thee a great nation, and will bless
thee, and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a blessing.
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that
curseth thee. And in thee shall all the families of the earth
be blessed." So Abram departed with Lot, his nephew, and
Sarai, his wife, with all his cattle and substance, to the land
of Canaan, then occupied by that Hamite race which The wander .
had probably proved unfriendly to his family in ^f^™^ &c ^
Chalclea. We do not know by what route he Abraham,
passed the Syrian desert, but he halted at Shechem, situ-
ated in a fruitful valley, one of the passes of the hills
from Damascus to Canaan. He then built an altar to the
Lord, probably among an idolatrous people. From want of
pasturage, or some cause not explained, he removed from
thence into a mountain on the east of Bethel, between that
city and Hai, or Ai, when he again erected an altar, and
called upon the living God. But here he did not long re-
main, being driven by a famine to the fertile land of Egypt,
then ruled by the Pharaohs, whose unscrupulous character
he feared, and which tempted him to practice an unworthy
deception, yet in accordance with profound worldly sagacity.
It w T as the dictate of expediency rather than faith. He pre-
tended that Sarai was his sister, and was well treated on her
account by the princes of Egypt, and not killed, as he feared
he would be if she was known to be his wife. The king,
afflicted by great plagues in consequence of his attentions to
this beautiful woman, sent Abram away, after a stern rebuke
for the story he had told, with all his possessions.

The patriarch returned to Canaan, enriched by the princes
of Egypt, and resumed his old encampment near The
Bethel. But there was not enough pasturage for separation

» i o of Abraham

his . flocks, united with those of Lot. So, with and Lot -
magnanimous generosity, disinclined to strife or greed,
he gave his nephew the choice of lands, but insisted on a
division. " Is not the whole land before thee," said he :
" Separate thyself, I pray thee : if thou wilt take the left
hand, I will go to the right, and if thou depart to the right

26 Hebrews from Abraham to Joseph. [Chap. III.

hand, then I will go to the left." The children of Ham and
of Japhet would have quarreled, and one would have got
the ascendency over the other. Not so with the just and
generous Shemite — the reproachless model of all oriental vir-
tues, if we may forget the eclipse of his fair name in Egypt.

Lot chose, as was natui'al, the lower valley of the Jordan,
a fertile and well-watered plain, but near the wicked cities
of the Canaanites, which lay in the track of the commerce
between Arabia, Syria, Egypt, and the East. The worst
The settle- y i ces °f antiquity prevailed among them, and Lot
ments of Lot. subsequently realized, by a painful experience, the
folly of seeking, for immediate good, such an accursed

Abram was contented with less advantages among the
hills, and after a renewed blessing from the Lord, removed
his tents to the plain of Mamre, near Hebron, one of the
oldest cities of the world.

The first battle that we read of in history was fought
The first between the Chaldean monarch and the kings of
battiein tne fi ye cities of Canaan, near to the plain which
history. j^ j ia( ^ se leetecl. The kings were vanquished,
and, in the spoliation which ensued, Lot himself and his
cattle were carried away by Chederlaomer.

The news reached Abram in time for him to pursue the
Chaldean king with his trained servants, three hundred and
eighteen in number. In a midnight attack the Chaldeans
The victor were routed, since a panic was created, and Lot
of Abraham. was re scued with all his goods, from which we
infer that Abram was a powerful chieftain, and was also
assisted directly by God, as Joshua subsequently was in his
unequal contest with the Canaanites.

The king of Sodom, in gratitude, went out to meet him on

his return from the successful encounter, and also

" the king of Salem, Melchizedek, with bread and

wine. This latter was probably of the posterity of Shem,

since he was also a priest of the most high God. He blessed

Abram, and gave him tithes, which Abram accejDted.

Chap. III.] Hagar in the Wilderness. 27

But Abram would accept nothing from the king of
Sodom — not even to a shoedatchet — from patri- The „ e of
archal pride, or disinclination to have any in- Abraham.
tercourse with idolators. But he did not prevent his young
warriors from eating his bread in their hunger. It was not
the Sodomites he wished to rescue, but Lot, his kinsman and

Abram, now a powerful chieftain and a rich man, well ad-
vanced in years, had no children, in spite of the promise of

God that he should be the father of nations. ,His ,..

• H13 pros-

apparent heir was his chief servant, or steward, P ects -

Elizur, of Damascus. He then reminds the Lord of the

promise, and the Lord renewed the covenant, and Abram

rested in faith.

Not so his wife Sarai. Skeptical that from herself should
come the promised seed, she besought Abram to make a concu-
bine or wife of her Egyptian maid, Hagar. Abram
listens to her, and grants her request. Sarai is then
despised by the woman, and lays her complaint before her
husband. Abram delivers the concubine into the hands of
the jealous and offended wife, who dealt hardly with her, so
that she fled to the wilderness. Thirsty and miserable, she
was found by an angel, near to a fountain of water, who
encouraged her by the promise that her child should be the
father of a numerous nation, but counseled her to return to
Sarai, and submit herself to her rule. In due time the child
was born, and was called Ishmael — destined to be a wild man,
with whom the world should be at enmity. Abram was now
eighty-six years of age.

Fourteen years later the Lord again renewed his covenant
that he should be the father of many nations, who The renew .
should possess forever the land of Canaan. His with° V Abra-
name was changed to Abraham (father of a multi- ham -
tude), and Sarai's was changed to Sarah. The Lord promised
that from Sarah should come the predicted blessing. The
patriarch is still incredulous, and laughs within himself;
but God renews the promise, and henceforth Abraham be-

28 Hebrews from Abraham to Joseph. [Chap. hi.

lieves, and, as a test of his faith, he institutes, by divine
direction, the rite of circumcision to Ishmael and all the ser-
vants and slaves of his family — even those " bought with
money of the stranger."

In due time, according to prediction, Sarah gave birth to
The Wrth of I saac > wno was circumcised on the eighth day,
Isaac. when Abraham was 100 years old. Ishmael, now

a boy of fifteen, made a mockery of the event, whereupon
Sarah demanded that the son of the bondwoman, her slave,
should be expelled from the house, with his mother. Abra-
ham was grieved also, and, by divine counsel, they were
both sent away, with some bread and a bottle of water. The
water was soon expended in the wilderness of Beersheba,
and Hagar sat down in despair and wept. God heard her
lamentations, and she opened her eyes and saw that she was
seated near a well. The child was preserved, and dwelt in
the wilderness of Paran, pursuing the occupation of an
archer, or huntsman, and his mother found for him a wife
out of the land of Egypt. He is the ancestor of the twelve
tribes of Bedouin Arabs, among whom the Hamite blood

Meanwhile, as Abraham dwelt on the plains of Mamre,
The the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah took


of Sodom. place, because not ten righteous persons could be
found therein. But Lot was rescued by angels, and afterward
dwelt in a cave, for fear, his wife being turned into a pillar
of salt for daring to look back on the burning cities. He
lived with his two daughters, who became the guilty mothers
of the Moabites and the Ammonites, who settled on the
hills to the east of Jordan and the Dead Sea.

Before the birth of Isaac, Abraham removed to the South,
and dwelt in Gerah, a city of the Philistines, and probably
for the same reason that he had before sought the land of
The dupii- Egypt. But here the same difficulty occurred as
ham.° in Egypt. The king, Abimelech, sent and took

Sarah, supposing she was merely Abraham's sister ; and
Abraham equivocated and deceived in this instance to save

Chap, itt.] The Trial of Abraham. 29

his own life. But the king, warned by God in a dream,
restored unto Abraham his wife, and gave him sheep, oxen,
men servants and women servants, and one thousand pieces
of silver, for he knew he was a prophet. In return Abraham
prayed for him, and removed from him and his house all im-
pediments for the growth of his family. The king, seeing
how Abraham was prospered, made a covenant with him, so
that the patriarch lived long among the Philistines, wor-
shiping " the everlasting God."

Then followed the great trial of his faith, when requested
to sacrifice Isaac. And when he was obedient to the call,
and did not withhold his son, his only son, The
from the sacrificial knife, having faith that his Abraham.
seed should still possess the land of Canaan, he was again
blessed, and in the most emphatic language. After this he
dwelt in Beersheba.

At the age of 120 Sarah died at Hebron, and Abraham
purchased of Ephron the Hittite, the cave of Mach- Death
pelah, with a field near Mamre, for four hundred Sarah -
shekels of silver, in which he buried his wife.

Shortly after, he sought a wife for Isaac. But he would
not accept any of* the daughters of the Canaanites, among
whom he dwelt, but sent his eldest and most trusted servant
to Mesopotamia, with ten loaded camels, to secure one of
his own people. Rebekah, the grand-daughter of The
Nahor, the brother of Abraham, was the favored oTSac. 6
damsel whom the Lord provided. Her father and brother
accepted the proposal of Abi-aham's servant, and loaded
with presents, jewels of silver and jewels of gold, and rai-
ment, the Mesopotamian lady departed from her country
and her father's house, with the benediction of the whole
family. " Be thou the mother of thousands of mil-
lions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which
hate them." Thus was " Isaac comforted after his mother's

Abraham married again, and had five sons by Keturah ;
but, in his life-time, he gave all he had unto Isaac, except

30 Hebrews from Abraham to Joseph. [Chap. hi.

some gifts to his other children, whom he sent away, that
Second they might not dispute the inheritance with Isaac.

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