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the drops of rain, it cannot be supposed that there was no rainbow before the flood. The appointment of the rainbow as a sign would seem to intimate that, as surely as the rainbow is a necessary effect of sunshine in rain-and it must continue such as long as the sun and atmosphere endure—80 surely shall this earth be preserved from destruction by water; and its preservation shall be as necessary an effect of God's promise as the rainbow is the effect of the shining of the sun in a shower of rain. Both the Greeks and the Latins considered the rainbow as a Divine token, and even regarded it as a Deity, as the messenger of the gods.--Gen. ix. 13.
SOME have supposed that wine was now first made of grapes; and that Noah, not aware of its effects, was surprised into drunkenness. --Gen. ix. 18-23.
Ham is thought to have been the second son of Noah; and if so, the words “knew what his younger son had done” refer to Canaan, his grandson. Canaan, perhaps, first discovered Noah's situation, and told it to Ham. “God shall persuade Japheth,” for so the word signifies; and being so persuaded, "he shall dwell in the tents of Shem.” That is, Jews and Gentiles shall be united together in the gospel fold (Eph. ii. 14, 15).-Gen. ix. 24-29.
All places beyond the sea from Judea are called isles (Jer. xxv. 22). Nimrod was a mighty hunter against the Lord, so the Greek version; that is, he set up idolatry, as Jeroboam did, for the confirming of his usurped dominion. Or, he carried on his oppressions and violence, in defiance of God himself; daring Heaven with his impieties, as if he could outbrave the Almighty, and were a match for the Lord of Hosts and all his armies. Nimrod's name signifies rebellion. The days are coming when conquerors will no longer be ad. judged illustrious characters as in man's partial histories, but will be branded with infamy as in the impartial records of the Bible.--Gen. x. 1-14.
God's covenant people not only descended from Eber, but from him were called Hebrews (Gen. xiv. 13.) Japhet de. notes “enlargement,” and his boundaries have been wonderfully enlarged. Not only Europe, but Asia Minor, the whole of the vast regions of Asia north of Tarsus, and probably America, were peopled by his posterity. The straits which divide North America from Tartary are so narrow as to admit an easy passage from one continent to the other, while the resemblance between the people on the opposite sides of the passage is such as to show their common origin. Ham signi. fies " burnt, or black.” This name is peculiarly significant of the regions allotted to his descendants-Africa and the hot southern regions of Asia. Shem signifies “ name, or renown:” his name or renown was great, both in a temporal and in a spiritual sense. The finest regions of Upper and Middle A sia were the portion of his family. Upon the different complexions of men, in different parts of the globe, Buffon, though he cannot be considered as one at all inclined to bear testimony to the truth of the Scripture, states—“Man, though white in Europe, black in Africa, yellow in Asia, and red in America, is stiil the same animal, tinged only with the colour of the climate.” He further observes—“From every circumstance proof may be obtained, that mankind are not composed of species essentially different from each other; that, on the contrary, there was originally but one species of men.” At Cochin, on the coast of Malabar, is a colony of Jews, originally a fair people, from Palestine, who have preserved themselves unmixed from the people amongst whom they live; yet, from the effect of climate, they have become as dark as the Malabarians, who are nearly as black as the negroes of Guinea. Bishop Watson observes that the tenth chapter of Genesis is one of the most valuable records of antiquity. It explains what all profane nations were ignorant of—the origin of nations.-Gen. x. 15-32.
The plains of Shinar are destitute of stones. By slime is meant bitumen.-Gen. xi. 3.
The building of the tower of Babel is mentioned in pagan records, and the fabulous account of its origin attributes it to giants, who warred against the gods, by whom they were dispersed. The ancient historians state that it was built of burnt bricks and bitumen, as mentioned in the Scriptures. Herodotus describes the tower of Belus at Babylon as composed of eight towers, placed one upon the other, and the lowest a furlong in height. This has generally been considered to be the same with the tower of Babel, and an immense pile of ruins is pointed out at the present day as the probable site. See Rich, Calmet, &c. A recent traveller speaks of eight towers or stages of the temble of Balus; the lowest appears from ancient writers to have been a square building about 800 feet on each side, and 100 feet in height; and the others gradually diminished in size, though not in height. He says that four of those stages still remain, and the ascent is so easy, on account of the rubbish from the fall of the upper portions, that he ascended to the top on horseback. In answer to the question, Which was the primitive language ? Hales observes that the Hebrew and Syriac appear most probably to have been the originals.-- Gen. xii. 9.
On computation, we find that the original revelation made to Adam might be conveyed down to Abram at 2,000 years' distance, through only two intermediate persons. Adam lived till Methuselah was 243 years old, and Shem was about 100 years old when Methuselah died. Shem lived almost as long as Abram, having died when Isaac was about fifty years old.-Gen. xi. 10-26.
ABRAM's wife was Sarai, who, some think, was the same with Iscah, the daughter of Haran. On comparing verses 26 and 32 with Gen. xii. 4 and Acts yii. 4, we find good reason for supposing that Abram was the younger son of Terah, born sixty years after Haran, but is mentioned first as Shem is mentioned before Japhet.—Gen. xi. 27-32.
All the true blessedness the world is now or ever shall be possessed of is owing to Abram, and his posterity. Through them we have a Bible, a Saviour, and a Gospel. They are the stock on which the Christian Church is grafted.-A. Fuller.Gen. xii, 1-3.
DOUBTLESS the Lord did not promise Canaan to Abraham merely as a temporal inheritance. Caanan was not as other lands, a mere outward possession, but a type of Heaven, and in that respect the patriarchs so earnestly prized it.—Mather.
The way of family worship is a good old way,-no novel invention, but the ancient usage of all the saints. Abram was rich, and had a numerous family—was now unsettled, and in the midst of enemies; and yet wherever he pitched his tent he built an altar ; wherever we go, let us not fail to take our religion along with us. — Gen. xii. 6-9.
This remark, that the Canaanites were then in the land, and a few other annotations of a like nature, necessary for connection or explanation, which are found in some of the historical books of Scripture, evidently were added as explanatory observations by Ezra, or other inspired writers, when col. lecting the books of Scripture together, many years after they had been originally written.-Gen. xii. 6.
THERE is no state on earth free from trials, nor any cha. racter free from blemishes. There was famine in Canaan, the glory of all lands; and unbelief, with all its consequent evils, in Abram, the father of the faithful. Perfect happiness and perfect purity dwell only in heaven.—Gen. xii. 10-20.
HERE is Abram's return out of Egypt. He was very rich; he was very heavy, so the Hebrew word signifies. As piety is a friend to outward prosperity (1 Tim. iv. 8), so outward prosperity, if well managed, is an ornament to piety, and an opportunity of doing more good. You may as soon find a living man without breath as a living Christian without prayer. Abraham did not leave his religion behind him in Egypt, as many do in their travels.-Gen. xiii. 1-4.
EGYPT seems to have attained an earlier and a higher degree of civilization and refinement than any other country in the world.-Gen. xiii. 10.
A VERY watchful eye must be kept upon our spiritual sacri. fices, that nothing be suffered to prey upon them, and render them unfit for God's acceptance. When vain thoughts, like these fowls, come down upon our sacrifices, we must drive them away; not suffer them to lodge within us, but seek to attend on God without distraction.-Gen. xv. 7-11.
Every species of animal allowed or commanded to be sacri. ficed by the law of Moses is bere mentioned.—Gen. xv. 10.
The river of Egypt here mentioned was a small stream, so called, at the borders of Palestine, near Gaza, not the river Nile.-Gen. xv. 18.
MEAN and servile spirits, when favoured and advanced, either by God or man, are apt to grow haughty and insolent, and to forget their place and original : See Prov. xxix. 21 ; xxx. 21-23. It is a very hard thing for any to bear honour aright. It is an absurdity which passionate people are often guilty of, to quarrel with others for that which they themselves must bear the blame of. Sarai could not but own that she had given ber maid to Abram, and yet she cried out, “My wrong be upon thee.” That is never said wisely, which pride and anger indite. When passion is upon the throne, reason is out of doors, and is neither heard nor spoken. Those are not always in the right who are most loud and forward in appealing to God; rash and bold imprecations commonly evidence guilt and a bad cause. Abram in so readily relinquishing Hagar, showed that he had not been influenced by carnal atfection; but he con. ceded too far in leaving one, whom he was bound to protect, so entirely in the power of Sarai, whose mind was too embittered with passion to act with impartiality. The female slaves in eastern countries are wholly at the disposal of the mistress of the family.-Gen. xvi. 4-6.
Those who are forsaking God and their duty, would do well to remember not only whence they are fallen, but whither they are falling.–Gen. xvi. 7-16.
CHILDREN and servants must be treated with mildness and gentleness, lest we provoke them to take any irregular courses, and so become accessory to their sin, which will condemn us, though it will not justiły tbem.
From the declaration of the Angel, “I will,” we learn who this angel was. The Angel Jehovah, as it may be rendered. He who is Jehovah himself, yea the Messenger or Angel of the Covenant, the Eternal Word and Son of God.
Bishop NEWTON has shown the fulfilment of the remarkable prophecy respecting the descendants of Ishmael. The Hagareens, Saracens, and other tribes of Arabs, are descended from Ishmael, and have always retained a great veneration for the memory of Abraham. In all ages, even to the present day, they have been a hardy, unsubdued race of freebooters, distinct from other nations. The historians and travellers who have written of those countries, relate that they chiefly subsist by plundering their neighbours and passengers. They have always been more or less engaged in warfare with the nations around them. They defied the efforts of the Persians, Greeks, and Romans, who in vain attempted to subdue them. In this state they continued till six centuries after the birth of Christ, when Mahomet arose : under his successors they subdued a great part of Asia and Africa, with a considerable portion of Europe. In a few years they had subdued more people than the Romans in several centuries. When this power was transferred to the Turks, they endeavoured, but in vain, to subdue the Arabs. The latter maintained their independence, and for several hundred years the Turks have been obliged to pay large sums for permission to their pilgrims to visit the city of Mecca, which is regarded as the holy place of their religion. The Wahabees, a sect among the Arabs, have at times, since the year 1760, threatened the Turkish empire with destruction. The word rendered “wild man,” in the original, is “wild ass-man,” as wild as a wild ass ; so that it should be eminently true of Ishmael what is said of mankind in general, Job xi. 12. Man is born like a wild ass's colt. See the description of that animal, Job xxxix. 5. Bishop Newton observes that, with the exception of the Jews, the descendants of Ishmael are the only people who have existed distinct from the beginning, and have been preserved by remarkable interpositions of Divine power. He says, “Who can fairly consider and lay all these