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very much. His children, too, would learn how good a thing it is to be thankful, and to give praises, and to offer sacrifices to God, even before we attend to our own selves; and so also, dear children, may you learn something.
1st, Try and grow up to be quiet, patient, humble men, like Noah, loving to be called the servants of God.
2nd, Learn something from the sacrifice. I said in our last lesson that Jesus Christ is your ark to save you from this world's cares; and you may know, too, that Jesus Christ is your sacrifice. Now, you can only obtain God's pardon and love through His merits—and the only sacrifice
you can make is the sacrifice of yourself. L. How are we to do that, papa?
P. You may learn from Noah. Noah, perhaps, wished to build a house to please himself. Noah also ought to build an altar to please God. Which did he do first ?
W. He built the altar,
P. Yes; he sacrificed his own wishes-he made them wait while he paid the gratitude he owed to God. He did his duty first. This is one way to sacrifice yourself ;-sacrifice your wishes to God! There are many other ways of sacrificing yourselves. Try, dear children, to find them out; and, every day, as you rise in the morning, think these thoughts
“God was as kind to me yesterday as he was to Noah. God will be as kind to me to-day. I will thank him now, as Noah did; and all day long I will be ready to sacrifice my wishes to Him, to show Him how thankful I am.
THE TOWER OF BABEL. " And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
66 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thronghly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have iinagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth : and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth : and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth."-Gen. xi. 1-9.
W. Here, Lucy, is a new Bible picture to look at. Come and see.
L. What a great tower this is, in the middle! But, look at the people. They all seem to be going away from it, and they are going in parties, in different directions—some to the north, and some to the east.
Ion. And do you not see that some of them have gone a long way already? There is a long string of people going over the mountain in the distance. I think I know something about this tower and the building of it; but papa will tell us the story.
P. I will do so, and afterwards you shall read the account as it is written in the Scriptures.*
Let us think of the world a hundred years after the time of the flood. As old Time flew on, the people multiplied again; the plains began to be covered with sheep and oxen; houses were built instead of tents, and the young and old were at work as their fathers had been before the flood. Some were making instruments of brass and other metals, as Tubal Cain had done. Others were hunting, ploughing, or making bricks; but I am sorry to say that not many of them appear to have been worshipping God.
L. Would they forget God so soon, papa, after the flood ?
P. I am afraid so, from what followed. Perhaps they were too busy. If men have too much to do, and not enough time to think about God, bad thoughts will come into their minds. Directly they forget God, bad thoughts come.
It seems that they forgot God's goodness, which is the same as forgetting God Himself ; for, although God had said that He would not drown the world again, they were afraid to trust Him.
Then came the bad thoughts. They said to one another, “Go to, let us build us a city and a tower; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.” While many thought, perhaps—“God may change His mind, and may try to drown us; then, if the waters should come again, we can climb this high tower and be safe.”
L. That was very foolish, because they could not be safe anywhere, unless God wished it.
P. But it was more wicked to be afraid that God would not keep His word. Noah was alive then, and saw the changing minds of the people. Oh, how sorry he must have been! Perhaps he would go about from one to another, and say to them, “Do not forget God !" With tears in his eyes, he would say, "Remember-God never changes ! Remember-God is good!” But, when he heard of this bad plan, how must it have grieved his heart!—he would cry to them once more, “Oh! trust in God your Father. Remember-God is good!”
But ah, no! It was not easy to stop the evil, now that it had begun. Their hearts grew prouder, and they thought to themselves, “We can build !-we can build a very high tower—a tower wonderful to see! We would rather trust to our own selves than to God! If we depend upon ourselves, we shall know that we are safe.”
* It is suggested to parents and teachers that these lessons should, generally, be imparted to the children before reading the passages selected, the object of the lessons being, to give such explanations, descriptions, and development of principles, as may form a fit introduction to the reading of the Sacred Word, and may increase the child's interest therein,
Ion. What proud people, papa! But there are no people so foolish, in these days.
P. Yes, Ion, there are. Mind that you are not one of them. There are many people who build a tower of Babel for themselves—a great tower, which will end in confusion.
L. Tell us of some, papa, please.
P. There are some people who think to themselves, "We know a way to heaven-we know how to get up there, and be safe. We will do many good works to our fellow-creatures; we will be kind and good, so as to be fit to enter heaven! We will depend upon our own selves." Poor people! they do not remember God; they forget that there is only one way to be saved. They forget that Jesus Christ has said, “I am the way. By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved.”
L. And in another part of the chapter it is said, “He that climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”
P. That is true. Now let us think of the tower which is drawn in the picture. Noah could not prevent the people from building it. There was a man called Nimrod, “a mighty hunter," who urged the people to build, and his word was stronger than Noah's. Everywhere people talked of the great tower; and thousands came to work. On they went, like mad people, sparing no pains to make a wonderful place. All day they would work in great crowds, while the wide plain of Shinar was perhaps covered with women, children, and men busy in making bricks. “Ah!" they would say, we will make thick and strong walls, for instead of stone we will have brick, and we will make our mortar of pitchy stuff and slime, so that the water may never soak through! What thick and wonderful walls we will make! We shall get on very fast, for all the world is at work!"
W. But all the world is not strong enough to fight against God.
P. No. No one would ever think of such a thing. I do not suppose that they were so foolish as to think that. The truth is they did not think at all—they only talked about the tower. How delighted they would be! “Come!" they would say to each other, "sing and make merry! Come! look, and see how tall it is!” So, every day, they made more bricks, and baked them, while crowds of bricklayers came to fetch them, and plastered them on to the walls. Merrily they worked together, and talked of their work saying, “Look at the walls, they are getting higher still!”
But, alas ! poor people, they were wasting their labour. They had forgotten the most important part of the undertaking.
W. What part was that, papa ?
P. The foundation. They had not begun it properly; so it was very weak,-like a house built on the sand.
L. But the plain was not sandy, I suppose? And I suppose that they made a stone foundation?
P. Very likely; but it wanted a stonger foundation than that. The true foundation of every undertaking is the blessing of God. If ever you
begin anything without that foundation, it is foolishness. No matter how well you begin, your work will end badly.
Let us see how badly this tower ended. When the Lord watched the builders from his high throne in heaven, and then came down to see the city and the tower,” no doubt he was very angry. He said, “These people have all one language, and now nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.”
W. They would not like that.
P. No. You can easily imagine how unpleasant that would be. One morning they might all meet to work, and they would find that they could not understand one another. What confusion they would make! Suppose that one man-one of the children of Ham-asked another for some brick; if his fellow-workman were one of the children of Shem, he would wonder what he said.
W. Yes; he would say to him, “What?”
L. And the other one would stare! He would open his eyes very wide, and would look at him;-but he would not say it over again, because he would not understand.
P. I should think that he would turn away, and walk off to find some other bricklayer.
W. And the one that was left would laugh at him, and say, “He's foolish."
Ion. And the next bricklayer he spoke to might be one of the family of Japhet-he too would say, “ You're foolish :” then he would think that the others were foolish-soon, I expect, they would think each other to be obstinate; and at last, I suppose, they would
W. They would begin to quarrel!—that's what they would do.
P. I suppose they did so. They would make a great clatter with their tongues; and amidst all the confusion of strange sounds which they had never heard before, they would begin to think that there was
something the matter” which was very serious; and they had better not live together.
Thus, we find that “God scattered them abroad from thence, on the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city.”.
Yes, they left off—and that is the best thing for all people to do when they have begun anything badly. Perhaps they might all go to the tower once more before they parted. They would look at it silently, but they would not smile,--they would all turn away slowly, one family wandering toward the south, another to the east, and another to the west and north. I dare say they had learned a good lesson. None of them would think now of the fine walls they had built-or if they did, they would not say to themselves, “What splendid walls, how high and thick they are!" Each man would silently say to his own heart, “What foolishness !" “It is of no use to strive against God.” “I will never begin anything again, without asking God's blessing, or else I may not finish it.”
We sing of the realms of the blest,
This is a precious book indeed !