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What connection they will have with God's elect in the morning of the resurrection, that day will declare,
In the conclusion of this chapter, we have an account of Noah's remarkable prophecy concerning his three sons; a prophecy, the fulfilment of which is visible at the present day, and affords one among many other proofs, of the certainty of the word of God, leads us to think that Noal was in a state of intoxication, that his younger son seeing his father's nakedness, went out to expose him to his brothers; while they going backwards, covered him; that Noah awaking from his wine, and knowing what was done, pronounced a blessing on Shem and Japheth, and a curse on Ham." We are far from wishing to treat with contempt the present translation of the scriptures: it is in general admirable; yet, in some instances, it tends to mislead. We cannot approve of the explication which this naturally suggests, viz. That a prophet of God should arise from a state of drunkenness, and be the organ of the Spirit of God for pronouncing a curse on a whole raçe, because of an unbecoming levity in the son's conduct to his father. There is nothing in Noah's intoxication, but what he, a poor weak mortal, might fall into ; but to connect this wonderful prophecy with such circumstances, is unlike the majesty of divine revelation in other instances. We would recommend to the yeader's consideration, what is said of wine throughout the scriptures, in connection with the Spirit of God. In Jotham's parable, the vine is represented as saying, Shall I leave my wine, which stirreth up the
Spirit of God in man ? Judg. ix. 13. ( Wine exhilarateth the heart 4 of man,' Psal. civ. 15.' It is very evident, that for important typi, cal purposes, God connected the bestowing of his Spirit with what exhilarated the heart. Before Isaac pronounced the blessing, he call. ed for his son to give him savoury meat, such as his soul loved;' and it is well known, that the use of wine among the idolatrous priests was most common; hence the famous libations to Bacchus, which they considered as connected with a just response from the oracle. It? is on this account that the apostle Paul, when writing to the church at Ephesus, where these revellings and banquetings of wine were re. markably common in their idolatrous worship, thus exhorts them, & Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be ye filled with the
spirit,' Eph. v. 18. In like manner, the apostle Peter, when remind. ing the elect strangers, to whom he writęs, of their þaving left that idolatrous worship in which they had been sunk, speaks of excess * of wine,' I Pet, iv. 3. Many passages of the prophets have a most direct allusion to this, where their prophets are said to have erred • through wine.? Now, it must be observed, by all who have paid at. tention to the idolatrous rites of the heathen, that however profane their practices in general were, they were founded upon a corruption of revelation. It has therefore at least the support of very strong presumption, that this example of Noah and Melchisedec, bringing forth bread and wine to Abraham, were the foundation of connecting
excess of wine' with prophetic revelation. And we would suggest 10 the reader, whether it is not more likely that this intoxication of Noah was that extacy of mind, which the Spirit of God produced,
and of which the satural exhilaration of wine was a corresponding figure; or, if this is not satisfactory, may wę not consider this hisa tory as in itself extensively figurative, and by no means applicable to the persons immediately spoken of? It is evident that it was Ham who thus conducted himself disrespectfully towards his parent; yet the curse is pronounced on Canaan his son, then little more than an infant. We also know, that the curse pronounced by Noah, was not even executed upon Canaan, but on his descendants, many genera. cions after. We therefore submit the following remarks to the read. er's consideration. May not Noah, planting & vineyard, be consi. dered as referring to him founding the church of God after the flood. Often in scripture the church is called God's vineyard; and Jesus Christ himself adopts the figure. The comforts of the Spirit are com, pared to sweet wine :'-' I have drunk my wine with my milk; eat, i friends, drink, yea drink abundantly, O beloved, Song v. l, • In this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a
feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees well refined,' Isa. XXV. 6. When the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, it was said, these men are full of new wire. Noah then represented the church of God, who should in future ages be intoxicated with her privileges, the fruits of the vineyard, and in that situation be exposed to her own sons. The descendants of Shera were the preservers and supporters of the church of God, in all her intoxications with her privileges; and in the latter days Japheth the father of the Gentile church also covered her nakedness: but in Ham's land that nakedness was exposed; and on this account, the curse of God was poured out on the nations of Canaan. In one word, the spirit of Ham, in exposing his father's nakedness, was ex. actly similar to that of Ishmael, the son of the bondwoman, mocking the son of the free. In that history, we at first sight see nothing but a triffing quarrel between two boys, but the Spirit of God discovers to us no less important a subject, than the unchyrching of the Jews being there prefigured and toretold, The comparison between the two histories will be found to be very striking. We do not deem it necessary to enter more minutely into Noah's prophecy on this occasion; those who are anxious to examine it farther, will find it admię rably elucidated in Bishop Newton's Dissertations on the Prophecies.
CHAP. X.-In this chapter, we have the genealogy of Noah's fa. mily, and an account of the manner in which the world was original, ly peopled by them. T'he great thing we have to attend to, is the manifest distinction of the seeds, which is clearly supported. In Shem and Japheth and their posterity, we find the source of the Jewish and Gentile churches; from the former sprang the seed of the quaman, and in the appointed time, God enlarged Japheth, and his posterity dwelt in the tents of Shem, and were admitted into fellowship with the church of God. In Ham we find the seed of the serpent ; and that spirit, which conducted him in exposing the nakedness of his fa: ther, leading his posterity to persecute the church of Christ. Ham, the father of idolatry in the new world, will be recognised by the
readers of profane ancient history, under the name of Jupiter Hang mon. His wife was a daughter of Lamech, of the seed of Cain. His grandson Nimrod erected the kingdom of Babylon, the first of pen adversary of the church after the flood, and the true picture of the antichristian Babylon, whose plagues are now drawing near to be executed. The expression, a mighty hunter before the Lord,' conveys no satisfactory idea. Grammarians are not agreed as to the precise meaning of the phrase ; but the ablest critics say, that it im. plies a violent course of open opposition and hostility to the Lord. In the genealogical list in this chapter, we find the origin of many names, with which we become familiar in the after pages of the Bible; thus, in Eber, the son of Shem, we find the father of the Hebrews; besides various other instances, which compared with ancient history, both sacred and profane, afford strong testimony in support of revelation.
CHAP. XI.-.We are now entering upon a very interesting portion of the history of the old world, viz. the building of Babel, and the dispersion which then followed. That this occurrence took place in order to disperse the then inhabitants of the world over the globe, is clear and undoubted; but that it had a farther, and a spiritual object, is no less so. It has been observed, that the phrase . of one • language,' or literally of one lip, is generally used in scripture with respect to worship; thus we read, five cities in the land of Egypt, • shall speak the lip of Canaan,' Isaiah xix. 18, that is, profess the worship of Canaan. Again, . For then will I turn to the people a
pure lip, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, and
serve him with one consent,' Zeph. iii. 9. This was not more than a century after the flood, during all which period the worship of the God of Noah had been preserved among his posterity, who had all one lip, or 'public profession of his worship. It has been supposed, with great appearance of probability, that the design of Babel was lo erect a place of worship to the sun and heavenly bodies. Here Nimrod founded his kingdom. See Bib. Sacra, at Babel. We have in the remainder of this chapter, a distinct genealogy; of the family of Shem, in whose line the seed of the woman was to come, and that continued down to the time of Abraham, whose history opens a new and most interesting scene in the sacred volume.
CHAP. XII.-As our design in this Introductory Key, is to at: tempt an investigation of such parts of the Old Testament Revela. tion as have not been minutely attended to in the Dictionary, we shall have occasion to say but little on Abraham's history, which has been considered there at some length. He was not only figurative of his Son and Lord, but in his person, and in the steps of his faith, we have a pattern of that course which every Christian is called to
1. • The Lord had said to Abraham, Get thee out of thy country,' &c. Every disciple of Jesus Christ is partaker in the same heavenly calling: the call of the gospel comes from the Lord : his authority alone will have influence, particularly when we attend,
2. To what we are called to leave, country, kindred, father's • house,' &c. every thing near and dear to the human heart.
• If any man (said Jesus) will come after me, let him deny himself, • take up his cross, and follow me.' 3. To what end, Merely a promise of a country which shall be afterwards received for an inhe. ritance: God says, to a country that I will shew thee.' Abraham got a sight of it; nay, he walked through it.—he sojourned in it; but he got no inheritance, no not so much as to set his foot on. Just so, Christians now get a sight of the good land: there is a plan or draught of it to be seen in the scriptures; and upon the faith of Him who promises that hereafter they shall enjoy it, they are taught to become strangers and pilgrims here, knowing they have no con. tinuing city, but looking for one to come. God next promises to niake of Abraham a great nation; to bless him; to make his name great; nay, that he (viz. in his seed) should be a blessing. All This was so far literally fulfilled, but there is an infinitely, greater fulfilment yet to take place. When Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, take their seat in the kingdom of God; when the innumerable multitude that shall at last be acknowledged as Abraham's seed, (the father of many nations), shall sit down with him; and when He who came of the seed of Abraham, although God over all, and blessed for ever more, shall say to them, Come, ye blessed of my father, then will this promise be fully understood. It is most wonderful that the history of Abraham's fleshly seed, and the surrounding nations, has been a continued explication of these words, verse 3, • I will bless • him that blesseth thee, and curse him that curseth thee. A blessing has ever followed the one class: they have been blessed witli • faithful Abraham; while, though the other class has been used by God to punish Abraham's seed, and chastise their infidelity, the curse of God has never failed to overtake them.
In verse 1, we find Abraham setting out at the divine command, attended by Lot, his sister's son. Here we liave, as on all similar occasions, God's two witnesses to the truth., Lot's typical character we shall afterwards consider. Passing through the land, they come to Sichem, to the plain or oak of Moreh. It was under this oak that Jacob hid his strange gods, Gen. xxxv. 4. "Under this oak Rebekah's nurse was buried, verse 8. Here Joshua set up the great stone, the figure of the Rock of Ages, Josh. xxiv. 26. Here Abimelech was made king, Judges ix. 6. And here the sons of the old prophet found the man of God, 1 Kings xiii. 14. We are fully warranted to say, that here was a dwelling-place of that God, whose church is like the oak or teil tree, and the holy seed is the substance thereof. Here Jehovah appeared to him, verse 7. The Oak of Moreh was the place where Jehovah chose to appear; and we may rest assured there was a particular reason why, the oak was chosen for this pur. pose. The manner and design of these appearances we cannot here farther enlarge upon than to say, they were to foreshew his future appearance in flesh. The great design of these appearances was to pledge his solemn promise, that Abraham's seed should certainly en joy that land. This promise we have elsewhere shewn to be twa. fold. i. The land of Canaan, which his fleshly posterity inherited for a time ; and, 2. The better country for which he himself looked, and which all his seed shall enjoy. Here Abraham built an altar to the God who appeared to him, viz. to Jesus Christ. Close and im. portant is the connection, between the God that appeared, and the al. tar. It may here be mentioned, that a correct account of the places mentioned in Abraham's sojournings will be found in Welles Geography of the Old Testament. Leaving the oak of Moreh, he came to a mountain on the east of Bethel, between Bethel and Hai; this is Mount Gerizzim, where the blessing was afterwards placed : here also he built an altar, and publicly worshipped Jesus Christ, calling upon his name, JEHOVAH.
We are next informed, that in consequence of a famine in the land, Abram ivent down to sojourn in Egypt. The reader will here readily observe the coincidence with what happened to his posterity, in the days of Jacob. Early was Egypt a place of refuge in time of famine; and it was famine of the word of the Lord which brought the church of Christ in the later days into spiritual Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. The circumstance recorded so particularly of Abraham desiring Sarai to call herself his sister, has afforded great handle to scoffers, and not a little trouble to the friends of re: velation to defend Abraham's deceit, as it is called. But the least attention to the word of God will relieve both of their difficulties. Abraham and Sarai, the head's of God's church in that age; going down to Egypt, we have already hinted; is a remarkable figure of the church of Christ coming into the house of bondage, in search of the corn of Egypt. Sarai passing for the sister of Abraham, and concealing her connection with Abraham, as her espoused hus. band, is one of the most expressive figures in the scriptures of truth; to point out the narrow escape of the church in her fidelity to her Lord, as a chaste virgin to Christ. Many since these days have trished to consider the church as only Abraham's sister, who could be connected with the princes of Pharaoh, without defilement. But divine goodness has preserved his church; while judgments and plagues have never ceased to torment Pharaoh's kingdom, because of Abraham's wife.
CHAP. XIII.-In this chapter we find Abraham returning again from Egypt to the same place of the altar which he had left, between Bethel and Hai. That the oak of Moreh, and the place be. tween Bethel and Hai, were selected for God's worship, for an emis nent typical purpose, cannot be doubted. Why might not Abraham have erected an altat on any convenient spot? or for what purpose is the Spirit of God at such pains in minutely stating these particulars? surely because in after ages those very places should become important in the history of redemption. We therefore conceive they do a greater service to revelation, who point out this typical design, than those who perplex themselves about their geographical position.
We are next informed, that Lot, who had hitherto made one of Abraham's family and household, but who had, as well as Abrahamn,