the worship and service of his Maker. And he was endowed with the aids of grace to subdue the corrup tions of nature. And though he was still far from his former state of innocence, he was equally far from the state of fallen angels: he might evidently be considered as more than half restored, and once more in a state of probation.


III. But notwithstanding the numerous advantages derived from the ne covenant, the deep stain of original depravity soon discovered itself in the unprovoked murder of Abel; for Cain could not have been instigated to it by precedent or by vicious connexions. The same may be observed of the irritable tempers of little children: they can neither have imbibed them from habit, nor example. And if they were not made sinful by the fall, the just and righteous God would not so frequently punish them with pain and death. The human depravity is equally discoverable from our backwardness to devotion, and our proneness to act against the sober dictates of reason and conscience; from our knowledge of virtue so far exceeding our virtuous affections and habits; from the selfish passions which are obvious in the commercial intercourse of society; and lastly, from the universal inundation of wickedness which has covered the earth. If these be the dreadful fruits of our apostacy, how extremely vitiated must the root be from which they all proceed!!! May God create in us a new heart, and renew a right spirit within us.

Piety, however, flourished for several generations in the family of Seth. They adhered to the covenant and worship of God, and were called his sons. But by inter-marriages with the daughters of Cain, they became totally corrupted. Lamech, the seventh in Cain's line, introduced polygamy, which was followed with an universal profligacy of manners. They wholly abandoned themselves to voluptuousness and sensuality. When the sons of Elohim, or great men, saw the daughters of the poor, that they were fair, they seized them for concubines, and debauched them.

"And the earth was filled with violence. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great upon the earth, and that the thoughts and imaginations of his heart were only evil continually." In vain did Enoch and Noah preach; in vain did the former ascend to heaven, and the latter erect an ark. Pleasure alone was idolized, and the enthusiasm of the ark became the subject of universal laughter. But God honored the ministry of his prophets by the accomplishment of their threatenings. Having secured the one righteous family, he caused the rains to warn the wicked, and the seas to inundate the highest mountains of Asia,* filling their cavities with fishes and other marine productions, that their petrisactions might attest his awful judgments in all places, and to the latest ages. So God washed away the filthy inhabitants of the earth; and in one way or other, he will destroy all who indulge in pleasure, and make light of the gospel.

IV. After the flood, God renewed his covenant with Noah and with his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. He set his bow in the cloud as a pledge of the covenant, that he would no more destroy the earth by water. These patriarchs superintended their wandering families, and associated in their own persons the high offices of prophet, priest, and king. They officiated in all religious services, and were the sole legislators and instructors in their tribes. In this way the knowledge and worship of the true God were preserved for six or eight generations, and in some of the tribes, we may presume, for a much longer period. A specimen of their knowledge and piety may be seen in the book of Job, and in the character of Melchizedeck and Jethro, who were holy men.

A remarkable phenomenon happened to Ham, or rather to Cush, his eldest son, in the change of his

*If marine petrifactions have not been found higher than 9000 feet, tis no disparagement of sacred history, as the tops of peaks seem to have been washed with an inundation. See Darwin's Geological Eys.

skin from white to black. We have satisfactory ay idence of this from his posterity having peopled Africa. Egypt, says the psalmist, is the land of Cham or Ham. Herodotus says, that Chemmis, which derived its name from Cham, was a great city in Thebais.† Eupolemus affirms, on the credit of tradition, that Chum was the father of the Ethiopians, and that he was called by the Greeks Asbolas, which is soot or blackness. So Jeremiah: can the Ethiopian (the Cushite) change his skin? xiii. 23. The blacks populated so large a part of Africa, that Homer divides them into the eastern and western nations. These authorities establish the truth of the Mosaic history, that the whole race of mankind, however they may differ in color, has descended from the patriarch Noah, and in the line of his three sons. And when their longevity and health are taken into consideration, the vast increase of their population perfectly accords with the sacred chronology. It should also be recollected, that we read of little war till the age of the patriarch Abraham; for God had prohibited the shedding of blood on pain of death, because man was made in the image of God, Gen. ix. 6.

The whole world, till the fourth generation from Noah, was of one language. And those who dwelt on the fertile banks of the Euphrates being unwilling to obey the Lord by emigration, began to build a tower, and to claim the country for a permanent habitation. But he threw it down, and obliged the seventytwo tribes to disperse, by confounding their language." Previously to this period, Satan, the grand adversary of mankind, found means to corrupt the nations by a new species of wickedness; I would say, by confounding the worship of the true God, with the worship of those who were not gods. Joshua xxiv. 2. The old world having been destroyed for want of religion, the new generation went to the opposite ex

See a larger account of this in' Dr. Jenkin's "Reasonableness of Christianity," preface, p. 51.

Thebes was the capital of this district.

treme: they paid idolatrous homage to the souls of the patriarchs, whom providence had so distinguishedly honored. This gross perversion of devotion could originate only from the extreme ignorance and wretchedness of the several tribes. Having, by a general decay of piety, and indulgence in vice, forsaken the covenant and worship of God, and being alternately afflicted with disease, famine, or war, they had recourse to the souls of their ancestors. In a while, they made pictures and statues according to their imaginary likenesses, and consecrated them to their memories. These were their household gods, which they preserved with the most religious care. Great men were ambitious to officiate at their altars, and knowing the absurdity of this devotion better than the people, they soon found it their interest to involve the history of their divinities in mystery and fable. At first, this gross worship was confined to houses and groves, for there the good patriarchs were wont to worship the true and living God; but after a while the mysteries were adjourned to magnificent temples. Thus, "when they knew God by revelation and covenant, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; and their foolish heart was darkened, and they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like unto corruptible man, to birds, beasts, and creeping things. Therefore God peculiarly gave them up to the power of the devil, and to the concupiscence of their own hearts," Rom. i. 21. In the ages of Greek and Roman refinement, the multiplicity of divinities baffles all calculation; the profaneness of their mysteries and altars, stews and sports, exceeds the credibility of the modern world. Pitiable indeed, are the efforts of cultivated reason, when unassisted by the light of revelation, in the acquisition of wisdom and happiness.

Idolatry must have obtained before the dispersion of the tribes, and before the extremities of the earth were colonized, or the American nations, and the islanders of the Pacific Ocean, would not have been


all found immersed in pagan superstition. The variety in their rituals, and in the objects of their worship, is no argument against this supposition, because the constant accession of new divinities through a succession of ages, must have occasioned an inconceivable diversity in the mythology.

How America was peopled, and especially how wild beasts and serpents came there, long remained a doubt. But now it is generally believed, that Behring's Straits which separate it from Asia, must have been made by an earthquake. The West Indies, and the Terra Firma, were probably colonized by Phœnicians, either through adventures or tempests. Those of Chili and Peru seem to have originated from Asia, and the numerous isles of the Pacific Ocean.

When the Spaniards became acquainted with the inhabitants of South America, they found them ignorant of their origin; but they had a adition of the flood, and that the whole race of mankind came from four women; that is, from the wife of Noah, and the wives of his three sons, which perfectly coincides with the Mosaic history.*

Our learned and assiduous countrymen in Asia, have latterly explored abundance of valuable information in the ancient and modern literature of the Indostan empire. By the Asiatic researches of Sir John Shore, Sir William Jones, and others; and by the Indian antiquities of Mr. Maurice; we are enabled to compare the doctrines and religious customs of the Druids† in the west, with those of the Brahma, Veeshnu, Seeva, and Buddha of the east, and to trace back their origin with considerable satisfaction to the patriarchal age. Besides, these writings further coincide with the Mosaic history concerning the peopling of the earth by the sons of Noah. Consequently they super

Universal history, vol. xx.

This name, so distinguished in mythology, is derived from Agus, oak; for among oaks or groves those ancient ministers of religion performed their devotion. See Gen. xii. 18. xviii, 1. where the plain of Mamre is rendered by the Septuagint, the oak of Mamre,

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