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PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS.

TERRITORIAL empire was immediately after that purification which the earth received from the Deluge, assigned to the three surviving representatives of the present inhabitants of the globe: and the boundary of each was soon after specifically determined and defined. The appointment was one of unerring wisdom and universal goodness; but alienation of heart and mind from the divine supremacy soon manifested itself in that self-will which suggests covetous desires, and enforces these by arbitrary violence.

The LORD blessed all the sons of Noah on their coming forth from the ark to inherit the baptised earth: it was by coveting the possession of territories beyond their rightful empire, that the sons of Ham forfeited that blessing in which they were originally included, and by this demonstration of rebellion against the appointments of the Most High, and usurpation of the rights of others, they incurred that curse by which they have been distinguished. Covetousness,' by withdrawing the mind and heart from the will of God, and by constituting some substituted object supreme in our regard, is,' in essence and effect idolatry.' Hence the incalculable evils of this early infringement of His authority who "

appointed to all nations the bounds of their habitations.”

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Self-will and licentious desires prepared the ungodly Ham for that malediction, which a specific provocation at length called forth. It was prophetically addressed to him as the father of Canaan, whose lawless and impious acts would justify the curse of degradation then pronounced by the patriarch.

An isolated act of provocation would have called for a personal rebuke; but in that prophetic curse, Canaan, the son of the immediate delinquent, is specially implicated, and that most justly.

That the malediction should have been given in the spirit of prophecy--in a fore-knowledge of the character which would justify it, was in Israel a common occurrence. Children of eight days old were in this spirit so characteristically named, that not alone their own circumstances, but the history of their tribe was frequently involved in the prophetic appellation then given. The descriptive blessings of Jacob and of Moses to the heads of the twelve tribes, fully illustrate this truth.

But why did Noah select Canaan as the worst branch of the family of Ham? did he not foresee that Cush also, and his sons, would invade a great portion of that territory allotted to one of the branches of the family of Shem? and that having thus rebelled against the divine appointment, they, on the warrant of the same self-will, would, in renouncing the authority of the Creator, constitute the “ host of Heaven” the objects of their supreme regard and homage, together with those 'graven images' which should represent their famous leaders.

Assuredly Noah had a premonition of their departure from the Most High, since he foresaw that Canaan would be guilty of a still more aggravated enormity.

By sovereign right and choice, the Creator of all had

selected a peculiar territorial domain as the seat of His government and administration.

From its geographical position, JERUSALEM, the metropolitan city of this empire, is to the earth at large what the heart is to the human body--the central seat of that life and energy

which is diffused from thence to the most remote parts of the frame which it animates.

The heinousness of Canaan's guilt was in having usurped this consecrated portion, knowing that it was claimed by the Creator as His inheritance, and delegated by Him to the posterity of Shem, of whose line was to be born in due time, the Messiah. That this knowledge of the purpose of God was perfectly understood by Noah, and, doubtless, by bim communicated to his sons, Ham and Japhet, there can be no doubt, since his manner of addressing Shem is demonstrative of that expectation. He does not say, Blessed art thou ; or, blessed shalt thou be of the LORD ; but, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem.”

In sacreligiously usurping that LAND which in His wisdom the LORD had set apart for the occupancy of that peculiar People whom he had constituted the depository of His revealed mind and will—which therefore they were appointed to minister to the nations of the earth, Canaan was not alone chargeable with disobedience, covetousness, and injustice, but thus became the means of introducing those detestable and demoralizing idol rites, which not alone would eventually cause the Land to cast them forth of it, but which would necessarily become snares to entrap, and lures to seduce from their allegiance, the rightful occupants who should sojourn amongst them.

In the division of the earth it was inculcated upon Israel : 1 Eusebius states, “ that Noah explained to his sons the will of God, and allotted to each their particular territory, having received his instructions from Heaven.” -See Bryant's Myth.

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The LORD's portion is His people; Israel is the lot of of HIS INHERITANCE;" accordingly it is testified—“Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance.” Because it was His, it became also theirs; the LORD's portion being His people. David elsewhere describes “ Judah as His sanctuary.” Israel as His dominion.

The Hebrews therefore held the Lord's Land at will; and were subject to Him as Supreme Proprietor :-" The Land shall not be sold for ever; for THE Land is Mine.”

It was this Holy portion which was invaded and appropriated by the race of Canaan; and not alone invaded and appropriated, but polluted by their detestable idol rites.

Cush, or Cutha and his sons, under their lawless and selfintitled leader Nimrod, invaded the province of Shinar, in which rightfully dwelt Asshur,' a branch of Shem's family. “Nimrod,” it is written, “ was a mighty hunter before the LORD.” A term which is scripturally indicative of the violence, crime, and disorder, of a reckless one. This selfwilled ruler assumed the title of Alorus of Orion, and subsequently as Belus, became an object of idolatrous worship after his decease.

He was the first who assumed the establishment of an independent kingdom and government:—“The beginning of his kingdom was BABEL."

His independent beginning, commenced in rebellion, and established in transgression, was carried on in opposition ;

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1 It appears that the Assyrian Empire in its original grant to Ashur extended to the extreme eastern coast of Asia, which nearly unites, and probably was then, united to the westernmost coast of the New World.

2 Bryant observes, It is remarkable that the first tyrant upon earth masked his villainy under the meek title of Shepherdif we may credit Gentile writers, it was under this pretext that Nimrod framed his opposition, and gained an undue sovereignty over his brethren, having taken to himself the name of Orion, and giving out that he was born to be a protector and guardian; or, as it is related by Besorus, “ He spread a report abroad that God had marked him out for a Shepherd of His people.

until that lawless combination of self-wills and self-interests which enmity to His will confederated for a time in one impious design, became by a just retribution so confounded by the confusion of their own speech and ideas, and consequently so estranged and divided in their efforts and purposes, that each party for itself spread abroad over the face of the country.

“ The Tower of Babel,” observes Bryant, was probably designed for an observatory for the Host of Heaven;' as well as for a land-mark and strong-hold against the power of the elements. The Ethnic writers describe whirlwinds as the cause of the overthrow of the Tower itself; from which Nimrod not being willing to depart, he was involved in its fall."

The sons of Peleg, in whose days the division of the earth had taken place, were occupants of the territory assigned to their ancestor.

From Ur of the Chaldees was Abraham called, as the federal head of that people, in whom all the families of the earth should be blessed. At Haran, a border part of the Land, he sojourned for several years, but at the command of the LORD, pitched his tent with that of Lot, on a mountain in, or near Jerusalem, where “ he built an altar to the LORD.”

The lawless occupants certainly knew that the Land should ultimately be possessed by the children of Abrabam, for whom from the beginning it had been destined. This is to be inferred from that treaty which the king, attended by his chief captain Phicol, requested at the hand of Abraham in token of amity hereafter. therefore, swear unto me by God, that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor my son, nor my son's son,” &c. The same thing happened to Isaac many years afterwards. The herdsmen of the king had assumed the right of compelling those of the patriarch to depart from the place

“ Now,

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