Imatges de pÓgina
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ing each other's Laaguage, which was a work of time, and was never likely to be so general, as to be the means of a common intercourse, This effe&ually divided them at first, and would always keep Nations divided, till Foreign Arms should give new Laws, and a new Language to a Conquered People.

3dly. I observe farther, That the more divifions of Languages were made, and the greater the dispersion was, the greater Security was it against a general Corruption ; which is a reason not only for separating the Family of Ham from the Families of Sem and Japhet, but for separating them from each other, and dividing them into smaller Bodies : For the more Divisions there are, whatever part were infected, the less could the Corruption spread, when there was no communication between them.

4ibly. This also divided Mankind into several little Independent Monarchies, under the Government of the Heads of their several Families; which kept all Mankind under a stricter Government, than if the whole world had been one great Empire, which would have proved a Tyrannical Domination, but could have taken little care of the Manners of Subjects ; especially if the Government it self was corrupt, the whole World muft be corrupt with it. But when so many distinct Societies were formed, this gave them distinct Interests, and made their Laws and Customs, the very Humour and Genius of the People, so different from each other, as. would keep them distinct : And this would necessarily occasion mutual Emulations and Jealousies to rival their Neighbours in Riches, and Power; and this cannot be done without wise Laws, and a ftri& Discipline, and the Encou

ragement

Fagement of Labour and Industry, of liberal Arts, and all social Virtues, and the suppression of such Vices, as weaken Government, and emasculate Mens Spirits: This effect we know in a great measure it had, as we learn from the most early Accounts of the Grecian Commonwealths, where we meet with so many excellent Laws, and such great Examples of Frugality, Temperance, Fortitude, and a generous Love of their Country, which may in a great measure be attributed to their mutual Emulations, which taught them Prudence and Justice at Home and Abroad, and forced on them the Exercise of many Civil and Military Virtues.

It had indeed been more for the Peace and Quiet of the World, that all Mankind had been but one People, and one Kingdom, without divided Interests and Governments : but such a profound State of Ease is apt to loosen the Reins of Government, and to corrupt Mens Minds with Sloth and Luxury; and therefore is no more fit for a corrupt and degenerate State, than it would have been, that the Earth should have brought forth Fruit of it self without Human Labour and Industry. But Jealoufies and Emulations, the necessity of defending themselves against Potent Neighbours, or the ambition to equal, or to outdo them, restrains publick Vices, and is a spur to Virtue, 'Azadl do 'sers ñ de Begloiche It is true, this is the occasion of

many

Mise. ries to Mankind, of all the Calamities and Defolations of War ; and therefore we must con. fider,

sibly. That this is so far from being an Obje&tion against Providence, while God keeps the Sword in his own Hand, that it is an admirable

Inftru

Instrument of Government, and a signal Dea monftration of the Divine Wisdom.

God had promised, that he would not again any more smite every living thing, as be bad done, 8 Genef. 21. And yet Mankind could not be governed without some Restraints and Punishments ; and it did not become God to punish Men and Nations, as often as they deserved it, by an immediate Hand; and what then could be more wisely designed, than so to order it, that if Men and Nations were wicked, they should scourge and punish one another?

By this means God can chastise two wicked Nations by each other's Swords, without destroying either : He can so lessen their Numbers, and exhauft their Treasures, and impoverish their Countries, as to force them to Peace, and to reduce them to a laborious and frugal Life, which will cure the Wantonness and Luxury of Plerty and Ease,

If a Nation be grown incurably wicked, he can by' this means destroy them, without embroiling the rest of the World; he can carry them Captive into Foreign countries, or make them Slaves at home, and subject them to the Yoke of a Conqueror, who shall correct them, and teach them better.

In a word, The dispersion of Mankind by the confusion of Languages, which divided them into distinct Societies, Kingdoms, and Commonweals, opened a new Scene of Providence, with all the Variety of Wisdom in the Government of the World. The Judgment it self was miraculous, and as plain an evidence of the Divine Power, as the Deluge it self; for to new form a Mind, to erace all its old Ideas of Words and Sounds, and to imprint new ones on it in an

inftant,

instant, few such a superior Power over Nature, as none but the Author of Nature has ; and they must have been very stupid, if this did not renew and fix the impression of a Divine Power and Providence. But the dispersion which this confusion of Languages occasioned, and the division of Mankind into distinct Societies, made the Exercise of many Moral, Civil, and Military Virtues as necessary as their own Prosperity and Preservation: And if this had not fo universal an Effect as might have been expected, yet it prevented an Universal Corruption, and had a good Effect in many countries, and by turns in moft ; that the World never wanted Examples of States and Kingdoms which increased and flourished under a Prudent and Vertuous Government, nor of the Ruin of flourishing States by Idleness, Luxury, Injustice, Oppression, which weakened and divided them at home, and made them an easy Prey to their provoked, or to their ambitious Neighbours.

But though the State of the World, as to some moral Vertues, and good Order and Government, was much bettered by this means, yet Mankind generally declined to Idolatry ; that the Knowledge and Worship of the one Supreme God was in danger of being utterly loft, and the lives of Men

to be corrupted by the impure and filthy Rites and Mysteries of their Religion. This required a new and more effectual Remedy, and brings me to consider a new and wonderful Design of the Divine Wisdom for reforming the World: I mean his chusing Abraham and his Pofterity to be his peculiar People, whom he would govern in so visible a manner, that all the World might know and fear the God

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of Israel.

This

This is a large Argument, and full of Myfterious Wisdom; but my principal Intention at present is to consider it with relacion to the rest of Mankind, and how wifely it was designed by God to give some check to Idolatry, to preserve the Worship of the True God, at leaft in Israel, from whence in time it might be restored again, when loft in the reft of the World.

It has, I confess, a very strange appearance at first, that God should reject, or at least neglect all the rest of Mankind, and chufe but one Family out of all the world to place his Name among them: Is God the God of the Jews only, is be not also of the Gentiles? 3. Rom. 29. This the Vain-glorious Few imagined, who despised the reft of the World, as reprobated by God; but the Apostle abhors the thoughts of it. Yes, of the Gentiles also; and St. Peter was at length convinced by a Vision, That God was no respecter of Persons ; but in every Nation be that feareth bim, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with bim, IO. A&ts 34, 35. Thus it was from the beginning, though the Jews did not think so; and the Apostles themselves at first could not easily be persuaded of it ; and yet how could any Man entertain honourable Thoughts of God, who could conceive him so partial in his Favours, as to confine the peculiar Expreflions of his Love to one Nation, without any appearing concernment what became of the reft of Mankind? But if this was, and was intended by God, for the general good of the World, and was admirably fitted to cure Idolatry, and to restore the Wor. ship of the one Supreme God, it gives us a new and more glorious profpeet of the Wisdom of Providence. And to reprefent this as advantagiously as I can, I shall first give you a general

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