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A. M. 1757. A. C. 2247; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 2857. A, C. 2554. GEN. CH. xi. TO VER. 10. The prophet Isaiah, indeed, speaking of the conver- all the alterations we now perceive in them, supposing sion of some Egyptians to the Jewish faith, tells us, that them all descended from one common stock. ' in that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak Now, in order to this, we must observe, that every lanthe language (or lip, as it is in the margin) of Canaan, guage consists of two things, matter and form : the matand swear to the Lord of Hosts.' Speaking the ter of any language are the words, wherein men who speak language of Canaan' is thought by some to mean no the language express their ideas : and the several ways more than being of the same religion with the Jews, whereby its nouns are declined, and verbs conjugated, who inhabited the land of Canaan, but why may it not be are its form. interpreted literally, as it is in our translation ? Might The Latins and Greeks vary their nouns by terminanot these five cities particularly, to show the value and tions, as, vir,viri, viro, virum, degwmos, cy@gós mov, etnógésreverence that they had for the religion of the Jews, Fw, dvd gamoy. We decline by the prepositions of, 10, learn their language; especially since they would thereby from, the, in both numbers ; but the Hebrews have no be better enabled to understand the books of Moses and different terminations in the same number, and only vary the prophets, which were written in that tongue? Do thus,—ish, man; ishim, men; ishah, woman; ishoth, not the Mahometans, whatever they are, Turks, Tartars, women : the rest are varied by prepositions inseparably Persians, Moguls, or Moors, all learn Arabic, because affixed to the words, as, ha-ish, the man ; le-ish, to the Mahomet wrote the Alcoran in that language? Why, man; be-ish, in the man, &c., which prepositions thus then, should we be offended at the literal sense of the joined make one word with the noun to which they are words, when the figurative is so low and fat in compari- affixed, and are herein different from all those lanson of it? % In that day Egypt shall be like a woman; guages which come from a Latin, or Teutonic original. it shall be afraid and fear, because of the shaking of the The western and northern people consider every tranhand of the Lord of Hosts ;' 36 the Lord of Hosts shall sitive verb, either actively or passively, and then they be a terror unto Egypt,' and in that day shall there be have done ; as amo, in Latin is, I love ; amor, I am an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt,' loved ; and so in Greek, mátw, ya Tāpar: but in Hethat is, they shall become proselytes to the law of Moses ; brew, every word has, or is supposed to have, seven and, that they may not mistake in understanding the conjugations ; in Chaldee and Syriac six ; and in Arabic sense of the law, which they shall then embrace, they thirteen, all differing in their significations. shall agree to learn the language in which it is written. The western languages abound with verbs that are This is an easy and genuine sense of the words : but in- compounded with prepositions, which accompany them stead of that, to fly to a forced and abstruse one, merely in all their moods and tenses, and therein vary their sigto evade the evidence of a miracle, savours of vanity at nification ; but in the eastern there is no such thing. For least, if not of irreligion.
though they have, in Arabic especially, many different In short, all interpreters, both Jewish and Christian, significations, some literal and some figurative, yet still understood this confusion of Babel to be a confusion of their verbs as well as nouns are uncompounded. languages, not of opinions. They saw the texts, if liter- In the Greek, both ancient and barbarous, in the Latin, ally understood, required it; they observed a surprising and the dialects arising from it, and in all the branches variety of tongues essentially different from one ano- of what we call the old Teutonic, the possessive pronouns, ther; and they knew that this was not in the least incon- my, thy, his, yours, theirs, &c., make a distinct word sistent with the power of God. They did not question, from the noun to which they are joined, as latne iuws, but that he, who made the tongue, could make it speak Pater noster, fader vor, our father, &c. But in all oriwhat and how he pleased ; and they acquiesced (as all ental tongues the pronoun is joined to the end of the wise and honest interpreters should) in the literal expli- noun, in such a manner as to make but one word. Thus, cation, perceiving that nothing unworthy of God, or ab, in Hebrew, is father, abi, my father; abinu, our trifling or impossible in itself, resulted from it. father. In Chaldee, from the same root, abounu, is our
But why should we have recourse to miracles, say father ; in Syriac, abun ; in Arabic and Ethiopic the they, when the business may as well be done without same. them; when it is but supposing, that all languages, now Once more. All western languages mark the deextant, sprung originally from one common root; and gree of comparison in their adjectives, by proper termithat they are no more than different forms or dialects of nations, as, wise, wiser, wisest ; sapiens, sapientior, sait, which the force of time, assisted with some incidental pientissimus ; copos, copóstegos, copáta Tos: but none of courses, without the intervention of any superior power, the eastern tongues, already mentioned, have any thing naturally produces.
in them like this. To give this objection a satisfactory answer, we shall These are some of the marks and characters which be obliged to look a little into the nature of languages distinguish the eastern from the western languages;
and, in general, that thereby we may show, that there are some what is farther observable, these characters have none of languages, now extant in the world, which are essentially them disappeared, or shifted from one to another, for different from each other ; that languages, when once near three thousand years. They appear in every book established, are not so subject to variation as is pre- of the Old Testament, from Moses down to Malachi ; in tended ; and that, in the ages subsequent to this extraor- the Chaldee paraphrasts, in the Syriac versions, in the dinary event, they could not, in any natural way, undergo Misna, in the Gemara, and in every other rabbinical
book, down to the Jewish writers of the present age: · Le Clerc's Commentary..
but, on the other side, if we consider Homer's poems, * Isa. xix, 16. * Isa. xix. 17. Isa. xix. 19. which are the oldest monuments we have of the Greek
A. M. 1757. A. C. 2247; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 2857. A. C. 2554. GEN. CH. xi. TO VER. 10. language ; if we take Theocritus for the Doric dialect ;| several ages more. And, in like manner, we may say, Euripides, or Thucydides, for the Attic; Herodotus, that had not the Turks, when they overrun Greece, or Hippocrates, for the Ionic; and Sappho for the brought darkness and ignorance along with them, the Folic, and so descend to the Greek, which is spoken at Greek tongue might have coutinued even to this day; this day, we shall see the general marks of western since it is manifest, from Homer's poems, and Eustalanguages running through them all. These idioms thius's commentaries upon them, that it subsisted for show themselves, at first sight, to be nothing more than above two thousand years, without any considerable dialects manifestly springing from the same common root, alteration ; for the space of time between the poet and his which never did, and (as far as we may judge from the commentator was no less. practice of above two thousand years) never will, conju- And if the languages which we are acquainted with gate verbs, decline nouns, or compare adjectives, like remained so long unchanged, to any great degree, in the Hebrew or Arabic. These languages did always times of more commerce and action than what could be compound verbs and nouns with prepositions, which subsequent upon the dispersion; there is reason to essentially alter the sense. These languages had never believe, that (though it be difficult to define the number any possessive pronouns affixed to their nouns, to deter- of them) there are many more original languages in the mine the person, or persons, to whom of right they be-world than some men imagine : for, if we consider their long; nor do they affix any single letter to their words, great antiquity, their mutual agreement in the fundawhich may be equivalent to conjunctions, and connect mentals (which we have described) can be no argument the sense of what goes before with what follows, which that any one of them is derived from the rest; since it is any person, but tolerably initiated in the eastern lan- natural to suppose, that when God confounded the guages, must know to be their properties.
speech of the builders of Babel, he made the dialects of And, indeed, if we cast but our eye a little forward those people, who were to live near one another, so far into the sacred history, it will not be long before we may to agree, that they might, with less difficulty, and in a perceive some instances of this difference between lan- shorter space of time, mutually understand each other, guages. For, when Jacob and Laban made a covenant and so more easily maintain an intercourse together. together, they erected an beap of stones, on which they For though their association, considering the ends that ate, and Laban called it Jegar-Sahadutha, but Jacob, engaged them in it, was certainly culpable, yet perhaps Galed, which words signify (those in Chaldee, which it might not deserve so severe a punishment as an entire are Laban's, and the other in Hebrew, which are Jacob's) separation of every tribe among them from their nearest an heap of witnesses; and, in like manner, Pharaoh calls kindred, with whom they had hitherto spent all their time. Joseph, Tsophnath-Paaneahh, which words are neither To sum up the force of this argument in a few words. Hebrew nor Chaldee : so that here we see three distinct | If we consider the time since the building of the tower of dialects formed in Jacob's time; and yet we may observe, Babel, not yet 4000 years, a and the great variety of that the world was then thin, commerce narrow, and languages that are at present in the world; if we consider conquests few, so that the people were constrained to how entirely different some are to others, so that no art converse with those of their own tribe, and consequently of etymology can reduce them to the least likeness or could keep their dialect far more entire than it is possi-conformity; and yet, in those early days, when the world ble to do now, when commerce, conquests, and colo- was less peopled, and navigation and commerce not so nies, planted in regions already peopled with nations much minded, there could not be that quick progression that speak distinct languages, may be supposed to bring of languages; and if we examine the alterations which in a deluge of new words, and make innumerable such languages as we are acquainted with have made in changes. But nations seldom trade much abroad, or two or three thousand years past, where colonies of difmake invasions upon their neighbours, or send forth ferent people have not been imported, we shall find the plantations into remote countries, until they are pretty difference between language and language to be so very well stocked at home, which could hardly be the case of great, and the alteration of the same language in a conmy one country for several ages after the dispersion. siderable tract of time to be so very small, that we shall be
It is a mistaken notion which some have imbibed, that at a loss to conceive whence so many and so various Every little thing, be it but the change of air, or difference languages could have proceeded, unless we take in the of climate (which at most can but affect the pronuncia- account of Moses, which unriddles the whole difficulty, tion of some letters or syllables) can make a diversity in and justly ascribes them to the same Almighty power, languages. Small and insensible alterations, which per- which taught our first parents to speak one tongue in the haps will appear in an age or two, will undoubtedly hap- beginning, and, in after ages, inspired the apostles of pen, but unless people converse much with strangers, Jesus Christ with the gift of many. their language will subsist, as to its constituent form, the
a According to Hales, 4363. same for many generations.
6 From the most ancient and most authentic of all historical The Roman language, for instance, was brought to a records, the Sacred Scriptures, we know the fact that all mankind considerable perfection before Plautus's time ; and were originally descended from a single pair, and that our great though now and then some obsolete words may appear language. What the particular language was which was then em
progenitor did undoubtedly possess and make use of articulate in his writings, yet any man that understands Latin may ployed, we have no means of ascertaining. We are, however, read the books that were written in it, from Plautus down sufficiently warranted to conclude, that this primeval language to Tbeodoric the Goth, which was near seven hundred must have consisted at first of very few and simple sounds, and years; and had not the barbarous nations broken into society required new modes of expression. The primitive
that it was gradually extended as the new situation of men in Italy, it might have been an intelligible language for language, in all probability, continued radically the same, though
A. M. 1757. A. C 2247 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 2857. A. C. 2554. GEN. CH. xi. TO VER. 10.
from the deluge, is evident from the concurrent testimony
of several heathen writers. For when, besides the parCHAP. III.- Of the Tower of Babel.
ticular description which · Herodotus, the father of the That there really was such a building as the tower of he is "quoted by Eusebius, telling us, " That the first
Greek historians, gives us of it, we find Abydenus, as Babel, erected some ages after the recovery of the earth
race of men, big with a fond conceit of the bulk and enlarged by accessions closely related to the parent stock during strength of their bodies, built in the place where Babythe whole antediluvian ages; and there is little reason to doubt, lon now stands, a tower of so prodigious an height, that when we take into view the longevity of the patriarchs, affording it seemed to touch the skies, but that the winds and the opportunities to men of different generations to mingle together, that from Adam down to Noah the language first made use of gods overthrew the mighty structure upon their heads.” suffered no essential change. When the tremendous event of the When we find Eupolemus, as he is : cited by Alexander deluge reduced the whole population of the earth to a single Polyhistor, leaving it upon record, “ That the city of family, the primitive language, as received and used by the Babylon was first built by giants who escaped from the patriarch Noah, would still be preserved in his family, and form the only language then used among men. In this state, we find flood; that these giants built the most famous tower in that language continued till the confusion of tongues at Babel, all history; and that this tower was dashed to pieces by before which period we are assured by the sacred historian, the the almighty power of God, and the giants dispersed and whole earth was of one language and of one speech. Whether scattered over the face of the whole earth.” And lastly, this primitive language was the same with any of the languages of which we have still any remains, has been a subject of much when we find Josephus mentioning it as a received dispute. That the primitive language continued at least till the doctrine among the Sybils, “ That at a certain time, when dispersion of mankind, consequent upon the building of Babel, the whole world spake all one language, the people of there seems little reason to doubt. When by an immediate inter- those days gathered together and raised a mighty tower, position of divine power, the language of men was confounded, we are not informed to what extent the confusion of tongues prevailed. which they carried up to so extravagant an height, that it It is unnecessary to suppose that the former language was com- looked as if they had proposed to scale heaven from the pletely obliterated, and entire new modes of speech at once intro- top of it; but that the gods let the winds loose upon it, duced. It is quite sufficient if such changes only were effected, which, with a violent blast, beat it down to the ground, as to render the speech of different companies, or different tribes, and at the same time struck the builders with an utter unintelligible to one another, that their mutual co-operation in the mad attempt in which they had all engaged might be no forgetfulness of their native tongue, and substituted new longer practicable. The radical stem of the first language might and unknown languages in the room of it.”—When we therefore remain in all, though new dialects were formed, bear- find these, and several other authors, I say, that might ing among themselves a similar relation with what we find in the be produced, bearing testimony to Moses in most of the languages of modern Europe, derived from the same parent stem, whether Gothic, Latin, or Sclavonian. In the midst of these material circumstances attending the building of this changes, it is reasonable to suppose that the primitive language tower, we cannot but conclude, that the representation itself, unaltered, would still be preserved in some one at least of which he gives us of the whole transaction is agreeable to the tribes or families of the human race. Now in none of these
truth. was the transmission so likely to have taken place, as among that branch of the descendants of Shem from which the patriarch
The short is, all the remains now extant of the most Abraham proceeded. Upon these grounds, therefore, we may ancient heathen historians (except Sanchoniatho) concur conclude that the language spoken by Abraham, and by him in confirming the Mosaic account of this matter,
and transmitted to his posterity, was in fact the primitive language, the sum of their testimonies is, 5 That a huge tower was modified, indeed, and extended in the course of time, but still retaining its essential parts far more completely than any other built by gigantic men at Babylon; that there was then of the languages of men. If these conclusions are well
founded, but one language among mankind ; that the attempt was still to be found the traces of the original speech. Whether this the tower, overwhelmed the workmen, divided their they warrant the inference, that in the ancient Hebrew there are offensive to the gods; and that therefore they demolished ancient Hebrew more nearly resembled the Chaldean, the Syrian, or what is now termed the Hebrew, it is unnecessary here to language, and dispersed them over the face of the whole inquire; these languages, it has never been denied, were origi- earth. nally and radically the same, though, from subsequent modifica
There is one circumstance, indeed, wherein we find tions, they appear to have assumed somewhat different aspects.
We may conceive the original language of the family of Noah these ancient historians differing with Moses, and that is, spread in various directions; carried by one set of colonies in affirming that the tower was demolished by the anger through Armenia, Persia, and the adjacent territories, into all the regions of the east, as far perhaps as Tartary and China, and
Book i, c. 181. * Præparat. Evang. b. ix. c. 14. forming the groundwork of the Armenian, the ancient Persian, * Alex. Polyhist. apud Euseb. Præp. Evan. b. ix. c. 18. the Sanscrit, perhaps, too, of the originally spoken Chinese, as
* Antiq. b. i. c. 5. well as of all the languages related to each of them; carried by See Josephus's Antiq. b. i. c. 5. Eusebius's Præpar. Evang. another set into the regions of Arabia, Egypt, Abyssinia, and b. ix. c. 14, &c. and Huetius's Quæst. Alnetan. b. ii. p. 189. the remote parts of Africa, and there giving origin to the old If these theoretical views of the filiation of tongues cannot be Egyptian, the Coptic, the Ethiopic, and their related tongues; fully and directly confirmed by the immediate comparison of the and carried by a third set to Scythia, or the Russian territory, different languages as they now are found to exist, this is not in Asia Minor, Ionia, Greece, Italy, and gradually through the the least to be wondered at, considering the inevitable changes farther parts of Europe, and there constituting the radical ground many of them must have undergone in their progress through work of the old Pelasgic, the Gothic, the Celtic, and all their different countries; but if we attentively mark the precise mau; kindred or derivative dialects. Among those families whose ner in which such changes might be expected to operate, and migrations were least extensive, this primitive tongue, undergo make the necessary allowances on that account, in comparing the ing fewest changes, would retain most of its original form; and apparent groundwork of the languages scattered over the globe, thus it is probable, that in the language of Jacob and his descend- a coincidence will be found, far closer and more striking than ants, of the Phænicians, the Chaldeans, and the communities could at first be supposed.-Dr Dewar's Dissertation on Language, connected with them, more of the primitive form and character in the 7th volume of the Edinburgh Philosophical Transactions, remained, than among the remoter and more widely scattered Edin. Enclycopædia, Article Language; Townsend's Character tribes that spread through Africa and Europe.
of Moses, vol. iji.
A. M. 1737. A. C. 2247; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 2857. A. C. 2554. GEN. CH. xi. TO VER. 10. of God, and by the violence of the winds. But as it versed in all Jewish antiquities, have made it appear seems more consistent with the divine wisdom (for the that Nimrod was either very young at the time, or even admonition of posterity) to have such a monument of not yet born, when the project of building the tower and men's folly and ambition for some time standing ; so we city was first formed, there is reason to believe (even nay observe that, in confirmation of our sacred penman, supposing him then alive, and in great power and authowho speaks of it as a thing existing in his time, Herodo-rity among his people,) that he was not in any tolerable tus, the Greek historian, tells us expressly that he him- condition to undertake so great a work. self actually saw it, as it was repaired by Belus, or some The account which Moses gives us of bim is—that he s of his successors; Pliny, the Latin historian, that it was began to be a mighty one in the earth ; which the best bot destroyed in his days; and some modern travellers, writers explain, by his being the first who laid the founwhom by and by we shall have occasion to quote,) that dation of regal power among mankind; but it is scarce there are some visible remains of it extant even now : imaginable how an empire, able to effect such a work, and therefore, the fancy of its being beat down with the could be entirely acquired, and so thoroughly established, winds is taken up, in pure conformity a to some Persian by one and the same person, as to allow leisure for tales recorded of Nimrod, whom these historians suppose amusements of such infinite toil and trouble. to be the first projector of it. It cannot be denied, 6 Great and mighty enpires, indeed, have seemingly indeed, but that the generality of interpreters, meeting been acquired by single persons; but when we come to with the expression of the children of men, whereby examine into the true original of them, we shall find, they understand bad men and infidels, as opposed to the that they began upon the foundations of kingdoms children of God, which usually denote the good and the already attained by their ancestors, and established by Saithful, are apt to imagine, that none of the family of the care and wisdom of many successive rulers for seve- bem, which retained (as they say) the true worship and ral generations, and after a long exercise of their people religion, were engaged in the work, but some of the in arts and arms, which gave them a singular advantage worser sort of people only, who had degenerated from over other nations that they conquered. In this manner the piety of their ancestors. But by the children of men grew the empires of Cyrus, Alexander, and all the great in that place, it is evident that we are to understand all conquerors in the world; nor can we, in all the records mukind, because in the initial words of the chapter they of history, find one large dominion, from the very founare called the whole earth. Nor can we well conceive dation of the world, that was ever erected and established how, in so short a time after that awakening judgment of by one private person : and, therefore, we have abundant the deluge, the major part of mankind, even while Noah reason to infer that Nimrod, though confessedly the and his sons were still alive, should be so far corrupted beginner of sovereign authority, could, at this time, bave in their principles, as to deserve the odious character of no great kingdom under his command. wbelievers.
But admitting his kingdom to be larger than this supJosephus, indeed, and some other authors, are clearly position ; yet, from that day to this, we can meet with of opinion that Nimrod, a descendant from the impious no works of this kind attempted but from a fulness of Han, was the great abettor of this design, and the ring- wealth and wantonness of power, and after peace, luxury, leader of those who combined in the execution of it. and long leisure had introduced and established arts : so Beat, though the undertaking seems to agree very well that nothing can be more absurd than to attribute such a with the notion which the Scriptures give us of that ambi- prodigious work to the power and vanity of one man, in tious prince, yet, besides that others, extremely well the infancy both of arts and empire, and when we can
scarce suppose that there was any such thing as artificial Gen. xi. 15. . Gen. xi. 1.
wealth in the world.
Since then, this building was undoubtedly very ancient, . The author of the book called Malem tells this story:- as ancient as the Scripture makes it, and yet could not That when Nimrod saw that the fire, into which he caused Abra- be effected by any separate society in the period assigned bem to be cast for not submitting to the worshipping of idols, did for it, the only probable opinion is, that it was (as we km no damage, he resolved to ascend into heaven, that he might
that great God whom Abraham revealed to him. In vain said before) undertaken and executed by the united did his courtiers endeavour to divert him from this design; labours of all the people that were then on the face of he was resolved to accomplish it, and therefore gave orders the earth. It is not unlikely, however, that after the ka the building of a tower that might be as high as possible. dispersion of the people, and their leaving the place
They worked upon it for three years together, and, when he went unfinished,? Nimrod and his subjects, coming out of up to the top, he was much surprised to see himself as far from Laren as when be was upon the ground: but his confusion was Arabia, or some other neighbouring country, might, after much increased, when they came to inform him next morning that their fright was over, settle at Babel, and there building his tower was fallen and dashed in pieces. He commanded them the city of Babylon, and repairing the tower, make it the then that another should be built, which might be higher and tronger than the former; but when this met with the same fate, metropolis (as afterwards it was) of all the Assyrian od be still continued an obstinate persecutor of those who wor- empire. ázipped the true God, God took from him the greatest part of his To this purpose there is a very remarkable passages ssdgets, by the division and confusion of their tongues, and those in Diodorus Siculus, where he tells us, “ That on the who still adhered to him he killed by a cloud of flies, which he walls of one of the Babylonian palaces was portrayed ut amongst them.-Calmet's Dictionary on the word Nimrod. The poets, in like manner, having corrupted the tradition of this a general hunting of all sorts of wild beasts, with the prot with fictions of their own, do constantly bring in Jupiter figure of a woman on horseback piercing a leopard, and defeating the attempts of the Titans in this manner :-“ Jupiter, from the citadel of heaven, hurling his thunderbolts, overturned
> Gen. x. 8. 6 Revel. Examined, vol. ii. dissert. 3. the ponderous masses on their founders," &c.—Ovid.
7 Bochart's Phaleg. b. i. c. 10. Ibid, b. i.
A. M. 1757. A. C. 2247; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 2857, A. C. 2554. GEN. CH. xi. TO VER. 10 a man fighting with a lion; and that on the walls of the neither numbers nor materials, to make themselves mas. other palace were armies in battalia, and huntings of ters of wbat their vanity projected; we may reasonably several kinds.” Now of this Nimrod, the sacred histo- suppose, that the affectation of renown was another rian informs us, that he was a great and remarkable hun-motive to their undertaking ; since it is very well known, ter, so as to pass into a proverb; and this occupation he that this is the very principle which has all along govmight the rather pursue as the best means of training up erned the whole race of mankind, in all the works and his companions to exploits of war, and of making him- monuments of magnificence, the mausoleums, pillars, self popular by the glory he gained, and the public good palaces, pyramids, and whatever bas been erected of he did, in destroying those wild beasts, which at that time any pompous kind, from the foundation of the world to infested the world. And as this was a part of his cha- this very day. So that, taking their resolution under the racter, the most rational account that we can give of these united light of these two motives, the reasoning of the ornaments in the Babylonian palaces is, that they were builders will run thus :-“ We are here in a vast plain; set up by some of Nimrod's descendants in their ances- a our dispersion inevitable ; our increase, and the netor's imperial city, in memory of the great founder of cessaries of life demand it. We are strong and happy their family, and of an empire which afterwards grew so when united ; but, when divided, we shall be weak and famous.
wretched. Let us then contrive some means of union and ? Eutychius, patriarch of Alexandria, will needs have friendly society, which may, at the same time, perpetuate it, that Nimrod was the first author of the religion of our fame and memory. And what means so proper for the Magians, the worshippers of fire: and from hence, these purposes as a magnificent city, and mighty tower, very probably, ? a late archbishop of our own has whose top may touch the skies? The tower will be a land thought that this tower of Babel (whose form was pyra- mark to us, through the whole extent of this plain, and a midal, as he says, and so resembling fire, whose fame centre of unity, to prevent our being dispersed ; and the ascends in a conic shape) was a monument designed for city, which may prove the metropolis of the whole earth, the honour of the sun, as the most probable cause of will at all times afford us a commodious habitation. Since drying up the waters of the flood. “For though the
then we need fear no dissolution of our works by any sun,” says he, was not merely a god of the hills, yet
future deluge, let us erect something that may immortalthe heathens thought it suitable to his advanced station ise our names, and outvie the labours of our antediluvian w worship him upon ascents, either natural, or where fathers.” And that this seems to have been the reasonthe country was flat, artificial, that they might approach, ing of their minds, will further appear, if we come now as near as possibly they could, the deity they adored.” to take a short survey of the dimensions of the building,
This certainly accounts for God's displeasure against according to the account which the best historians have the builders, and why he was concerned to defeat their given us of it. undertaking ; but as there is no foundation for this con
It is the opinion of the learned 'Bochart, that whatjecture in Scripture, and the date of this kind of idola- ever we read of the tower, enclosed in the temple of try was not perhaps so early as is pretended, the two Belus, may very properly be applied to the tower of ends which Moses declares the builders had in view, in Babel ; because, upon due search and examination, he forming their project, will be motives sufficient for their conceives them to be one and the same structure. Now undertaking it.
of this tower * Herodotus tells us, that it was a square of For, if we consider, that they were now in the midst a furlong on each side, that is, half a mile in the whole of a vast plain, undistinguished by roads, buildings, or circumference, whose height, being equal to its basis, boundaries of any kind, except rivers ; that the provision was divided into eight towers, built one upon another ; of pasture, and other necessaries, obliged them to sepa- but what made it look as divided into eight towers, was rate, and that, when they were separated, there was a very probably the manner of its ascent. The passage necessity of some landmark to bring them together again to go up it, continues our author, was a circular or upon occasion, otherwise all communication, and with winding way, carried round the outside of the building, it all the pleasures of life, must be cut off'; we can to its highest point :' from whence it seems most likely hardly imagine any thing more natural, and fit for this that the whole ascent was, by the benching-in, drawn in purpose, than the erection of a tower, large and lofty a sloping line from the bottom to the top eight times enough to be seen at great distances, and consequently round it, which would make it have the appearance of sufficient to guide them from all quarters of that immense eight towers one above another. This way was so exceedregion; and when they had occasion to correspond, or ing broad, that it afforded space for horses and carts, come together, nothing certainly could be more proper and other means of carriage, to meet and turn ; and the than the contiguous buildings of a city for their recep-towers, which looked like so many stories upon one tion and convenient communication.
another, were each of them seventy-five feet high, in If we consider, likewise, that all the pride and magni- which were many stately rooms, with arched roofs supficence of their ancestors were now defaced, and utterly
3 See Phaleg. part 1. b. i. c. 9.
• Book 1. destroyed by the deluge, without the least remains or
* Prideaux's Connection, part 1. memorial of their grandeur ; that consequently the earth a Here they speak as if they feared a dispersion; but it is hard was a clear stage whereon to erect new and unrivalled to tell for what cause, unless it was this:- That Noah, having monuments of glory and renown to themselves; and that projected a division of the earth among his posterity, (for it was at this juncture they wanted neither art nor abilities, to submit to it, and therefore built a fortress to defend themselves
a deliberate business, as we noted before,) the people had no mind
in their resolution of not yielding to his design; but what they Calmet's Dictionary on the word Nimrod.
dreaded, they brought upon themselves by their own vain attempt to 2 Tenison on Idolatry.
avoid it.-Sec Patrick's Commentary, and Usher to d. M.1757.