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other language. The garden of paradise was called Eden; because among the Hebrews it signifies pleasure or delight. The place of Cain's exile was for this reason called the land of Nod, from a root which signifies to wander. Adam received his name, because he was taken out of the ground; but if the term for ground in the first language had been terra, or m, or earth, there had been no propriety in the designation. Eve was called by this name, because she was the mother of all living ; but it is derived from a pure Hebrew verb which signifies to live ; and to this relation the name owes all its propriety and significance. Cain was named from the Hebrew verb Kana, to possess, because his mother had got him from the Lord; and in this instance also, the name is inseparably connected with the Hebrew root. The proper name Seth* is derived from the Hebrew verb Shouth, to appoint; because, said our first mother, God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel whom Cain slew. The same mode of reasoning might be carried through all the names of the Adamitic age; but these instances are sufficient to show the near affinity, if not the positive identity, of the language which Adam spoke, with the Hebrew of the Old Testament.
The names ascribed by the inspired writer to the founders of our race, are not interpretations of primitive terms; for he declares they are the very names which were given at first; and as they are derivatives from pure Hebrew verbs, the language then spoken must have been the same in substance and structure. Had they been translations, we have reason to think the same method would have been followed as in several instances in the New Testament, where the original term is used, and the interpretation avowedly subjoined. But Moses gives not a single hint of his translating these terms; he asserts on the contrary, that they are the original words employed; and the truth * Heb. Sheth.
+ Genesis iv. 25.
of his assertion is rendered indubitable by the reasons assigned for their imposition, which are inseparably connected with the Hebrew language. Nor does Moses, in the whole course of his history, when speaking of persons and places, utter a single word from which we can infer the existence of an earlier language,
When the minute and extensive acquaintance with the natural character and temper of the numerous animals to which our first father gave names in Paradise, which he certainly had not time to acquire by his own industry, and which we have no reason to believe he owed to intuition, is considered, we must admit, that the language in which he conversed was not his own contrivance, but the immediate gift of Heaven. When Jehovah breathed into Adam and Eve the breath of life, he inspired them at the same moment with a perfect knowledge of the tongue in which they were to express their thoughts. A similar favour was bestowed at the beginning of the New Testament dispensation, on the apostles and other ministers of the gospel, who were inspired in a moment with the perfect knowledge of many different languages. The builders of Babel, as might have been expected, were visited in a very different manner.
Theirs was partly an inspiration in anger, which, instead of the common language, imparted for a time a number of new and strange sounds, which none but those who received them could understand. These new idioms or sounds, however, were not so numerous as the people assembled at Babel; for human society had then been completely at an end :-the father could not have associated with his child, nor the husband with the wife of his bosom ; every individual, compelled to separate from the rest of the species, had taken up his solitary dwelling with the savage beast of the desert,—and the whole race, so far at least as it depended upon them, had speedily perished. It is therefore extremely probable, that every separate family, or those families that were ap
pointed to coalesce into one colony in their future dispersion, had a peculiar dialect.
How far the Noachidæ proceeded in building the city and tower before the confusion of tongues, cannot be certainly known. It is probable, that the prodigious tower which stood in the middle of the temple dedicated to Belus, was the very same which was built there by Ham and his ambitious progeny. This is the more likely, because it is attested by several profane authors, that this tower was all constructed of bricks and bitumen; the same materials which, according to Moses, were used in building the tower of Babel.* This astonishing structure was, according to Herodotus, a furlong on each side at the base, which was square, and a furlong in height;# on this another tower was built, and after this another, to the number of eight. If these eight towers, therefore, rose in the same proportion, the height of the whole building was eight furlongs or one mile. We read of no other structure ever executed by the hands of man that reached the fourth part of this immense altitude. The ascent to the top was by stairs winding round it on the outside; that is, says Rollin, there was perhaps an easy sloping ascent in the side of the outer wall, which, turning by very slow degrees in a spiral line, eight times round the tower from the bottom to the top, had the same appearance as if there had been eight towers placed upon one another. In these different stories were many large rooms, with arched roofs, supported by pillars. Over the whole, on the top of the tower, was an observatory, by the benefit of which the Babylonians became more expert in astronomy than all other nations.
The stupendous undertaking of the Noachidæ, to the progress of which the God of heaven put an effectual stop by the confusion of tongues, was long remembered in the East. The war of the giants with * Genesis xi. 3.
+ i.e. half a mile in compass. # Estimated by Rennel at 500, and by Prideaux at 600 feet.
the Olympian Jove, so sweetly sung by the Roman poet, bears too striking a resemblance to be mistaken. In the hands of his muse, the sun-dried bricks of Shinar grew into solid and towering mountains, which men of gigantic size and daring ambition, with more than mortal strength, piled upon one another, in the vain and presumptuous hope of opening to themselves a way to the throne of the Almighty Thunderer.
Neve foret terris securior arduus æther:
OF THE DISPERSION OF MANKIND.
The confusion of tongues was followed by the dispersion of mankind over the face of all the earth. This great and interesting work, however, was conducted by the Sovereign Disposer of all things, in a regular and orderly manner. Under his watchful and secret direction, the men of Babel, baffled in their presumptuous designs, together with numerous bands from the other families of Noah, who had learned from the lips of their common father the express command of God, to multiply and replenish the earth, migrated to those quarters of the globe, and those countries which had been allotted in the Divine counsels for their respective settlements. To this orderly distribution, the inspired historian seems to allude in his concluding remark on the settlement of the sons of Javan :-By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.'* And for the same reason he concludes the account he gives us of the other branches of Noah's family in similar terms. The words families and nations, are often used promiscuously in other parts of Scripture; but here they must have a distinct signification.
The difference of construction plainly intimates, that families are in this
* Gen, x. 5, compared with Deut. xxxii. 8, Acts xvii. 26.