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" and it shall come to pass that every one that findeth me shall slay me;" every one will treat me as an outlaw from the government, as a common enemy to my species. We are told that among the antient Romans, when a person was outlawed or declared accursed for some heinous crime, any one might kill him with impunity. The reason why the first instance of murder was punished with banishment, and not with death, might be because the continuance of the murderer for several centuries a living and dreadful monument of divine vengeance, would probably afford more instruction and benefit to mankind than his immediate excision; or because in the infancy of the world his life might be important to the propagation and support of the species, and capital executions were then less necessary for the common safety. “ The mark which God set upon Cain, lest any finding him should slay bim," has given rise to many curious and some very ridiculous conjectures. Dr. Shuckford's opinion seems the most probable, who renders the text thus-“ The Lord gave to Cain a sign" or token, probably by some miracle, assuring him of his protection, so that none who met him should kill him. The same word here translated mark, is applied to the visible token by which God assured Noah that he would no more drown the world; and by which he satisfied Gideon that he should destroy the Midianites.
The next intimation of civil government in the early ages appears in the story of Lamech. " Lamech said unto his wives, I have slain a man to my wounding, and
a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged seven fold, truly Lamech seventy and seven fold.” 0. mitting the many fanciful or forced constructions of these words, I only observe that Onkelos, the first Chaldee Paraphrast on the Pentateuch, considers the former part of Lamech's speech as interrogative_“ Have I slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt ?” ---and accordingly paraphrases it thus—“ I have not, like Cain, killed a man, that I should bear the sin of it ; nor a young man, that my offspring should be cut off for it.” Dr. Shuckford has enlarged this idea by supposing that Lamech was endeavouring to quiet the apprehensions of his wives and family with respect to any penal conse. quences, which the murder committed by their progenitor Cain might entail upon them, as if had said, “What have we done that we should be afraid? We have not killed nor injured a man even of another family. And if God would not allow Cain to be killed, who had murdered his own brother, but threatened sevenfold vengeance on any who should slay him ; certainly they must meet a far greater punishment, who should kill any of us.
We may therefore assure ourselves of perfect safety under the protection of human government, and of divine providence.” This construction to me seems easy and well founded.
Let us now descend to the history of man after the flood. The first instance of patriarchal authority, which occurs in this history, is the judicial sentence of Noah, denounced upon his grandson Canaan, “ cursed be Canaan ; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethe.
As Noah was the second father of mankind, he was probably for a considerable time reverenced and obeyed as universal Sovereign. With respect to the par
ticular exercise of his power now before us, he seems to have acted rather as an inspired prophet than as a patriarchal ruler ; that is, he was enabled to foretel the fu. ture fate of his three sons and their posterity, and thus to pronounce an effectual curse on one of them, and blessings upon the two other. His example therefore gives no warrant to rulers and kings in later times to decide the future fate of their children and dominions by their arbitrary pleasure; to determine for instance, which of their sons shall possess the absolute jurisdiction and property of a great nation ; just as a private man bequeaths his lands or his cattle to his heirs.
There are several questions, which this part of sacred Iristory suggests.
First, what was the crime of Ham, for which his father cursed him? The answer is, having witnessed the infirmity and nakedness of a venerable parent, instead of concealing them beneath the veil of filial piety, he publicly and scornfully exposed them to his brethren ; which was at once an impious and shameless act, and evinced a very depraved character.
Secondly, why did Noah denounce this curse, not on Ham himself, but on his son Canaan ? We reply, the repeated mention of Canaan in this story, as well as the united opinion of the Hebrew Doctors, renders it probable that he was a partner with his father Ham in behold. ing and ridiculing the infirmity of Noah. We add, that as the curse here denounced was prophetic, and chiefly referred to the remote posterity of Ham and of Canaan, so there was no injustice in punishing this posterity for imitating the wickedness of their progenitors, nor any impropriety in punishing Hain for his crime by informing
him of the future depravity and servitude of his offspring, to which his own example would largely contribute.
A third question is, in what respects was this curse fulfilled? We answer, it was verified ist, by the destruction or subjugation of the Canaanites to the people of Israel, the descendants of Shem ; 2d, by the conquest and extermination of the Tyrians, Thebans, and Carthaginians, who were also Ham's posterity, by the Greeks and Romans, who descended from Japhet ; and 3dly, by the present servile and wretched condition of the Africans, who sprang from the same fatal stock, compared with the state of Europeans, who originated from a different branch of the Patriarch's family. Those, who wish to be greatly entertained and confirmed by fully comparing these historic facts with the predictions of Noah, are referred to the masterly treatise of Newton on the prophecies.
Patriarchal government farther illustrated. Sentence of Jacob on bis twelve sons.
Special government of the Jews. Its leading design, the preservation of the true religion ammg them, in connection with their temporal freedom and prosperity. Why temporal blessings and evils employed to enforce this constitution. Objections answered. Hebrew policy contrasted with that of the antient heathens.
N the beginning of our first Lecture of this kind we informed you that, in obedience to the will of the Founder of the theological professorship, and of the College Legislature, we had determined to give you a series of private discourses on Jewish and Christian Antiquities. After hinting a few things on the importance of being acquainted with the antiquities of the Jews, particularly as such knowledge affords the best clue to the meaning, propriety, and beauty of many parts of their inspired scriptures ; we proposed to begin our disquisitions by attending to their civil polity. To throw light on this, we went into a brief investigation of the origin and progress of civil government in the early ages. The result of this inquiry was, that political government was at first parental or patriarchal ; that in time it branched out and grew up into a number of more extended and independent monarchies ; that the sovereignties, however, were primarily, or at least ultimately established by ex. press or implied agreement between the rulers and subjects ; and that there is no proof from Scripture, reason, or history, that the early founders and governors of mankind possessed unlimited power, much less that they transmitted it by hereditary succession in the line of their firstborn,