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Origin and progress of civil government. Political government at first parental or patriarchal. Illustrations and proofs from sacred history before and after the flood. Crime of Ham for which he was cursed. Why this curse was denounced, not on Ham himself, but on his son Cancan. In what respects this curse was fulfilled.
THE laws relating to the theological department in this Society, and the express will of the Founder of this professorship, require the Instructor to read to the two higher classes a weekly private Lecture on some topic connected with divinity. Complete arrangements for this purpose have been but recently made. The desire of the Corporation has determined me to employ a number of discourses on the subject of Jewish and Christian Antiquities. Some acquaintance with each of these is not only very necessary to those, who mean to be religious instructors, but is a useful and interesting science to all.
The Antiquities of the Jews are important and venerable on many accounts. They are more antient and better authenticated, than those of any other people of 80 early a date. The Jews ever have been and still are a remarkable nation. Their civil and religious institutions, their character, destination, and fortunes have beee
singular and wonderful. Their history has a peculiar claim to the attention of Christians, who believe them to have been the favorite people of God, the appointed trustees and propagators of the true religion in the midst of an idolatrous world, the types and progenitors of the Messiah, who were to prepare the way for, and at length introduce his person and kingdom, and who are ultimately to rise to distinguished glory and happiness under his Teign.
A knowledge of the antiquities of this people is the key to many parts of their inspired Scriptures, whose import or propriety cannot otherwise be distinctly and satisfactorily perceived. This knowledge will help to vindicate, yea highly to recommend many things in their laws, which at first view may seem inconsistent with the wisdom, justice, and goodness of God, and which by some have been greatly censured and even derided. In short, this acquaintance with the early Jewish history will enable you to repel many plausible objections to the Bible, will open to you many new beauties in the sacred volume, and will greatly confirm your belief of its heavenly original. Agreeably, it will be my aim frequently to apply the subject of our disquisitions to the elucidation and defence of Scripture. If for this purpose we should sometimes go into short digressions, it will be readily excused by every friend to religion, to every fair inquirer after truth.
In treating of the antiquities of the Hebrew nation, we will begin with their civiL POLITY. This, like that of almost every other people, has undergone a variety of changes in several periods of their history. At first their government was patriarchal; a word derived from IIATPI, family, and APXNN, chief, or ru