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undertake any thing whatsoever, but former enterprise. They were not to will always return into the road which be at once happy and wise, numerous Nature has once for all prescribed to and united. They were put to confuhim. And so it happened with me in sion; the building stopped; the men the present case. My pains about the dispersed; the world was peopled, but language, about the substance of the divided. sacred writings themselves, all ended Our gaze, our interest remain, howat last in producing a livelier picture ever, still fastened on these regions. in my imagination of that fair and At last a founder of a race comes celebrated land, and of all that lay forth from hence anew, and impresses around it, as well as of the peoples a decided character on his descendants
, and events which through thousands thereby to combine them for all time of years ennobled that spot of earth. into a great nation, holding toge.
This small space was to see the ther through all changes of fortune origin and growth of the human race. and of country. Thence were to come our first and From Euphrates, Abraham, not only accounts of primitive history; and without Divine guidance, wanders tothis locality was to lie before our ima- wards the west.
The desert opposes gination, no less simple and conceiva. no final hinderance to his march. He ble than varied, and suited to the most reaches the Jordan, passes over the wondrous migrations and settlements. river, and spreads himself in the fair Here,between four recorded rivers, rises southern regions of Palestine. This a small delightful space, set apart from land had been taken possession of bethe whole habitable earth for youthful fore, and tolerably peopled. Mounman. Here was he to develop his tains, not of extreme height, but stony first capacities; and here, at the same and unfruitful, were cut through by time, was the lot to befall him, which many watered valleys, favourable to was appointed for all his posterity, of cultivation. Cities, towns, single setlosing peace by striving after know. tlements, lay scattered over the plain, ledge. "Paradise was forfeited ; men and on slopes of the great valley which increased and corrupted themselves; pours its waters into Jordan. Thus and were utterly destroyed by the peopled, thus tilled was the country; wrathful Elohim. Only a few were but the world was still so wide, and saved from the general inundation; the men so little careful, necessitous, and scarcely had this horrible flood or laborious, that they did not at disappeared, when the well-known an. once occupy all about them. Between cestral soil lay once more before the their possessions large spaces spread, eyes of the grateful survivors. in which pasturing herds could move
Two rivers ont of four, the E11. freely hither and thither. In these phrates and the Tigris, still flowed in spaces Abraham disposes himself
, with their beds. The name of the former his brother Lot near him. But they remained, the other seemed marked cannot remain long in such spots. by its course. More accurate traces That very mode of settlement in the of the Paradise could not be expected land, with a population that shrinks after such a revolution. The renewed and swells, and productions which race of man went forth from hence a never remain in equipoise with the second time. They were impelled to wants, brings unexpectedly a famine, nourish and employ themselves in and the stranger suffers with the namany different ways; but chiefly to tive, whose own support his accidental collect about them great herds of tame presence has made more difficult. The animals, and to wander with them in two Chaldean brothers remove toall directions.
wards Egypt; and thus the stage is This mode of life, as well as the pointed out to us on which, for some increase of the families, compelled the thousands of years, the most important peoples soon to separate from each events of the world were to take other. They could not immediately place. From Tigris to Euphratès
, resolve to bid farewell for ever to from Euphrates to Nile, we see the their kindred and friends, and they earth peopled, and in this space a man, struck upon the thought of building a beloved of Heaven, and whom we allofty tower, which, from a great dis- ready esteem wortby, moves to and tance, would mark to them the way fro with his herds and possessions, and back. But this attempt failed like that in a short time amply increases them.
9 The brothers return; but, taught by and scatters them, and moves with
the distress they had suffered, they great booty up the course of Jordan, take the resolution of separating from in order to extend his conquests as far
each other. Both indeed remain in as Lebanon. se southern Canaan ; but while Abraham Among the prisoners, plundered and
stays at Hebron, by the wood of dragged along with their property, * Mamre, Lot goes towards the vale of Lot is one, who shares the fate of the * Siddim. If our imagination is bold country where he lives as a stranger.
enough to give to the Jordan a sub- Abraham hears it, and at once we see :: terranean outlet, so as to gain, instead the patriarch as a warrior and hero.
of the present Dead Sea, a dry soil, He draws together his servants, divides this place will appear to us a second them into bands, falls upon the cumparadise ; the more because the inha- bersome load of spoil, confuses the : bitants and neighbours, notorious for victors, who could not suspect an eneeffeminacy and crime, lead us from my in the rear, and recovers his bro
this to suppose their life commodious ther and his goods, together with much t and luxurious. Lot lives among them, of those of the conquered kings. By
this short expedition Abraham takes, But Hebron and the wood of Mamre as it were, possession of the land. He appear to us as the dignified spots appears to the inhabitants a protector, where the Lord speaks with Abraham, a rescuer, and by his disinterestedness and promises him all the land so far a king. The kings of the Valley reas his gaze can reach in all directions. ceive him with thanks; Melchisedec, From these quiet regions, from these the
king and priest, with blessings. pastoral peoples, who associate with The prophecies of an endless postethe celestials, receive them as guests, rity are now renewed, nay, take a and hold many dialogues with them, wider and wider extension. From the we are compelled to turn our eyes waters of Euphrates to the river of once more towards the East, and to Egypt all the land is promised him. think of the state of the surrounding Yet there seems a failure of his immeworld, which, on the whole, may per. diate offspring. He is eighty years haps have resembled that of the single old, and has no son. Sarah, trusting land of Canaan.
less in the Divine power than he, beFamilies stay together; they com- comes impatient. She wishes, in the bine, and the mode of life of the Oriental fashion, to have a descendant tribes is determined by the locality through her maid. But scarcely has which they have appropriated, or now Hagar been committed to the master appropriate. On the mountains which of the family, scarcely is there hope of pour their waters into the Tigris we a son, before dissension breaks out. tind warlike peoples, who even thus The wife treats her own dependant early foreshow those future conquerors harshly enough, and Hagar flies, in and rulers of the world; and in a mili- order to find a better fortune among tary expedition, prodigious for those other tribes. She turns back, not times, give us a prelude of their com- without signs from on high, and Ishing exploits. Chedorlaomer, king of mael is born. Elam, has already a powerful influ- Abraham is now ninety..nine years ence over his allies. He reigns long; old, and the promises of a numerous for twelve years before Abraham's posterity are constantly repeated, so arrival in Canaan, he had made the that at last both the pair think them peoples as far as Jordan tributary. ridiculous. And yet is Sarah at last They resisted at last, and the allies pregnant, and brings forth a son, to prepared for war. We find them unex- whom is given the name Isaac. pectedly on a road by which probably On the 'legitimate continuation of Abraham also reached Canaan. The the human race, history, for the most peoples on the left and lower side of part, depends. It becomes necessary Jordan were subdued. Chedorlaomer to trace the most important public directs his march southwards to the events up into the secrets of families; peoples of the wilderness, then, turning and thus also do the marriages of the north, strikes the Amalekites; and patriarchs suggest some peculiar con. when he has also mas tered the Amo- siderations. It seems that the Divine rites, reaches Canaan, falls upon the power which loved to guide the deskings of the Valley of Şiddim, strikes tiny of man, had wished to represent
here, as in an archetype, connubial whose servants they profess themselves events of all kinds. Abraham, so long eservedly as they undoubtingly united in childless marriage with a persevere in expecting the final fulsi. beautiful woman whom many coveted, ment of his promises. finds himself, in his hundredth year, As a particular revealed religion the husband of two women, the father lays for its ground the idea that one of two sons, and at this moment his man may be more favoured by Heaven domestic peace is broken. Two wo- than another, it arises also pre-emi. men side by side, and two sons by two nently from the separation of classes. mothers, cannot possibly agree.
The The first men appeared nearly allied; side least favoured by law, usage, but their employments soon divided z. and opinion, must give way.
Abra. them. The hunter was the freest of YE ham must sacrifice his regard for all; from him arose the warrior and Hagar and for Ishmael.
the ruler. Those who tilled the field, dismissed, and Hagar is now compelled, bound themselves to the soil, and raised against her will, to enter on a road dwellings and barn s to preserve what which she once pursued in voluntary they had gained, might also thus early flight. At first it seems as if both her think themselves of some importance, child and she must perish ; but the because their condition promised conangel of the Lord, who had before sent tinuance and security. To the herds. her back, now again rescues her, that man in his employment, there seemed Ishmael also may become a great peo. given the most unlimited condition, and ple, and the most improbable of all pro- a boundless heritage.
The increase phecies may have even an overflowing of the herds proceeded without end, fulfilment.
and the space which was to support Two parents in advanced years, and them expanded on all sides. These one son of their old age-here at last, three classes seem from the very first at all events, we may look for domes- to have regarded each other with disa tic quiet and earthly happiness ! Not like and contempt; and, as the herdsat all. Heaven is still preparing the
man was an abomin ation to the townsheaviest of trials for the patriarch. men, so in turn he avoided them. The But of this we cannot speak, without hunters vanish from
our sight among first proposing several considerations. the hills, and re-appear only as con
If a natural universal religion were querors. to arise, and a special revealed one to
The patriarchs belonged to the class be developed from it, then the coun. of herdsmen. Their tries in which our imagination has upon the sea of deserts and pastures: been lingering, the mode of life, and gave breadth and race of men, were the very fittest for minds. The vault of heaven, under the
purpose. equally favourable and eneouraging hands mere ned than the active, skitu, that in the whole world any thing Stars, elevated their feelings. They existed. Even natural religion, if we suppose that it had arisen" before in householding husbandman, of the the human mind, implies much sensi. movable faith that of an universal providence, which con guided and protected them. bility; for it rests upon the persuasion side them, visited them, cared for them, ducts the course of the world as a whole. A particular religion, reveal- reflection in passin s to the rest of the ed by Heaven to this or that people, history.
Human e, brings with it the belief in a special cheering as is the religion of the patprovidence, pledged by the Divine Be- riarchs, yet traits ing to certain favoured men, families, cruelty are mingled with it all, out of this to develop itself in men from sink in it, and be lost. races, and peoples. It seems hard for which man may either rise or again within. It requires tradition, usage, That hatred should appease itself assurance from of old.
by the blood, by tha It is therefore beautiful that the quered enemy,
is Israelitish tradition represents the very concluded a peace first men who confide in this provi- among the ranks dence as heroes of faith, following all easily be conceived the commands of that high Being, similarly think to
manner of life
freedom to their
a God walked be
We are compelled to make another
of savageness and
e death of the con
tural. That men pon the battle-field of the slain, may
That they should strengthen a com
pact by slain animals, follows from at the wood of Mamre. This he buys what has been just said. Nor can with the field about it; and the legal it more be an object of wonder, form which he observes in the purthat by slaughtered beasts they be- chase, shows how important is this poslieved they could call down, pro- session to him. It was so, perhaps pitiate, and prevail upon the hea- more than he could himself imagine. venly powers, whom they always re- For he, his children, and his grandgarded as partisans, either opposing or children, were to rest there ; and the assisting them. But if we consider chief claim to the whole land, as well
nly the offerings, and the way in as the ever-increasing wish of his dewhich they were performed in that scendants to gather themselves in it, primeval time, we find a strange usage, was thereby to be most appropriately to us altogether abhorrent, which pro- grounded. bably bad been derived from war: this, Henceforth the manifold family namely—the sacrificed animals of every scenes continue to vary. Abraham kind, however great the number, had still keeps himself severely apart from to be hewn in twain, and laid on either the inhabitants; and if Ishmael himself, hand, and in the space between those the son of an Egyptian woman, has placed themselves who wished to make moreover married a daughter of that a covenant with the Deity.
country, so Isaac, too, must wed a Another fearful trait passes wonder- kinswoman and an equal. fully and awfully through all that fair Abraham sends his servant to Mesoworld—that all which was consecrated potamia, to the relatives whom he has and devoted must die; probably also left there. The prudent Eleazar ara war custom, transferred to peace. rives unknown, and, in order to take The inhabitants of a town which de- home the right bride, he tries the serfends itself strongly, are threatened viceableness of the damsels at the well. with such a vow.
It falls by storm or He begs to drink himself, and Rebecca, otherwise, and nothing is left alive; unasked, gives drink also to his camels. men never, and often not the women, He gives her presents, and demands the children, even the cattle. Preci- her in marriage; norissherefused him. pitately and superstitiously such offer. Thus he takes her home to his master, ings are, with more or less distinctness, and she is united to Isaac. In this vowed to Heaven; and thus those whom case, also, the offspring must be long the votary would fain spare, even the waited for. Not tiil after years of nearest to him, his own children, are trial is Rebecca blessed; and the same exposed to perish as the sin-offerings division which arose from Abraham's of such a madness.
double marriage is here produced So barbarous a kind of devotion by one. Two boys of opposite chacould not arise in the mild, truly patri- racters struggle even in the mother's archal character of Abraham. But womb. They come to light; the Heaven, which often, in order to tempt elder lively and strong, the younger us, seems to exert those qualities which mild and prudent. The former is the man is inclined to attribute to it, lays father's, the latter the mother's famonstrous commands on him. He vourite. The strife for the precedence, must sacrifice his son as a pledge of which begins even with their birth, the new covenant; and if usage is fol- always continues. Esau is quiet and lowed, must not only slay and burn indifferent in his possession of those him, but divide him into two parts, and rights of the first-born which fate has between the smoking members expect given him; Jacob does not forget that a new promise from the benign Power. his brother thrust him back. AttenWithout delay, and blindly, Abraham tive to every opportunity of gaining prepared himself to execute the com- the desired advantage, he buys the mand.
But the will is sufficient. right of the first-born from his Abraham's trials are now over, for they brother, and overreaches him as to could not be carried to a higher point. their father's blessing. Esau is enBut Sarah dies, and this gives occasion raged, and vows his brother's death, for Abraham taking possession typie and Jacob flees to seek his fortune in
cally of the land of Canaan. He the land of his forefathers. => wants a grave, and this is the first time Now, for the first time in so noble 9 when he concerns himself for any pos- a family, appears one who has no
session on this earth. He had proba- hesitation in seeking by prudence and bly before sought out a double cavern cunning the advantages which na
ture and circumstance refused him. to appease him, Laban indeed, after It has often enough been noticed and a short time, gives him his beloved expressed, that the sacred writings by also, but under the condition of seven no means aim at representing the pa- more years of service.
So now there triarchs and other divinely favoured comes vexation on vexation. The men as models of virtue. They, too, unbeloved wife is fruitful, the beloved are men of the most different charac- brings no children. The latter wishes, ters, with many defects and failings. like Sarah, to become a mother by But there is one chief quality, which means of her maid. The former these men after God's heart could grudges her even
this advantage. not want-an immovable faith that She, too, presents a maid to her husGod had special regard to them and band; and now the good patriarch theirs.
is the most troubled of men-four General, natural religion, requires, women, children from three, and none properly speaking, no faith.
from the beloved one! At last she the persuasion that a great, produc- too is favoured, and Joseph comes tive, regulating, and guiding Being, into the world, a late offspring of the as it were, hides himself behind Na- most passionate love. Jacob's fourture, in order to make himself con- teen years of service are past. But ceivable by us—a persuasion of this Laban will not part
with his chief kind impresses itself on every one. and most faithful servant. They form Nay, if one often lets go the thread a new contract, and divide the herds of it, which conducts him through between them. Laban keeps the life, yet will he be able immediately white ones as the more numerous ; and every where to resume it. But it Jacob must be content with the spotis quite otherwise with a particular ted—as it were with the refuse. But religion, which announces to us that he too is able to secure his own advanthis great Being distinctly and pre- tage; and as he gained the rights of eminently loves some one individual, the first-born by a bad decision, and one race, one people, one country. his father's blessing
by a disguise, so This religion is grounded on faith, now too he is able, by art and sympa. which must be immovable if it is
thy, to appropriate the best and largest not to be instantly levelled with the
part of the herds, and in this way also ground. Every doubt of such a reli
becomes the truly worthy ancestor of gion is mortal to it. One may return
the people of Israel, and a model for to persuation, but not to faith. Hence his descendants. the endless trials, the delay in the ful- pendants remark by which the capacity for faith of tion arises. Jacobo fi ees with all bis
stratagem, but the those great forefathers is set in the
family, with all his possessions, and clearest light.
escapes from his It is in faith, too, that Jacob begins partly by fortune, partly by cunning. his expedition; and if, by his cunning
Rachel is now to and deception, he has not gained our but she dies in giving him birth. The liking, yet he secures it by his lasting son of sorrow, Benjamin, survives her; and inviolable love for Rachel, whom but the old father is to feel yet greater he himself on the moment sues for, as sorrow from the apparent loss of his in his father's name Eleazar had sued Joseph. for Rebecca. In him was the pro
Some one maj mise of a countless people first to be fully unfolded.
what reason these well-known and oftHe was to see many sons about him, but through them and their mothers was to suffer many
here again circumstantially told. Such
an enquirer must be pangs of heart.
answer, that I could He serves seven years for his be- hibit how it was that, in my scattered loved, without impatience and without life and desultory wavering. His father-in-law, resem. collected my min bling him in cunning, and disposed, one point, and in like him, to consider this means to his activity; and no oth 3 end legitimate, deceives him, and so the peace which su repays him what he had done to his
when the world ab brother. Jacob finds in his arms a wildest and strar. wife whom he does not love. In order When an ever-bus
Laban and his denot perhaps the
bear him a son;
perhaps ask, for
repeated and expla i ned narratives are
satisfied with the no otherwise ex
i nstruction, I yet 2 and feelings
one kind of quiet erwise could paint rounded me, even ut me was in the
gest commotion y imagination, of