Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and to them were sons born after the flood.…
A clear conception of the import of this marvellous chapter should enlarge and correct our notions in so far as they have been narrowed and perverted by our insular position. We should recognize in all the nations of the earth one common human nature. "God hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the face of the earth." This reflection is both humbling and elevating. It is humbling to think that the cannibal is a relative of ours; that the slave crouching in an African wood is bone of our bone; and that the meanest scum of all the earth started from the same foundation as ourselves! On the other hand, it is elevating to think that all kings and mighty men, all soldiers renowned in song, all heroes canonized in history, the wise, the strong, the good, are our elder brothers and immortal friends. If we limit our life to families, clans, and sects, we shall miss the genius of human history, and all its ennobling influences. Better join the common lot. Take it just as it is. Our ancestors have been robbers and oppressors, deliverers and saviours, mean and noble, cowardly and heroic; some hanged, some crowned, some beggars, some kings; take it so, for the earth is one, and humanity is one, and there is only one God over all blessed for evermore! If we take this idea aright we shall get a clear notion of what are called home and foreign missions. What are foreign missions? Where are they? I do not find the word in the Bible. Where does home end; where does foreign begin? It is possible for a man to immure himself so completely as practically to forget that there is anybody beyond his own front gate; we soon grow narrow, we soon become mean; it is easy for us to return to the dust from whence we come. It is here that Christianity redeems us; not from sin only, but from all narrowness, meanness, and littleness of conception; it puts great thoughts into our hearts and bold words into our mouths, and leads us out from our village prisons to behold and to care for all nations of mankind. On this ground alone Christianity is the best educator in the world. It will not allow the soul to be mean. It forces the heart to be noble and hopeful. It says, "Go and teach all nations"; "Go ye into all the world"; "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others"; "Give and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, heaped up, and running over." It is something for a nation to have a voice so Divine ever stirring its will and mingling with its counsels. It is like a sea breeze blowing over a sickly land; like sunlight piercing the fogs of a long dark night. Truly we have here a standard by which we may judge ourselves. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." If we have narrow sympathies, mean ideas, paltry conceptions, we are not scholars in the school of Christ. Let us bring no reproach upon Christ by our exclusiveness. Let us beware of the bigotry of patriotism, as well as of the bigotry of religion. We are citizens of the world: we are more than the taxpayers of a parish. A right view of this procession of the nations will show us something of the richness and graciousness of Christ's nature. What a man must he have been either in madness or in Divinity who supposed that there was something in himself which all these people needed!
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.