This is the account of Noah's sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, who also had sons after the flood.
I. The SATISFACTION was in the completion of the earthly order in man, the highest earthly being. For God s good is not, like man's good a compromise, too often, between the really good and the really evil, but the attainment of the highest - the fulfillment of his Divine idea, the top-stone placed upon the temple with shoutings: Grace, grace unto it."
II. "The evening and the morning were the sixth day." OUT OF THE NIGHT OF 'THE INFINITE PAST CAME FORTH THE DAWN OF THE INTELLECTUAL AND SPIRITUAL WORLD. And when God saw that, then he said, It is very good. So let us let our faces towards that light of heaven on earth, the day of Divine revelation, Divine intercourse with man, the pure and perfect bliss of an everlasting paradise, in which God and man shall find unbroken rest and joy in one another. - R.
I. EXPLANATION OF THE PASSAGE.
1. Water is as indispensable to all life, whether vegetable or animal, as is the air itself. But this element of water is supplied entirely by the sea. All the waters that are in the rivers, the lakes, the fountains, the vapours, the dew, the rain, the snow, come alike out of the ocean. It is a common impression that it is the flow of the rivers that fills the sea. It is a mistake. It is the flow of the sea that fills the rivers.
The gathering together of the waters called He seas.I. THE SEA. "Let the waters...unto one place."
1. The method of their location. Perhaps by volcanic agency.
2. The degree of their proportion. If the sea were smaller, the earth would cease to be verdant and fruitful, as there would not be sufficient water to supply our rivers and streams, or to distil upon the fields. If the sea was larger, the earth would become a vast uninhabitable marsh, from the over abundance of rain. Hence, we see how needful it is that there should be a due proportion between the sea and dry land, and the wisdom and goodness of the Creator, in that it is established so exactly and beneficently.
3. The extent of their utility. They not only give fertility to the earth, but they answer a thousand social and commercial purposes.
II. THE DRY LAND.
1. The dry land was made to appear. The land had been created before, but it was covered with a vast expanse of water. Even when things are created, when they merely exist, the Divine call must educate them into the full exercise of their utility, and into the complete manifestation of their beauty. So it can remove the tide of passion from the soul, and make all that is good in human nature to appear.
2. It was made to be verdant. "And let the earth bring forth grass." The plants now created are divided into three classes: grass, herb, and tree. In the first, the seed is not noticed, as not obvious to the eye. In the second, the seed is the striking characteristic. In the third, the fruit. This division is simple and natural.
3. It was made to be fruitful. "And the fruit tree yielding fruit." The earth is not merely verdant and beautiful to look at, but it is also fruitful and good for the supply of human want. Nature appears friendly to man, that she may gain his confidence, invite his study, and minister to the removal of his poverty.
III. AND IT WAS GOOD.
1. For the life and health of man.
2. For the beauty of the universe.
3. For the commerce and produce of the nations.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
2. A second use of the sea is to moderate the temperature of the world. A common method of warming houses in the winter is by the use of hot water. The water, being heated in the basement, is carried by iron pipes to the remotest parts of the building, where, parting with its warmth and becoming cooler and heavier, it flows back again to the boiler, to be heated anew, and so to pass round in the same circuit continuously. The advantage of this method is, that the heat can be carried to great distances, and in any direction.
3. A third important use of the sea is to be a perpetual source of health to the world. Without it there could be no drainage for the lands. The process of death and decay, which is continually going on in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, would soon make the whole surface of the earth one vast receptacle of corruption, whose stagnant mass would breathe a pestilence, sweeping away all the life of a continent. The winds would not purify it; for, having no place to deposit the burden, it would only accumulate in their hands, and filling their breath with its poisonous effluvia, it would make them swift ministers of death, carrying the sword of destruction into every part of the world at once.
4. It may be mentioned, as a fourth office of the sea, that it is set to furnish the great natural pathways of the world. Instead of a barrier, the sea is a road across the barrier. Hence the ocean has been the great educator of the world. The course of empire began on its shores, and has always kept within sight of its waters. No great nation has ever sprung up except on the seaside, or by the banks of those great navigable rivers which are themselves but an extension of the sea. Had it not been for the Mediterranean, the history of Egypt, of Phoenicia, of Greece and Rome and Carthage, would have been impossible.
5. A fifth office of the sea is to furnish an inexhaustible storehouse of power for the world. Of the three great departments of labour which occupy the material industry of the race, — agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, — we have seen how the first depends upon the ocean, the one for the rains which support all vegetable life, the other for the thousand paths on which its fleets are travelling. We now find that the third one also, though at first appearing not to have very intimate connection with the ocean, does in fact owe to it almost the whole of its efficiency. Ninety-nine hundredths of all the mechanical power now at work in the world is furnished by the water wheel and the steam engine.
6. A sixth office of the sea is to be a vast storehouse of life. The sea has a whole world of life in itself. It is said that the life in the sea far exceeds all that is out of it. There are more than twenty-five thousand distinct species of living beings that inhabit its waters. Incredible numbers of them are taken from the sea; in Norway, four hundred millions of a single species in a single season; in Sweden, seven hundred millions; and by other nations, numbers without number.
7. Omnipresent and everywhere is this need and blessing of the sea. It is felt as truly in the centre of the continent, where, it may be, the rude inhabitant never beard of the ocean, as it is on the circumference of the wave-beaten shore. He is surrounded, every moment, by the presence and bounty of the sea. It is the sea that looks out upon him from every violet in his garden bed; from the broad forehead of his cattle, and the rosy faces of his children; and from the cool-dropping well at his door. It is the sea that feeds him. It is the sea that clothes him, It is the sea that cools him with the summer cloud, and that warms him with the blazing fires in winter.
8. There is a sea within us which responds to the sea without. Deep calleth unto deep, and it is the answer and the yearning of these inward waves, in reply to that outward call, which makes our hearts to swell, our eyes to grow dim with tears, and our whole being to lift and vibrate with such strong emotion when we stand upon the shore and look out upon the deep, or sit in the stern of some noble ship and feel ourselves cradled on the pulsations of its mighty bosom. There is a life within us which calls to that sea without — a conscious destiny which only its magnitude and its motion can symbolize and utter.
1. Panorama of emergent lands. A sublime spectacle it is — this resurrection of the terrestrial forms out of ocean's baptismal sepulchre — this emergence of island, and continent, and mountain — this heaving into sight of Britain and Madagascar and Cuba and Greenland, of Asia and Africa and Australia and America, of Alps and Himalayas and Andes and Sierra Nevada; more thrilling still, of Ararat and Sinai and Pisgah and Carmel and Lebanon and Zion and Olivet.
2. Geologic confirmation. How could the geologist make out his magnificent geological calendar, if it were not for the successive layers of deposited or stratified rocks of the lands upheaved into view from the depths of old ocean's sepulchre? And so, at this very point, the ancient seer and the modern sceptic agree; both say that the earth was formed out of water and by means of water (2 Peter 3:5). But they differ as to the explanation. The ancient seer said, "The secret of Nature is God." The modern sceptic says, "The secret of Nature is Law." And yet both speak truly, for Truth is evermore unutterably large: God is the cause of Nature, and Law is God's means.
3. Beneficence of the arrangement. "God saw that it was good." And well might He delight in it. For a blessed thing this Divine distribution of lands and seas was.
II. MORAL MEANING OF THE STORY.
1. The birth of individuality.
2. The birth of duty. Each man is in himself a little world. The individualization of each man is not so much for the man's own sake as for the sake of all men. This, then, is the stirring thought of the hour: Individualization for the sake of mankind. Go forth then, brother, inspired with the majestic thought that you are a personal unit — a man among men — individualized from the mass of humanity for the sake of humanity and humanity's King. Yes, happy the day, let me again say it, when God says to thee: "Let the waters gather themselves to one place, and let the dry land appear." Thrice happy the day when thou obeyest, looking upward to the opening heavens and outward to the broadening horizon.
(G. D. Boardman.)
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