Page images

the face of the deep? Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades or loose the bands of Orion? Nimrod defiantly replied—I know not God, and I care not what thou sayest. The words of Eber awakened acclamations of deep enthusiasm. Caesar was ambitious. Nimrod was ambitious. He said in an aside to his companions, this man Eber studies much, he sees afar, he is dangerous; we must represent him to the people as being opposed to law and order, inciting anarchy. We must get him out of the way. They proceeded to build the tower. Then it was that God manifested himself in protest on the side of Eber; and while others began to speak in different languages, Eber retained the original language;—that ancient classic language which surpasses all others in beauty of imagery and loftiness of thought. Nimrod was baffled, but did not relinquish his bold design; he defiled the “Most High.” Thus, “A mighty hunter before the Lord,” not merely a hunter of wild beasts, but more a pursuer and crusher of men; and therefore a more exact translation of the original expression reads, “He was an overbearing tyrant in Jehovah's sight.” That this was an organized attempt to crush out the knowledge of God in the earth is revealed by the inspired words of the Apostle Paul, “God that made the world and all things therein—and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation. That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him; though he be not far from every one of us.”

The party of Nimrod now determined to make their design effective by establishing a form of religious belief with impressive ceremony, and a dazzling pageantry.



The central figure in the history of humanity was the man Abram: in him have transpired the greatest events of human history; what he was and what he did—not what he said—made him great.

He stood with the great men of his day a leader in the affairs of men; and he was very rich, not in lands, but in cattle, in silver and in gold; and of his household there were three hundred and eighteen educated servants. One time in command of an army, “He brought back all the goods—and the women also, and the people.” These had been taken captive by a despotic king. - Abram upheld civil government as necessary for the good of all; but in matters of religious faith,-he acknowledged the “Most High” as the one alone to whom we must give an acCOunt. Abram seems to have been in close touch with the unseen world, for he entertained visitors from the realms of Sinless Glory: the Lord came and talked with Abram, and made known to him the eternal purpose of God:—the glorious destiny of the earth and its inhabitants, the Creator took Abram into covenant relations with himself by a symbolism, the most sacred in use amongst men. He gave to Abram a son typical of the only begotten Son of God, the Saviour of the world; and “Abram was called the friend of God.” Abram was the founder of the Hebrew nation,--a nation that lives today in every country of the world, although for many centuries without a country of its own. From “Eber” comes the name “Hebrew,” of whom Abram is the eighth in the line of descent. It is said that Eber was the founder of the Hebrew language. The home of Abram was in Ur of the Chaldees; the home of Sarai was in the same city; the two families belonged to the aristocracy; Abram and Sarai were betrothed. The great beauty of Sarai was reported to the king and she was taken, —no one knew where; the families of Abram and Sarai were overwhelmed with grief, Abram's grief was indescribable. He arose with the determination to find her and bring her again to her home. He immediately set forth with commissioners. The sun had risen high in the heavens when he entered the gates of Akkad. Through shady aisles he walked, and up and down broad slopes where the palm plumes toss. The streets were paved with polished stone, and lined on either side with lofty palaces. As he advanced more into the city's center, the crowds increased. The pressing throngs of people seemed more or less bent on pleasure, to judge from their animated conversation and frequent bursts of laughter. The men for the most part were dressed like Abram—a costume worn by the ancient Greeks—it consisted of a white linen tunic, and loose upper vest, both garments being kept in place by a belt of silver. From this belt suspended a sheathed dagger. Though there were some whose garments were of soft silk with belts of gold, who carried daggers in sheaths that were literally encrusted with jewels. There were richly ornamented chariots drawn by spirited horses and driven by personages in gorgeous apparel. There were fruit sellers, flower girls—and there were little open square carts to which mules wearing collars of bells were harnessed,—these vehicles bore the names of traders and dealers in all sorts of provisions. The streets were full of elegant loungers of both sexes. The women were especially noticeable for their lazy grace of manner—they glided to and fro with an indolent floating ease that was bewitching, the more so, as many of them were endowed with natural beauty, a beauty greatly enhanced by the artistic simplicity of dress, this was composed of a straight clinging gown, slightly gathered at the throat and bound at the waist with a girdle. Their arms were bare as were those of the men. The women wore long white veils which they draped about them at their pleasure. Soon a loud blast of a silver-toned trumpet split the air followed by a storm roar of acclamations. And now vast crowds of people pressed impetuously in one direction. Abram plunged into the shouting onrushing throng, and was borne with it swiftly down a broad avenue, lined with stately palm trees, and decked with flags and streamers, to the margin of a noble river. A splendid marble embankment barred it on both sides, and here under awnings of every color and design, an enormous multitude was assembled. The attention of all appeared to be centered in one direction,-presently there was seen the slow approach of a fan

« PreviousContinue »