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The ocean was a device of the Almighty, which, when executed, by placing the seas in their present positions and diffusion, gave to his providence the easy means and power of distributing the nations of which he meant his human population to consist, in such localities, and with such connexions and insulations, and immediate or future relations, as his progressive plan required. Colonization by coasting voyages, more or less distant, became thus always practicable. It as never difficult to transport small bodies for new settlements, by boats or larger vessels. It was easy, by adverse winds, to waft some of these to greater remoteness, or to other points than they themselves intended. All such could be kept aloof from others as long as his designs required ; and as they enlarged into tribes, or cities, and states, the ocean then became his convenient instrumentality to such farther changes and circumstances as he meant to educe.
For as none could traverse the ocean but those who applied themselves to the art and practice of navigation, and became thereby maritime states, it was only such as he led to be of this description, which could visit those that were raised and flourishing in the distant regions of the earth. Thus the first power which he produced of this sort was the Phenician, whose navigating tendencies were enlarged by
in general a white sand, was clearly visible, with its minutest objects, where the depth was from twenty to twenty-five fathoms. Hanging over the gunwale of the boat, with wonder and delight, I gazed on the slowiy moving scene below. Where the bottom was sandy the different kinds of asteriæ, echini, and even the smallest shells, appeared at that great depth conspicuous to the eye. Now creeping along, we saw far beneath, the rugged sides of a mountain rising towards our boat, the hase of which, perhaps, was hidden some miles in the great deep below, Though we were moving on a level surface, it seemed almost as if we were ascending the height under us; and when we passed over its summit, which apparently rose to within a few feet of our boat, and camo again to the descent, which on that side was suddenly perpendicular, it seemed almost as if we had thrown ourselves down this precipice. Now we came again to a plain, and passed slowly over the submarine forests and meadows which appeared in the expanse below, inhabited doubtless by thousands of animals, to which they afford both food and shelter, though unknown to man. I could sometimes observe large fishes of singular shape, gliding softly through the watery thickets, unconscious of what was moving above them. As we proceedel, the bottom became no longer visible : its fairy scenes gradually faded to the view, and were lost in the dark green depths of the ocean."
C. Brooke's Travels to the North Cape in 1820, p. 195.
their offspring, the Carthaginians. The Greeks, in their Cretan and other isles of the Cyclades and Egean sea, were the next nation which was formed to have the maritime propensity : and these soon spread their territorial settlements, till they became extensive colonizers on the Bosphorus and Hellespont above them; and in no long time, also in lower Italy, and Sicily, and France. To these, in due time, the Romans succeeded, though with less activity, and with but little taste for commercial navigation.
But when his new plans for the improvement of our Europe began to open, then several of its countries were induced, by the stimulus and necessities resulting from the Crusades, to cultivate their shipping, and to attempt distant voyages. The Hanse Towns, Italians, Flemings, and, in time, our English forefathers, were actuated by these impulses; yet always restrained and governed as the purposes of the Great Ruler required.
But when the time arrived for his causing the remoter nations of the earth to become known to us, we know historically, that of all the states of Europe bending their attention to maritime concerns, it was the Portuguese who were selected to pass the Cape of Good Hope, and discover the ocean passages to India and China ; as it was the Spanish nation who, in like manner, were urged and conducted to make the Americas known to the civilized world, and to begin our relations with them.
The Dutch were then made the next most distinguished people for these distant navigations in the Asiatic seas; as England became also on the Atlantic, for the purposes of planting a new race of mankind of her national species on the shores of North America. Thus the ocean was made the peculiar means in the hands of Providence of keeping away from both Eastern Asia and the Americas, those nations whom it did not choose to plant there, or to have frequent intercourse with them; and of leading over it to them, such as it was its will and suited its designs should have the dealings and settlements from which others were withheld. At present, the British nations have been raised to the colonial and governmental ascendency in India, Australia, Polynesia, South and West Africa, and in the eastern frontiers of North America; while the populations of the Spanish race are permitted to occupy and retain the South
American continent; every one moved as the Great Director meant and led, and all fulfilling his wise and prospective purposes, and advancing his grand ulterior ends.
Intended Separation of Mankind into Distinct Nations and Commu
nities- Adaptation of the Earth to this Appointed Condition in its various Regions and Countries—The Surface gradually fitted to this Local Geography.
My dear Son, The state of the human race, from the time that any notices of their transactions appear, has never been that of one united community or empire. They have always appeared divided into many insulated populations, living apart from each other, and remaining in distinct and separate tribes or nations; most of them unknown to the others, and usually hostile to each other, or ever ready to be so, from alarm, suspicion, or provocation. This is the historical fact, and from its occurrence and continuation, we can have no difficulty in marking it as a part of the divine plan as to human nature, that mankind should be thus divided ; should multiply in separated populations ; should rarely unite and amalgamate ; and that, by this arrangement, each should grow up into those peculiar species and modifications of moral and intellectual being which they severally display ; and that the maintenance of their distinguishing particularities should be assisted by their mutual fears, jealousies, or dislikes.
What the actual events thus exhibit in certainty to us, the Mosaic history accounts for ; presents the origin of it to our view, and ascribes it to the same cause to which our reason refers it—the divine determination. It was the special will and appointment of God, that such should be the state of human kind after the deluge; and it is noted to have begun about a century after the subsiding of the watery agitations.
That such a partition would not at first be chosen by the subsisting population, but would be resisted by it, we may from our own feelings assume. Like our sheep and cattle, and many other classes of birds, fish, and quadrupeds, and
even insects, man is an aggregating creature. Before savage habits and evil passions disunite us into mistrust or hostility, our race loves and seeks to associate together. The natural feelings, by invisible tendrils, intwine and attach us into social union ; fear as well as mutual sympathy inclines us to it; and the affinity which the renewed population, as springing from one patriarch, had with each other, would concur with the moral sensibilities of their nature, to produce and perpetuate this effect, which at last cements all into such national cohesions and similarities that only external violence has been found of sufficient power, when once formed, to dissolve them.
This sentimental tendency must have been strongly augmented by the political considerations of those who were born into human life after the deluge. Awe, and fear, and wonder, and long-continuing alarm would be in every bosom for a considerable time after the catastrophe, which could not but be, for many generations, the predominant subject of their thoughts and conversation. They would feel more safe from calamity by congregating together. They would dread new and unknown regions. They would be afraid to separate, lest disaster should attend them. They would hardly know where to be safe ; and therefore the historical fact which the Hebrew Genesis announces to us is quite natural, that they should resolve to live together as one people, and should found a city for their residence and social aggregation, that they might not separate. It is equally probable that in order to protect themselves from a recurrence of overwhelming waters, they should think of forming lofty edifices, in whose upper portions they might find a refuge against such inundations as might rush upon the level plains.* The level of fifteen cubits might have seemed surmountable by human ingenuity
But this determination to adhere together as one nation, and to become distinguished by remaining such, and thereby becoming in time a multitudinous and mighty population, was in direct opposition to the design of their Creator, in that part of the plan of human nature which was now to be carried into execution. This required that mankind should not grow up into one dense population, or be massed and con
* Genesis xi. 3, 4.
fined into one vast empire, living in a few overcrowded cities, and thereby occupying a very small portion of the earth. It was not suited to the improvement of human nature, that one uniform system of habits, and manners, and pursuits should pervade all the human race. It was not for the advantage of mankind that there should be only a Chinese form of human nature in the world. It was, therefore, the settled determination of the Creator, that as soon as the renewed population became numerous enough to be divided, they should be disparted and moved into distinct and separated portions, which should be scattered and placed at a• distance from each other, and, in these different locations, should gradually be formed into many varieties of mind, manners,
and occupations, and be kept aloof from each other until these diversities were secured and established ; and afterward should only have that sort of intercourse and relations with each other which the appointed economy of human affairs should make expedient for the accomplishment of the purposes of the divine government.
The united population resisted this intention, and pursued their own schemes to prevent the ordained division and dislocation; and nothing less than a superhuman interposition could have effectuated the separation. But when this was resolved upon, the mode chosen for realizing the divine purpose was one of simple, sagacious, and irresistible operation.
Nothing unites associating mankind more naturally and more cordially than a similarity of language. It creates a social relationship wherever it exists; and the new race
had continued, after the deluge, with this interesting and effective band of intellectual kinship.* It was therefore to this that the divine agency was directed. This mental chain of social alliance was broken up. A supernatural operation on their vocal organs and memorial associations, separating the sounds of their utterance from their sensorial ideas, so far as to confound this connexion, and to make certain portions unintelligible to the other, was put into action. † The confusing effect was instantaneous, and the consequences de
* " And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech ;" or, as the Hebrew literally is, " of one lip and of the same words.”— Genesis xi. 1.
† “Let us go down and confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech."--Gen. xi. 7.