Images de page
PDF
ePub

NOAH'S FIRST SACRIFICE.

THE flood having subsided, the holy family descended from the ark, which had rested on Mount Ararat, into the plain. All the inhabitants of the postdiluvian world are here at once presented before us. Eight souls composed the whole population of the earth, and we now behold them assembled to perform a solemn act of homage to that God who had protected them amid the late desolating visitation of his wrath. In grateful acknowledgment for the preservation of himself and family, "Noah builded an altar unto the Lord, and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar."* As in Abel's sacrifice, the smoke rises direct to heaven, a sign of God's acceptance. Noah stands before the sacrifice in an attitude of energetic devotion, whilst the other members of his family are seen in silent reverence around him. His wife appears on the right hand side of the altar, close to the patriarch, in a posture of deep humility, with her head bent upon her clasped hands as if unworthy to behold the solemn ratification of the covenant. Shem, the youngest son, kneels apart from the family group to mark his eminent distinction as the branch whence the Messiah was to spring, and as also significative of his own high personal qualities, being distinguished for his piety and filial behaviour. Japhet the elder, and Ham the second son, together with the wives of the brothers, form a single group behind the patriarch. The "token of the covenant" appears in the heavens to confirm the acceptance of Noah's sacrifice, and as a divine pledge to him and to his kindred that the world shall never again be overwhelmed by a deluge. The altar is raised upon the shore, beyond which the wide expanse of waters is visible, as if to remind the worshippers of the peril from which they had so lately escaped under the especial protection of Providence.

[ocr errors]
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][subsumed]

THE TOWER OF BABEL.

By this time the posterity of Noah had immensely augmented, and their presumption had encreased in proportion. All remembrance of the ravages caused by the deluge having subsided, the terrors of the Lord were no longer objects of dread. Cities began to rise from the plains, while man became vain of his power and arrogant in his imagined supremacy. "And they said, Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven, and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city."* The picture represents a city, with the tower behind it enveloped in clouds, through which the lightning streams, in token of God's wrath at the presumption of his creatures in attempting to exalt their own power and withdrawing their trust from Him who had preserved their fathers from the flood, and given them a pledge of his protection against a similar catastrophe. A sudden darkness overspreads the city, which is relieved by the intense glare of the lightning that bursts from the skies, giving a more vivid reality to the awful visitation. In the foreground are seen the vast furnaces in which the workmen were busily employed preparing their brick when their language was confounded so that they could not "understand one another's speech." The flames are magnified in the darkness, and appear to be at once a terror and a reproach to the presumptuous builders. Alarmed at the unexpected manifestation of God's anger, they are seen rushing from the upper part of the brick-kilns, terrified at the divine interposition, while beyond, on the right, an innumerable multitude is moving to and from the tower.

« PrécédentContinuer »