Page:Aunt Phillis's Cabin.djvu/15

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13
PREFACE

filial act which is recorded, it is not to be supposed he had been a righteous man. Had he been one after God's own heart, he would not have been guilty of such a sin. What must that child be, who would openly dishonor and expose an erring parent, borne down with the weight of years, and honored by God as Noah had been! The very act of disrespect to Noah, the chosen of God, implies wilful contempt of God himself. Ham was not a young man either: he had not the excuse of the impetuosity of youth, nor its thoughtlessness—he was himself an old man; and there is every reason to believe he had led a life at variance with God's laws. When he committed so gross and violent a sin, it may be, that the curse of God, which had lain tranquil long, was roused and uttered against him: a curse not conditional, not implied—now, as then, a mandate of the Eternal.

Among the curses threatened by the Levites upon Mount Ebal, was the one found in the 16th verse of the 27th chapter of Deuteronomy: "Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother." By the law of Moses, this sin was punished with death: "Of the son which will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother," "all the men of his city shall stone him with stones that he die." (Deut. xxi. 21.) God in his wisdom instituted this severe law in early times; and it must convince us that there were reasons in the Divine mind for insisting on the ordinance exacting the most perfect submission and reverence to an earthly parent.

"When, after the deluge," says Josephus, "the earth was settled in its former condition, Noah set about its cultivation; and when he had planted it with vines, and when the fruit was ripe, and he had gathered the grapes in the season, and the wine was ready for use, he offered a sacrifice and feasted, and, being