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the Apostles, he would there have found it stated upon authority that he would not, I presume, question, that whilst it was the purpose and prediction of God, that Christ should die, it was, notwithstanding, sin and criminality in the Jews, to put him to death. St. Peter, speaking to the Jews, said, “Jesus of Nazareth, being delivered by the determinate counsel” — there is God's purpose—“and foreknowledge of God” — there is God's prophecy — “ye have taken, and with wicked hands have crucified and slain.” So that while it was matter of purpose and matter of prophecy, it is asserted at the same time by Peter—and if we read Peter's addresses at the commencement of the Acts, we shall find the distinction more than once — that it was not the less sinful of the Jews, because they executed the prophecy of God. So Cyrus was God's battle-axe, to do God's work, yet he was sinful nevertheless. Nebuchadnezzar fulfilled God's prophecy, and yet Nebuchadnezzar's sin was not the less. We must distinguish between a prophecy and a precept; it is our business to obey the precepts; it is God's prerogative to look after the fulfilment of his own prophecies. Never should we venture to quote a prophecy as justifying an act of ours. We are stepping into God's province when we try to fulfil prophecies; it is ours to obey his precepts, because they are the prescriptions of God himself. Whatever, then, may be the nature and effects of the ancient prediction uttered by Noah, and however fully these have been realized in the lapse of years, and however necessary that all should be fulfilled, we are not to conclude that our fulfilling it exempts us from the crime that cleaves to those who make man a property of man; and treat the creature, made in the image of God, as if he were one of the beasts of the field. I have looked at the fulfilment of the prophecy in reference to Canaan; let us now see it in relation to Shem. We know from the 10th chapter of Genesis, that the Jews and Asiatics are the descendants of Shem — about this there is no dispute whatever, amongst those who have written upon ethnography, or watched and traced the origin and descent of nations. It is said, “ISlessed be the God of Shem.” That implies that Shem should have God for his covenant God. The first promise made to Abraham was, “I am thy God; and I will be a God unto thy seed.” We may trace in the constant allusion to God as the covenant God of the Jews, echoing along the centuries the first prophecy that was issued by Noah respecting Shem, and the God of Shem. Hence, from the altar of the Jew alone, amidst the nations of the earth, there ascended pure incense; from the lips of the Jew, amidst the mass of nations around, there issued true praise; and only amid the nation of the Jews was there exhibited and developed that sublime and lofty humility of heart, that earnest and pure consistency of character, which indicated the presence of the God of Shem, and the special benediction of the Lord God of Israel. Let me notice also the prediction respecting Japheth, and see how far it has been fulfilled. But here there is a difficulty in the application of the word “he.” “God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem.” Some think that he there relates to God, and that it means God shall dwell in the tents of Shem ; others think, and with greater propriety, that it relates to Japheth, and that it states that Japheth shall dwell in the tents of Shem. But it is remarkable enough, that in whatever light we take it, it has been strictly fulfilled. Does it mean that God shall dwell in the tents of Shem P then let us recollect the words of God, for it is said, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us.” The literal translation of it is, He shall be the “Shechinah’’ in the midst of Shem. The word “Shechinah” is derived from the Hebrew word “To dwell; ” it therefore means that God shall have his temple, his residence, his altar, his dwelling-place, in the tents of Shem; or, in other words, that the Word shall be made flesh, and dwell in the midst of us. But if it means that Japheth shall dwell in the tents of Shem, then it implies, first, that the great blessings of the Jews, the descendants of Shem, shall be shared by the Gentiles or the Europeans, the descendants of Japheth; and that Japheth dwelling in the tents of Shem, or the Gentiles admitted to the same grand privilege as the Jew, shall be one of the blessed characteristics of the latter day. And it is plainly with some such view as this, or rather, with this prophecy clearly before him, that Isaiah proclaims, with reference to the admission of the Gentiles, addressing the Jews, “Enlarge the place of thy tent, stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations; spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left, and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited : ” he evidently alludes to the prediction that Japheth, or the Gentiles, shall yet dwell in, or share the privileges of, the descendants of Shem, or the Jews. The prediction added to this, that God shall enlarge Japheth, has been most strikingly fulfilled in the history of nations to this time. Which of the three nations has been most enlarged? Every attempt made by the Saracen or the Turk, by the African or the Asiatic, to take the land of Japheth, has signally failed; but on the other hand, we find that every effort made by the descendants of Japheth, that is, the European race, and the crown and the flower of it, the Saxon portion of it, has been followed by wide spread and triumphant success. We can quote America as a specimen of God enlarging the dwelling of Japheth. We can point to our countrymen in Palestine, to thousands penetrating Africa, and tens of thousands finding settlements amid all the great rivers of Asia, as proofs that God still enlarges Japheth, and spreads that great and powerful section of the human family from sea to sea, and from the river even to the very ends of the earth. It is remarkable also that we hear, in this day, our newspapers and our statesmen continually speak of the indomitable energy of the Saxon race, and of the destiny of the world to be peopled and subdued by them. This is just the unconscious attestation of statesmen, philosophers, and literary men, to the fulfilment of the prophecy, “God shall enlarge Japheth; ” and, quite as remarkable, nations seem to flourish precisely—if you will allow the expression — in proportion as the Saxon element is in them, apart from the depressing influence of Romanism, and the elevating power of Protestant Christianity. Looking to Ireland, let us ask, which is the expanding race, the Saxon, or the Celtic? Who are the depressed race there, who have recourse to emigration as their only means of escape from utter destruction ? The race that are, as it can be proved, the descendants of Ham, or the Milesian race; for the present Irish language is actually a dialect of the Punic or Carthaginian language spoken in the days of Hannibal. At all events, it is so like it, that it would appear, from inscriptions on ancient monuments, to be an offshoot from it. Now whilst it is quite true, that Protestantism elevates a nation, and Popery degrades it, there seems something in the Saxon character powerful, indomitable, expansive; and there seems something in the African character, wherever its blood even mingles, or still more predominates, that leads to degeneracy, weakness, and almost ruin. What is this, but the 19th century proclaiming by its facts, that the prophecy which was uttered 4,000 years ago is true; and that thy word, O God, is truth?
I might show at far greater length, but what I have said is sufficient to prove the fulfilment of this ancient prophecy, that Canaan shall be a servant of servants unto his brethren; that Shem shall be blessed in the knowledge and enjoyment of the true God; and that Japheth shall dwell in the tents of Shem, that is, be participator in Shem's privileges, or, as some think that dwelling in tents is connected with enlargement, it may mean taking possession of the country of Shem. Let us look to the East—who are the lords of India? In whose hands is it at this moment? In the hands of the descendants of Japheth. How striking it is to see this ancient prophecy fulfilled before our eyes | How strange, after proof on proof, that any man should doubt that Moses wrote as he was inspired by the Holy Spirit of God!
One or two short lessons are suggested. We see from ancient prophecy, thus carried into fulfilment by God, that his word shall cleave its way to its own accomplishment, in spite of all obstructions, and in the face of every difficulty. Man thinks he is acting for himself, whilst unconsciously he is but the instrument in the hand of God. God has sketched the patriarchal cartoon, and man is rushing, in all ages, with all his might, to fill it up. God has predicted what shall be, and man unconsciously is doing what God has said must be. The accidents of time are the inspirations of God; the deeds of man are the fulfilment of the prophecies of God.
There is much of sovereignty in all that God does. Why curse Canaan 2 why bless Shem 2 why enlarge Japheth? These are some of the “whys” that we often ask, and to which we can get no answer. We have less of originating power than we suppose; God reigns. “Thou hast hid these things, O Father, from the wise and prudent; and thou hast revealed them unto babes.” Why this was