Page images
PDF
EPUB

A. M. 1636. A. C. 2319; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 2256. A. C. 3155. GEN. CH. vi. 12. To ix. 20. pleted the whole. Whereupon God gave him instructions things return to their primitive chaos. c The cataracts that he should take into the ark overy living thing of all of heaven were opened, the abyss of waters, in the cenflesh, both cattle, and beasts of the field, birds and fowls tre of the earth poured out, and the sea, forgetting its of the air, and reptiles of all kinds ; e of the unclean, bounds, overspread the earth with a dreadful inundation.

one pair only

, but of the clean seven pair ; that when Too late does wretched man perceive the approach of

[ocr errors]

the general desolation was over, they might increase his deserved fate ; and in vain does he find out means again, and replenish the earth ; and that when every for his preservation. The tops of the hills, the tallest thing was thus settled and disposed of, himself and his trees, the strongest towers, and the loftiest mountains, family should likewise go into the ark, and take up their can give him no relief: it is but a small reprieve at apartments.

most that they can yield him; for as the waters swell, Pursuant to these directions, Noah and his family went and the waves come rushing on, hills, trees, towers, into the ark, leaving the rest of the world in their security mountains, and every little refuge, must disappear with and sensuality, in the 600th year of his age, much about him. Noah himself cannot help him. Though he might the middle of September; when in a few days after,' the now remember his predictions, and so flee to him for whole face of nature began to put on a dismal aspect, as succour, yet God has shut the door of the ark, and it if the earth were to suffer a final dissolution, and all cannot be opened ; * and so it shall be to every one, at

the last great day, who shall not be found in Christ, the

only ark of our salvation. · Howell's Complete History.

For forty days and nights together, without the least implicit faith, both in the divine threatenings and promises: for intermission, did the clouds continue raining ; when at his eldest son, Japheth, (Gen. x. 21.) was not born till twenty length the ark began to float, and to move from place to years after, in the 500th year of his age, (Gen, v. 32.); and his second, Shem, two years after, (Gen. xi. 10.) Such is the apostle place as the waves drove it. And though there might be Paul's description— By faith, Noah, having been instructed some short cessations afterwards, yet at certain intervals, by the divine oracle, concerning things not yet seen, (the ensuing the rain continued falling, and the waters swelling, deluge, &c.) moved with fear, prepared an ark, for the saving of till in process of time, the flood began to cover the his house,' or future family, (Heb. xi. 7.)–Ed. In what place Noah built and finished his ark, is no less made a matter of dis- mountains, and, by a gradual increase, came at last to putation. One supposes that he built it in Palestine, and planted the cedars whereof he made it in the plains of Sodom: another takes it to have been built near Mount Caucasus, on the confines of * Millar's History of the Church; Patrick's Commentary; and India: and a third in China, where he imagines Noah dwelt before Poole's Annotations. the flood. But the most probable opinion is, that it was built in part of November, a little after that Noah had gathered in the Chaldea, in the territories of Babylon, where there was so great a fruits of the earth, and laid them up in the ark: so that the flood quantity of cypress in the groves and gardens, in Alexander's

came in with the winter, and was by degrees dried up in the foltime, that that prince built a whole fleet out of it, for want of

lowing summer. And this opinion seems to be more probable, other timber. And this conjecture is confirmed by the Chal- because the most ancient, and first beginning of the year, was in dean tradition, which makes Xisuthrus (another name for Noah) September; and the other beginning of the year in March, was set sail from that country.-See Universal History, b. 1. c. 1. but a later institution among the Jews; with respect to their

a The distinction between beasts that were clean and unclean, festivals and other sacred aflairs, which are not at all concerned being made by the law, has given some a colour to imagine, here.- Poole's Annotations. Dr Hales, however, is of opinion, that Moses wrote this book after his coming out of Egypt, and and from the evidence he has adduced, it seems correctly, that receiving the law, but to this it may be answered, that though, the deluge began in spring, and that the second month was reckwith respect to man's food, the distinction of clean and unclean, oned by the sacred year, which began about the vernal equinox: was not before the law, yet some were accounted fit for sacri- and as Noah was a year and ten days in the ark, himself, family, fices, and others unfit, from the very first beginning; and then and the animals would leave it at the beginning of May, the unclean beasts, in this place, must denote such as are rapacious season most suited for the enjoyment of animal life, and before which were not to be offered to God. In short, since the rite winter, ample provision would be produced for their support, the of sacrificing was before the flood, we may very well be allowed heat also would have so dried the moisture from the earth as to to suppose that this distinction was also before it: and to sup- make it a healthy and comfortable residence.—See Hales' Anal., pose farther, that as the rite was undoubtedly of God's institution, vol, 1. 322–332.-ED. so the difference of clean and unclean creatures to be sacrificed,

c Ovid, who is supposed to have extracted most of the bewas of his appointment likewise. But there is a farther doubt ginning of his Metamorphoses out of the sacred records, has arising from this passage, and that is—whether there went into described both the induction and retreat of the waters in a manthe ark but seven of every clean, and two of every unclean spe

ner very conformable to the original, from whence he had them. cies, or fourteen of the first, and two of the last. Some adhere Their induction thus:to the former exposition, but others to the latter, which seems to be the natural sense of the Hebrew words, seven and seven,

The south wind quick on moistened wings darts forth,

Its fearful face in pitchy darkness shaded ; two and two. Besides, if there were but seven of the clean beasts,

And as its mighty arm the hanging clouds oppressid, one must have been without a mate; and if it be suggested, that

A crash is made ; dense rains rush down from heaven. the odd one was for sacrifice, it is more than Moses tells us, The Ocean-king his trident poised and struck the earth, who, on the contrary, repeats it, that the animals all went in by Which trembled and laid bare the waters' gulfs. pairs.- Patrick's Commentary; Puole's Annotations; and Uni

The rivers boundless rush along the plains ; versal History, c. 1.

And 'long with crops drag trees, and kine, and men, 6 The words in the text are, In the second month; but, for

And hallowed domes, and shrines, and sacred things. the better understanding of this, we must remember, that the Their retreat thus :year among the Hebrews, was of two kinds; the one ecclesias- The clouds he struck, and rains drove to the north, iical, which began in March, and chiefly regarded the observa- When earth to heaven was shown and heaven to earth; tion of their fasts and festivals, of which we read Exod. xii. 2.

The sleepless ocean now can boast a shore, and the other civil, for the better regulating of men's political

The channel too contains its brimming streams,

The foods are lulled, the hills seein to arise, affairs, which began in September. Accordingly the second

The ground appears, and with the waves' decrease month is thought by some to be part of April, and part of May,

All parts increase, when now, the long day done, the most pleasant part of the year, and when the flood was least

The hidden trees their naked tops present, expected, and least feared; but by others part of Oct her, and And on their branches bear the clatomy clay.

and

A. M. 1656. A. C. 2319; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 2256. A. C. 3155. GEN. CH. vi. 12. TO ix. 20. raise its surface fifteen cubits (above twenty-two feet of 1 sent her forth again; and she, in the evening, brought our measure) higher than the tops of the highest of them. in her mouth an olive branch, the emblem of peace, and

In this elevation the flood continued until the latter a token to Noah that the waters were abated much. end of March : when, as one friend is apt to remember Whereupon he waited seven days more, and then let her another in distress, (the Scripture here speaks in the fly the third time; but she finding the waters gone, and style of men, so God,) reflecting upon Noah, and the the earth dry, returned no more ; so that he was now poor remains of his creation, floating in the ark, caused thinking of uncovering the roof, and going out of the a drying north wind to arise, the foodgates of heaven ark himself; but having a pious regard to the divine to be stopped, and the eruption of the waters out of the providence and direction in all things, he waited 55 womb of the earth to cease; by which means the deluge days longer, and then received orders from God for began to abate, and the waters subside, so that in a short him and his family to quit the vessel, but to take care at time, the ark, which must have drawn great depth of the same time that every other creature should be brought water, stuck on a mountain, named Ararat, and there forth with him. rested; and not long after the tops of other mountains Thus ended Noah's long and melancholy confinebegan to appear.

ment; which, by a due computation from the time of This happened in the beginning of May, when the his going into the ark, to that of his coming out, was summer was coming on apace : but Noah, wisely con- exactly the space of a solar year. sidering, that although the mountains were bare, the valleys might still be overflowed, waited forty days longer before he attempted any farther discovery; and then * opening the window, he let go a raven, as sup- CHAP. II.--Difficulties Obviated, and Ohjections posing that the smell of dead bodies would allure him

Answered. to fly a good distance from the vessel ; but the experiment did not do; the raven, after several unsuccessful How many wise ends the providence of God might have flights, finding nothing but water, returned to the ark in bringing this destruction upon the earth, it is imposagain. Seven days after this, he let fly a dove, a bird sible for us to find out: but even supposing that he had of a strong pinion, and, from the remotest places always but this one, namely, to rid himself of a generation that acrustomed to come home, and therefore proper to make was become profligate, and past all hopes of amendfarther discoveries. But she finding nothing but water ment; yet the number of mankind, which, before the likewise, immediately returned to the ark, and was taken in. After this he waited seven days more, and then 6 Mr Basnage (in his Jewish Antiquities, vol. 2. p. 299.) has

given us the calendar of this melancholy year of Noah's confine

ment. a It is very observable, that the words which we render

The Year of the World's Creation, 1656. window' in vi. 16., and viii. 6. of Genesis, are far from being I. September. Methuselah died at the age of 969 years. the same: in the former place, the word is zohar, (the nature of II. October, Noah and his family entered the ark. Fluch we shall have a proper occasion to explain) in the latter, III. November the 17th. “The fountains of the great deep it is khalom, which signifies indeed an oval hole' or window' were broken open.' in any building, but here is a window of a peculiar denomination. IV. December the 26th. The rain began, and continued That it was customary among the Jews to have a room in the forty days and forty nights. copper part of their houses set apart for divine worship, in Hebrew V. January. All the men and beasts that were upon the azed Beth-alijah, or simply alijah, in Greek útiãgor, and in earth were buried under the waters. Latin oratorium; and that, in this place of prayer, there was VI. February. The rain continued. aways an khalon, an hole or window, which pointed to the VII. March. The waters remained in their elevation till the builds, or place whereunto they directed their worship, is evident 27th, when they began to abate. from several passages in Scripture. Among the Jewish consti- VIII. April the 17th. The ark rested on Mount Ararat. tutions, in the code, called Beracoth, there is a certain canon 18. May. They did nothing while the waters were retreatfounded upon this custom, namely, “That no man shall pray, ing. but in a room where there is an hhalon opening towards the holy X. June the 1st. The tops of the mountains appeared. rity:' and of Daniel it is particularly related, that when he knew XI. July the 11th. Noah let go a raven, which (as Basnage that the decree for his destruction was signed, ‘he went into thinks) returned to him no more. the house, and his' hhalon, his window being open in his The 18th. He let go a dove, which returned. elamies towards Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three The 25th. He let go the dove again, which returned times a day, as he did aforetime,' Dan. vi. 10, for that this was with an olive branch. 1:44 a common window, but one dedicated to religious worship, XII, August the 2d. The dove went out the third time, and is plain from the people's discerning, by its being open, that he returned no more. 1823 at prayers. Nor is it improbable that this window might I. September the 1st. The dry land appeared. bave some visible sign, either of the name of God, or of the holy II, October the 27th. Noah went out of the ark with his city, or of the sanctuary, or the like, inscribed on it; because it family. During this Jong continuance in the ark, the form of ki a constant tradition, that these oratories or rooms for prayer prayer, which some oriental writers make Noah to have offered were always so made as to have their angles answer to such cer- unto God, runs in this manner: “O Lord, thou art truly great, tain points of the heaven, and to have the mark of adoration so and there is nothing so great as that it can be compared to thee; evidently distinguished, that none might mistake it, if they cast Ivok upon us with an eye of mercy, and deliver us from the fit their eye upon the wall. Now, as the practice among the deluge of waters. I entreat this of thee for the love of Adam, Jews of worshipping in upper rooms, with their faces towards a thy first man; for the love of Abel, thy saint ; for the nghteousbole er window in the wall, was never introduced by any positive ness of Seth, whom thou hast loved. Let us not be reckoned in law, and yet universally prevailed, it is reasonable to believe, the number of those, who have disobeyed thy commandments ; that at first it was derived from Noah, and that the windows in but still extend thy merciful care to us, because thou hast hitherto their oratories were made in imitation of this hhalon, or point of been our deliverer, and all thy creatures shall declare thy praise, ahoration in the ark.-Bibliotheca Biblica, vol. 2.; Occasional - Amen.”—Calmet's Dictionary on the words Deluge and Armutations in the Appendix.

Noah.

K

A. M. 1656. A. C. 2349; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 2256. A. C. 3155. GEN. CH. vi. 12. TO ix. 20. flood, was vastly superior to what the present earth per- the antediluvians only multiplied as fast before, as it is haps is capable of sustaining, caused every place to be certain the Israelites did since the flood, the number of inhabited, and that none might escape the avenging mankind actually alive and existing at the deluge must hand, caused every place to be overflowed. And in- have been not only more than what the present earth deed, if we consider the longevity of the first inhabitants does contain, but prodigiously more than what the whole of the earth, and the pretty near equality of their ages number of mankind can be justly supposed, ever since (which seem to have been providentially designed for the deluge; nay indeed, with any degree of likelihood, the quick propagation of mankind) we shall soon per- ever since the first creation of the world. Upon which ceive, that, in the space of 1600 years, mankind would account, though this calculation must not at all be become so numerous, that the chief difficulty would be esteemed real, or to exhibit in any measure the just where we should find countries to receive them. For if, number of the posterity of Adam alive at the time of the in the space of about 266 years (as the sacred history deluge, yet it certainly shows us how vastly numerous acquaints us) the posterity of Jacob, by his sons only, (according to the regular method of human propagation) (without the consideration of Dinah his daughter) the offspring of one single person may be ; how plentiamounted to 600,000 males above the age of twenty, all fully each quarter of the world must then have been able to bear arms, what increase may not be expected stocked with inhabitants; and that consequently, to from a race of patriarchs, living six, seven, eight, or nine destroy its inhabitants, the inundation must have fallen hundred years apiece, and some to the 500th year of their upon every quarter, and encompassed the whole globe. lives begetting sons and daughters. For, 'if we sup- And accordingly, if we take the circuit of the globe, pose the increase of the children of Israel to have been and inquire of the inhabitants of every climate, we shall gradual, and proportionate through the whole 266 years, find, 2 that the fame of this deluge is gone through the it will appear, that they doubled themselves every four- earth, and that in every part of the known world there teen years at least; and if we should continue the like are certain records or traditions of it; that the Ameriproportion through the entfre 114 periods (which the cans acknowledge, and speak of it in their continent; space from the creation to the deluge admits) the product, that the Chinese (who are the most distant people in or number of people on the face of the earth at the deluge, Asia) have the tradition of it; b that the several nations would at least be the 100th in a geometric double pro- of Africa tell various stories concerning it; and that, in portion, or series of numbers, two, four, eight, sixteen, the European parts, the flood of Deucalion is the same &c., where every succeeding one is double to that before with that of Noah, only related with some disguise. So it: and to bow an immense sum this proportion would that we may trace the deluge quite round the globe, and arise, “ those who know any thing of the nature of geo-(what is more remarkable still) every one of these peometric progressions, will soon perceive. So that had ple have a tale to tell, some one way, some another,

concerning the restoration of mankind, which is a full "Whiston's Theory of the Earth, b. 3. c. 3.

proof that they thought all mankind were once destroyed

in that deluge. a The ingenious Dr Burnet (in his Theory of the Earth, b. 1.) has computed the multiplication of mankind in this method. “ If we allow the first couple,” says he, “at the end of 100 years,

Burnet's Theory. or of the first century, to have left ten pair of breeders (which according to the computation of the Septuagint version and of is no hard supposition) there would arise from these, in 1500

the annals of Josephus, the same law regulated the generations years, a greater number than the earth was capable of containing, of mankind before and after the flood. It was chiefly this conallowing every pair to multiply in the same decuple proportion, sideration that influenced Eusebius to prefer the computation of that the first pair did. But, because this would rise far beyond the Septuagint version to that of the Hebrew text: and it is one the capacity of the earth, let us suppose them to increase, in the of the many cogent reasons which induced Dr Hales to reject following centuries, in a quintuple proportion only, or, if you the Hebrew chronology as it appears in the present text of the will, only in a quadruple, and then the table of the multiplica- Masorites. tion of mankind, from the creation to the flood, would stand

“ Dividing human life,” says this learned author, “ into three thus:

periods, it appears from observation and experience, that the Century 1-10 Century 9-655360

generative powers continue in full vigour during the second 2440

10-2621440

period. - It is not probable, therefore, that the age of puberty 3-160

11-10485760

among the antediluvians, who lived to 900 years and upwards, 4-640

12-41943040

began sooner than at the age of 160 or 170 years, corresponding 5—2560

13_167772160

to 14 or 15 years at present.” If, as is probable, there was 6-10240

14-671088640

likewise a longer period, in that age, between the births of chil7-40960

15- 2684354560

dren in the same family than is common in the present con8–163840

16-10737418240 tracted span of human life, though the earth might have been This product is excessively too high, if compared with the present fully peopled before the deluge, there would be no danger of its number of men upon the face of the earth, which I think is com- being overstocked with inhabitants, as it must have been, accordmonly estimated to between three and four hundred millions; | ing to the calculations of our author, and Dr Burnet from the and yet this proportion of their increase seems to be low enough, present Hebrew genealogies.- Bishop Gleig's edition. if ve take one proportion for all the centuries. For though in 6 The Hindoo mythology is in a great measure founded on it; reality the same measure cannot run equally through all the and it is the commencement of their present era or caliyug. Sir ages, yet we have taken this as moderate and reasonable between William Jones says expressly that, in Hindoo mythology, “the the highest and the lowest; but if we had only taken a triple three first avatars, or descents of Veeshnu, relate to an universal proportin, it would have been sufficient (all things considered) deluge, in which only eight persons were saved.”—See Works of for our purpose. These calculations, however, are founded on Sir W. Jones, vol. 1. p. 29. 4to, 1799. the Hebrew computation, which represents the patriarchs before c For the truth of all this, see Bryant's Mythology, Maurice's the flood as having children at an age by much too early. All Indian Antiquities, and Howard's Thoughts on the Structure of animals whose lives are of long duration appear not to arrive at the Globe. On the whole controversy concerning the deluge, puberty till an age of proportional length; something similar or nothing superior to this last work or more satisfactory is to be at least analogous is observable in the vegetable kingdom; and I found in any language.

[ocr errors]

с

2

A. M 1656. A. C. 2349; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A, M. 2256. A. C. 3155. GEN. CH. vi. 12. TO ix, 20. Nay, instead of the surrounding globe, we need only | Noah might, after the deluge, have furnished himself turn aside the surface a little, and look into the bowels from other places, which this desolation had not reached ; of the earth, and we shall find arguments enough for our and as for the birds, they, without much difficulty, might conviction. For the beds of shells which are often have flown to the next dry country, perching upon trees, found on the tops of the highest mountains, and the or the tops of mountains, by the way, to rest themselves petrified bones and teeth of fishes which are dug up if they were tired, because the waters did not prevail some hundreds of miles from the sea, are the clearest | upon the earth all on a sudden, but swelled by degrees evidences in the world, that the waters have, some time i to their determinate height. or other, overflowed the highest parts of the earth ; nor Now, if the swelling of these waters to a height, supecan it, with any colour of reason, be asserted, that these rior to that of the loftiest mountains, was only topical, subterraneous bodies are only the mimickry or mock we cannot but allow, that unless there was a miracle to productions of nature, for that they are real shells, the keep them up on heaps, they would certainly flow all nicest examination both of the eye and microscope does over the earth; because these mountains are certainly evince, and that they are true bones, may be proved by high enough to have made them fall every way, and join burning them, which (as it does other bones) turns them with the seas, which environ the earth. All liquid bodies, first into a coal, and afterwards into a calx.

we know, are diffusive : their parts being in motion, These considerations bid fair for the universality of have no tie or connexion one with another, but glide, the deluge ; but then, if we take in the testimony of and fall off any way, as gravity and the air press them; Scripture, this puts the matter past all doubt. For and therefore, when the waters began to arise at first, long when we read, that, by reason of the deluge, "every before they could swell to the height of the hills, they living substance was destroyed, which was upon the face would diffuse themselves every way, and thereupon all of the ground, both man and cattle, and the creeping the valleys and plains, and the lower parts of the earth, things, and the fowl of the heaven;' that during the deluge, would be filled all the globe over, before they could s'the waters exceedingly prevailed, and all the high rise to the tops of the mountains in any part of it. So bills that were under the whole heavens were covered ;' vain and unphilosophical is the opinion of those, who, and that, when the deluge was over, God made a cove- to evade the difficulty of the question, would fain limit nant with Noah, that there should be no more a flood or restrain the deluge to a particular country, or counto destroy the earth, and to cut off all flesh ;' we cannot tries. For if we admit it be universal, say they, but conclude, that every creature under heaven, except where shall we find a sufficient quantity of water to what was preserved in the ark, was swept away in the cover the face of the earth, to the height that Moses general devastation,

mentions? And, indeed, unless this devastation was general, we Some indeed have thought it the best and most comcan hardly conceive what necessity there was for any pendious way, to call in the arm of omnipotence at ark at all. *Noah and his family might have retired once, and to affirm, That God created waters on purpose into some neighbouring country, as Lot and his family to make the deluge, and then annihilated them again, saved themselves by withdrawing from Sodom, when that when the deluge was to cease. But our business is not city was to be destroyed. This had been a much better here to inquire what God could work by his almighty expedient, and might have been done with much more power ; but to account for this event, in the best manner ease, than the great preparations he was ordered to we can, from natural causes. Moses, it is plain, has make, of a large vessel, with stalls and apartments for ascribed it to natural causes, the continued rains for the reception of beasts and birds. Beasts might have forty days, and the disruption of the great abyss; and possibly saved themselves by flight; but if they did not, the manner of its gradual increase and decrease, wherein

he has represented it, is far from agreeing with the 'Gen, vii. 23. * Gen. vii, 19. 3 Gen. ix. 11.

instantaneous actions of creation and annihilation. * Burnet's Theory, b. 1.

Others, instead of a creation, have supposed a trans« A leaned author, who has lately undertaken an examination mutation of element, namely, either a condensation of of revelation, has enforced this argument with a good deal of life the air, or a rarefaction of the waters; but neither of and spirit. “Whereas Moses assures us,” says he, “ thatthe these expedients will do: for, besides that air is a body waters prevailed fifteen cubits above the highest mountains,' let of a diferent species, and (as far as we know) cannot, lle mountains themselves be appealed to for the truth of this txertion. Examine the highest eminences of the earth, and by any compression or condensation, be changed into they all, with one accord, produce the spoils of the ocean, depo water, even upon the supposition that all the air in the sited upon them on that occasion, the shells and skeletons of sea- atmosphere were in this manner condensed, it would not fist and sea-monsters of all kinds. The Alps, the Appenines, the produce a bed of water over all the earth, above 32 every region under heaven, from Japan to Mexico, all conspire, feet deep; because it appears, by undoubted experiiu care uniform, universal proof, that they all had the sea spread ment, that a column of air from the earth to the top of hver their highest summits. Search the earth, and you will find the atmosphere, does not weigh more than 32 feet of the moose-deer, natives of America, buried in Ireland; elewater: much less would the spirit of rarefaction answer plants, natives of Asia and Africa, buried in the midst of Eng- the purpose, ? because, if we suppose the waters but shellfish never known in any but the American seas, together fifteen times rarer than they naturally are, (as we most with entire skeletons of whales, in divers countries; and what is more, trees and plants of various kinds, which are not known to crow in any region under heaven. All which are a perfect

* Burnet's Theory, b. 1. c. 3. demonstration that Moses' account of the deluge is incontestably

Kircher on the Ark of Noah, b. 2. c. 4. true." —Part 1. Dissertation 2.

1 Burmui's Theory, and Le Clerc's Commentury.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

A. M. 1656. A. C. 2349; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 2256. A. C. 3155. GEN. CH. vi. 12. TO ix. 20. certainly do, to make them reach the tops of the was occasioned by the dissolution of the primeval earth ; highest mountains,) it will be difficult to conceive, the dissolution of the earth by the fermentation of the how they could either drown man or beast, keep alive enclosed waters; the fermentation of the waters by the the fish, or support the beavy bulk of the ark. The continued intense heat of the sun; and the great heat of truth is, Moses, in his account of the deluge, says not the sun, by the perpendicular position of the axis of the one word of the transmutation of elements : the forty earth to the plane of the ecliptic. But allowing the days' rain, and the disruption of the abyss, are the only position of the earth to be what he imagines, yet it causes which he assigns; and these, very likely, will seems difficult to conceive, how the heat of the sun should supply us with a sufficient quantity of water when other be so intense, as to cause great cracks in it, and so devices fail.

raise the waters in it into vapours; or how the waters, thus A very sagacious naturalist, observing, that at rarefied, should be of force sufficient to break through certain times, there are extraordinary pressures on the an arch of solid matter, lying upon them some hundred surface of the sea, which force the waters outwards miles thick. It is much more probable, that if the action upon the shores to a great height, does very reasonably of the sun was so strong, the abyss (which the theorist suppose, that the divine power might, at this time, by the makes the only storehouse of waters in the first earth) instrumentality of some natural agent, to us at present would have been almost quite exhausted, before the time unknown, so depress the surface of the ocean, as to force of the deluge: nor can we believe that this account up the water of the abyss through certain channels and of things is any way consonant to the Mosaic history, apertures, and so make them a partial and concurrent which describes a gradual rise and abatement, a long cause of the deluge. It cannot be denied, indeed, but continuance of the flood, and not such a sudden shock that the divine providence might, at the time of the and convulsion of nature, as the theorist intends, in deluge, so order and dispose second causes, as to make which, without the divine intervention, it was impossible then raise and impel the water to an height sufficient for the ark to be saved. to overflow the earth ; but then, because there must be * Another learned theorist endeavours to solve the another miracle required to suspend the waters upon the whole matter, and supply a sufficiency of water from the land, and to hinder them from running of' again into the trajection of a comet. For he supposes, “ That, in its sea, our author seems to give the preference to another descent towards the sum, it pressed very violently upon hypothesis, which, at the time of the deluge, supposes the earth, and by that means, both raised a great tide in the centre of the earth to have been changed, and set the sea, and forced up a vast quantity of subterraneous nearer to the centre or middle of our continent, where-waters; that, as it passed by, it involved the earth in its upon the Atlantic and Pacific oceans must needs press atmosphere for a considerable time ; and, as it went off, upon the subterraneous abyss, and so compel the water left a vast tract of its tail behind, which (together with to run out at those wide mouths, and apertures, which the waters, pressed from the sea, and from the great the divine power had made in breaking up the fountains abyss) was enough to cover the face of the whole earth, of the great deep. Thus the waters being poured out for the perpendicular height of three miles.” But (to upon the face of the earth, and its declivity changed by pass by smaller objections) that which seems to destroy the removal of the centre, they could not run down to his whole hypothesis is this—s That it is far from being the sea again, but must necessarily stagnate upon the clear, whether the atmosphere of a comet be a watery earth, and overflow it, till upon its return to its old substance or not. The observations of the most curious centre, they in like manner would retreat to their former inquirers make it very probable, that the circle about receptacles. But the misfortune of this hypothesis is, that besides the multitude of miracles required in it, it

3 Keil's Eramination of Burnet's Theory. * Mr Whiston. makes the deluge topical, and confined to our continent

5 Keil's Answer to Whiston's Theory; and Nicholls's Conferonly, whereas, according to the testimony of the Spirit

ence, vol. 1. of God in the Holy Scriptures, it was certainly universal. they began to be rarefied, and raised into vapours; which rare

? A very ingenious theorist seems to be of opinion faction made them require more space than they needed before, himself, and labours to persuade others, that the a deluge and finding themselves pent in by an exterior earth, they pressed

with violence against the arch to make it yield to their dilata

tion: and as the repeated action of the sun gave force to these 'Ray's Physico-Theological Discourse concerning the Deluge. enclosed vapours more and more, so, on the other hand, it 2 Dr Burnet.

weakened more and more the arch of the earth, that was to resist a To have a more perfect idea of the author's scheme, we them, sucking out the moisture that was the cement of its parts, must remember, that he conceives the first earth, from the and parching and chapping it in sumdry places; so that, there manner of its formation, to have been externally regular and being then no winter to close up its parts, it every day grew uniform, of a sniooth and even surface, without mountains, and more and more disposed to a dissolution, till at length, when without a sea; and that all the waters, belonging to it, were God's appointed time was come, the whole fabric broke; the enclosed within an upper crust, which formed a stupendous vault frame of earth was torn in pieces, as by an earthquake; and around them. This vast collection of waters he takes to have those great portions or fragments, into which it was parted, fell been the great deep, or abyss of Moses, and that the disruption down into the abyss, some in one posture, some in another. of it was the chief cause of the deluge. For he supposes, that the Thus the earth put on a new form, and became divided into earth being, for some hundreds of years, exposed to the continual sea, and land; the greatest part of the abyss constituting our heat of the sun, which, by reason of the perpendicular position, present ocean, and the rest filling up the cavities of the earth. which, as he imagines, the earth’s axis then had to the plane of Mountains and hills appeared on the land, islands in the sea, and the ecliptic, was very intense, and not allayed by the diversity rocks upon the shore, so that, at one shock, providence dissolved of seasons, which now keep our earth in an equality of temper; the old world, and made a new one out of its ruin. See the its exterior crust was, at length, very much dried, and when the Universal History, b. 1. c. 1. where this extract out of Burnet's heat had pierced the shell, and reached the waters beneath it, Theory is made.

« PreviousContinue »