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but the history of all nations attests, that since the existing records of human transactions began, no second general deluge has ever taken place. We therefore run no risk of error in referring this stupendous incident to a 'supernatural cause, and that can only have been the will, and appointment, and exerted power of that Being, who alone can create and destroy; who would never suffer any agents to abolish what he meant to continue; by whose omnipotence either event is equally producible, but who never causes any thing to perish without adequate reasons, and for beneficial results.
Intelligence like that which has formed the universe amid which we are existing, employs its boundless power with as much wisdom and goodness when it alters, as when it constructs. We may therefore be certain that it effected this great revolution in its human world as an improvement in its condition; as an advancing stage of its grand process; for the benefit of those who were afterward to inhabit it; and as an assistant to the progression of human nature at large. As death, without any assignment of a fixed mode or time of dying, was made the law to all human life; the removal of the existing population by an overwhelming flood, was no other alteration of the previous course of things, than the causing all those to die at the same time, and at that particular time, who would have inevitably departed at some subsequent though varying periods. It brought no more death into the world than had been before attached to it. It only caused the individual termination to occur earlier to the existing race than would have happened without it. The Deity did not choose that the future generations of his human creatures should be the offspring of those who had become so contaminated by corruption and violence; and whose reproductions would have thereby been injurious to themselves and to human nature. He did not mean that such vices and crimes as had become general should be perpetuated, as the character and habit of the human order of beings; and therefore he terminated the population which had become so depraved. In their stead he began a new production of mankind, from a particular and single stem, selected out of the preexisting society for that purpose. He observed one family that was fit to be the new founders of a fresh series of human nature, consist. ing of one aged parent and three maturing sons. He preserved these, with their wives, in a spacious vessel, built under his direction, with such of the animal genera as he intended should spread again their species over the new surface that would be formed. The safety of these chosen survivers having been provided for, the tremendous commotion was produced. No detail of the operation has been recorded. Descending rains, and waters bursting up from below, are all that is alluded to of the natural means. The discharges from the skies continued for forty days, but the waters continued rising and rushing onward for one hundred and fifty days, until they covered the high hills. Their general elevation above the surface is marked as having been fifteen cubits, but the tumultuous movements of the agitated waves were so directed, that their torrents swept over the mountains during the continuance of their destructive operation; and all that had life on earth perished in their overwhelming violence, except the eight persons whom the ark rescued from the catastrophe, as it floated on the new-nade sea.
As a single day's convulsion and inundation would have been sufficient to extinguish human life, the facts that the effusions from the skies lasted forty days, that the waters continued rising and prevailing for one hundred and fifty, and that one hundred and fifty more days were afterward occupied in the retiring and subsidence of the watery fluid, announce to us that a great process was then in operation for other objects than the death of the subsisting population. These objects must have related to the state and structure of the earth itself in its habitable surface; and as geological investigations show that the present rocks and masses of our surface are fragmentary formations of earlier ones, and have been preceded or accompanied by great changes, and convulsions, and dislocations, it is our duty, and the dictate of our common sense to remember, that we have here, in the diluvian catastrophe, an actual period, historically recorded, in which events and agitations of this character are attested to have taken place.
Beyond this remark I will not press the consideration here; but no man of science can do justice to his subject, who forgets or disregards the facts which have been thus preserved for our knowledge. It is not indeed within the capacity of every geologist, nor perhaps of any one in the present imperfect state of the almost new-made science, to discern amid the phenomena which the rocks and remains of the earth present to his observing judgment, what were the operations and changes which attended the commotions of the deluge. But we should not repeat the common error of depreciating what we fail to understand, or dismiss that from our consideration which we cannot satisfactorily explain. The true is true at all times, whether we comprehend or like it, or not; it is therefore a hasty act of mind, and not sound judgment, to reject the admission of a deluge because it does not suit our pre-adopted theories. It is wiser to mistrust them than to disbelieve what has been so authoritatively recorded. But such conduct will only be a stimulus to new minds, to take up the subject with calmer impartiality, and to endeavor to form happier suppositions, to make juster inferences, and to exercise a penetrating sagacity, superior to that of their predecessors. These results will in time take place. Most of the last series of geologists, and some of the present, have thought proper to discredit the interposition of the deluge, and have treated the idea of it, and its supporters, with mingled animosity and contempt. This is to be regretted, and will not deter the friends of intellectual religion from still desiring to see it in friendly harmony and coalition with real scientific knowledge : nothing is done well by their disunion. The more you study geology, the more you will be convinced that the opponents of the Mosaic deluge have not advanced one single step in accounting for the appearances and present state of things without it, nor will any degree of talent or labor be more successful that may choose to disregard it. For as it is an event which has really occurred, it will be as impossible to form a true theory of the earth without it, as it would be to write an authentic history of England, and yet discredit or omit the Roman and Anglo-Saxon or Danish invasions.
Looking up to the Divine will and exerted power as the producing cause of the deluge, and considering the objects of its mission to bo
VOL. VII.-April, 1836. 25
the termination of a state of human nature which had become incurably deteriorated in that form by the existing population ; and to be also the commencement of a new generation and diffusion of human beings of a superior kind, and from a selected stock, that was the least vitiated by the demoralization of the rest, our next consideration will be directed to its effects, and to see what historical evidences yet remain of its occurrence.
The effects will be of two sorts, those on physical nature, and those on the human race; but I will postpone my remarks on these, till we have taken a review of the traditions that exist in various parts of the world concerning this grand catastrophe; and only here observe, that the authentic narrative of it indicates that a space of three hundred days elapsed from the commencement of the dispensation, before all that had been intended and ordained was fully accomplished. During this interval, the external characters of the awful operation were those of confusion and commotion, and violent transmutations. But the consusion was but in outward seeming. The commotions, fierce and boisterous as they were in reality, were yet all strictly regulated and scientifically directed. The transmutations, however vast, and apparently for some time most anomaJous in their dislocations, were all found to have been undergoing the most harmonious adaptations, and the most useful and benevolent distribution and arrangement for the future comfort of mankind. Hence, when Noah and his family descended from the ark, they found a new earth provided for them, in which all that was beautiful and picturesque to the eye, and sublime and elevating to the feelings, and rich and beauteous to their comfort and conduct, in due time appeared, and has ever since continued to subsist and recur for the delight and benefit of human kind. The day of anger and terror had passed away, and the new-created surface displayed their almighty Sovereign in that aspect, which is to himself the most gratifying: the aspect of paternal kindness, of condescending guardianship, and of the most gracious beneficence.
We will now consider the notions which prevailed in the world on this point of its history, or rather such of them as have been noticed by the writers we possess who have alluded to it. We shall find them to be very inaccurate and very imperfect, but as alnost all the ancient writings on the history of these several countries have been destroyed, we shall find the information which we can collect, although quite sufficient to authenticate the fact of a general deluge, yet very wild, incongruous, and scanty. It occurred so long before correct and rational history began to be written out of Judea, and such a vast quantity of what was composed has been lost for ever to us, that it is more remarkable that so many intimations of it can be collected, than that more numerous allusions, more just accounts cannot now be obtained. Let us take a fair review of them as men desirous to ascertain only what is true, and therefore giving to each its due weight and estimation, and observing, likewise, what coincidences they display with the Hebrew history, amid those divergences which all traditions, and popular narratives, and foreign representations usually exhibit, wherever a solemn record has not been kept and faithfully transmitted. The Mosaic document is the only account which possesses this character.
The most ancient account of the deluge, except that of the Pentateuch, but much later, which has escaped the ravages of time, is the narrative which Berosus has inserted in his Chaldean Annals. He lived in the period of the Macedonian dynasties, but what he mentions he declares that he compiled from the written documents kept at Babylon; so that it is their evidence we are reading when we peruse his statement. These described Chronos, one of their worshipped deities, as having appeared in a dream to the King Xisuthrus, to apprize him that mankind would be destroyed by a flood; and commanding him to build a naval vessel to contain his relations, the necessary food, and also birds and quadrupeds.
The brief detail which the historian of Chaldea has thus preserved of this people's tradition and public memorials of the event, comes nearest of any others to the Hebrew account; and being derived from an independent source, and coinciding with it in the most essential points of the Divine premonition and causation of the preservation of one family, and of the enjoined fabrication of a floating ark for that purpose, with the conservation of animals like. wise, and even of birds sent out to ascertain the state of the coast, this Chaldean record is an impressive testimony to the reality of the catastrophe, and of its moral causes.
Abydenus was another ancient author, who, in his Median and Assyrian History, had notices of the same catastrophe, with some circumstances similar to the Chaldean account. We learn from Diodorus Siculus, that the Egyptians had likewise preserved a memory of it, and discussed their origin from the calamitous event, either as having been preserved from its general devastation, or as springing up afterward anew from the teeming earth. All these allusions imply a universal deluge.
The destruction of the whole living world, in its primordial times, by a deluge to which, as in Egypt, the name of Deucalion was attached, was the prevalent opinion in Greece. From him and his wife Pyrrha, the human race were stated to have been renewed. Individual writers occasionally arose, who confined the incident to Greece; but this was not the popular or predominant impression. According to that, it was a general destruction of the existing mankind. The Greek mythologist, Apollodorus, details the tradition as it was usually accredited, and makes the third generation of men, or the Brazen Age, which preceded our Iron one, to have been that which so perished; though, as Deucalion's antediluvian abode was in Greece, he only specifies the local effects there.
Hesiod inculcated that the second race of mankind had been removed by the Divine power from the earth, on account of their wickedness. Neither account limits the destruction to Grecians only, but both apply it to the entire race of men then subsisting, called the Second or Silver Generation in the one, and the Brazen in the other; both represent the extinction as produced by the Divine will, and as followed by a new race or production of human kind.
Lucian shows us that in his time the same ideas and belief were prevalent, for he exhibits his misanthrope Timon, as reproaching Jupiter for sending in his youthful days, that is, in the most ancient period of the world, such a calamity on human kind, and for a universal destruction of them by lightning, earthquake, and overwhelming waters, preserving only Deucalion in an ark.
In his Essay on Dancing, he likewise mentions the ark, in which the relics of the human race were preserved. In another of his works, his largest dissertation, which has been generally received as his, and which there are no satisfactory reasons to ascribe to any other, he narrates the Grecian opinions more fully about it. For this purpose, it is immaterial by whom they are stated. What we desire to know is, what traditions were in general circulation in pagan Greece on this subject. We have these at length in this treatise, and they correspond with Lucian's briefer intimations in his other compositions. He expressly professes to state the popular belief on this subject. In this we find that the deluge was a general destruction of all mankind for their wickedness, and by a universal flood of waters, and that one family, with several animals, were preserved in an ark, and repeopled the earth.
We have another authentication to us of the same accredited traditions in Greece, in the casual intimation of Plutarch, that a dove was let out of his ark by Deucalion, to ascertain if the catastrophe had ceased. He alludes to this as to a general notion abroad in his time, in the same way that he would to ar y other popular opinion. He refers to it as an illustration of his argument, which, in this treatise, was on the mental powers of the animated races.
Plato has also incidentally left us an admission that a universal deluge, and only one, was the public opinion of Greece, for he introduces the Egyptian priest who meant to controvert it, as thus representing it. Solon is here exhibited as having the same belief with his countrymen, and therefore it is clear that the popular idea was that also of the wisest and greatest men in Greece, in the sixth century before the Christian era. The Egyptian proceeds to tell him that there had been many, on the authority of the priesthood of the Nile; but that before “ this mighty deluge," a great state and city of the Athenians, with a vast population and splendid history, had existed. This looks like an exaggerated tradition of some part of the antediluvian history, as all that was placed before Deucalion, by any one may have been. But it was what Solon and the Greeks had never heard of, and therefore the Egyptian detailed it to him as new history, and Plato preserves it as so narrated. No casual allusion can give a stronger testimony to the fact, that Deucalion's deluge was then considered by all Greece as a universal desolation, and as the only deluge. Plato, in another work, mentions the same catastrophe in the same meaning, and as implying the same extent of destruction.
Aristotle seems to have been one of those who thought that the general tradition ought to be contracted into a local inundation of Greece only. Yet, as if aware that the public impression was against him, he does not choose to commit himself by explicitly declaring that it extended no farther. On the contrary, the words he has selected to employ give it a greater diffusion, for he introduces the qualifying adverb " chiefly." He says, “ It chiefly happened about Grecce.”
The Arundelian Marbles have the deluge of this Deucalion briefly inscribed on them, and state that he fled to Athens from the Ly. coris; which is the mountain on which Lucian mentions that he was saved.
The Athenians believed that the flood retired from the land