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elapsed from the time the ark had rested upon Ararat before the tops of the mountains were seen. Forty days longer did Noah wait, and he sent forth a raven, which flew to and fro, but was not received again into the ark. He also sent forth a dove, which, finding no resting-place, returned, and was taken into the ark. After seven days Noah sent forth the dove a second time, when it came back, bringing "an olive leaf plucked off;" thus affording evidence that the earth retained her vegetable productiveness, and that her verdure was already becoming apparent, After another week the dove was sent forth again; but it returned
And Noah, knowing from this circumstance that the waters had disappeared,“ removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.” This took place on the first day of the first month. “And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth. And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him: every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.” Gen. viii, 14-19. Thus the great purpose of God was completed, the world of wickedness destroyed, and a righteous seed preserved.
It is remarkable that Noah and his family continued in the ark exactly a year. The present Hebrew text makes it a year and ten days; telling us that the flood began on the seventeenth day of the second month in one year, and that the ark was vacated on the twenty-seventh day of the second month in the following year. But this is contradicted by the Septuagint; which we have already stated to be, in our judgment, a superior authority in regard of chronological numbers. In this case several writers have believed the fact, although, by adhering to the Hebrew, they have failed to account for it. Dr. Adam Clarke, for instance, contends that Noah remained in the ark three hundred and sixty-five days, exactly a solar year. But he supposes the Hebrew year to be made up of twelve months, half of them being thirty days, and the others twenty-nine days, each; and
that the eleven days in the next year supplied the deficiency. To this plan there is this obvious objection, that when certain Hebrew months contained twenty-nine days, while others had thirty, it arose from an effort to adapt lunar months to a solar year; and as the lunar month was twenty-nine days and a half, they called one month thirty days, and the following one twentynine only. But it is proved that this was not the chronologic notation of Noah; for it is said distinctly, that from the 'seventeenth day of the second month, to the seventeenth day of the seventh month, was one hundred and fifty days, making exactly five consecutive months of thirty days each. Besides, there is good reason for believing that this usage of lunar months was adopted by the Jews in the latter part of their history; and that originally they used the primitive year of three hundred and sixty-five days, composed of twelve months, with five days added to the end of the year, which were reckoned as belonging to the twelfth month.
According to the Septuagint, then, we understand that the flood began on the twenty-seventh day of the second month; that it rained forty days and forty nights; that after a hundred and fifty days the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat, on the twenty-seventh day of the seventh month; that on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains were seen; and that, after the lapse of four months and twenty-seven days more, in which the waters abated and the earth was dried, Noah left his sanctuary on the twenty-seventh day of the second month, having been in the ark exactly one year,
We have thus, following the Scripture account, narrated the principal circumstances of this tremendous event. We need not be surprised if the mind, when contemplating such detạils, should shrink back into doubting incredulity, and hesitate to receive as truth such revolting records. A ruin so universal and complete, a display of divine justice so rigidly enforced, a class of truths which places mankind in such immediate contact with the moral attributes of the almighty God, can never, in the nature of things, be acceptable to the human mind. We might, therefore, reasonably expect that these circumstances would be flatly denied by the open scoffer; and be caviled at, and, if possible, explained away, by those who profess to be rational believers in the verities of Holy Scripture. Such has been abundantly the result. We have therefore thought it most desirable to throw our illustrations
of this subject into the form of a defense of its most important facts. In doing this, it may be advisable to follow the line of division adopted by those who have impugned the Scriptural narrative. Their objections have generally turned upon three points: 1. The want of any direct history of a deluge by the profane writers of antiquity; 2. The apparent impossibility of accounting for the quantity of water necessary to overflow the whole earth; and, 3. The absence of any apparent necessity for a universal deluge, as the same result might have been accomplished by a partial one.
We will now direct attention to these objections, beginning with the last.
Vossius may be regarded as the leader in this line of objection: he pronounces the universality of the deluge "impossible and unnecessary."
This objection is based upon the assumed fact, that at that period the population of the world was very limited in number, and confined to a small portion of the surface of the earth. It may be worth inquiry whether this assumption be correct. We have already intimated our opinion as to the unsatisfactory character of the calculations usually made with respect to population. But if we cannot depend upon the application of abstract principles, we may surely gather some information from a comparison of similar facts arising in different times.
We have expressed our belief that the flood took place in the year of the world 2262. Now let us glance at the population of the earth as many years after the flood: this brings us to the year B. C. 953. It may at first sight be supposed that advantage is gained to our argument by the adoption of the extended chronology of the Septuagint; but it is not so. If the abridged system of the Masorite numbers be adopted, we shall be carried down to the year B. C. 692. Now, it will be evident that, whichever of these numbers our readers may be disposed to adopt, they will see the impossibility of confining the existing population to a limited district, which might be inundated for a year without affecting the general surface of the globe. At that time, population had extended from Armenia to China and India in the East, and to Italy, Spain, and Africa, in the West. Assyria had attained the summit of her power, and Tyre the zenith of her commercial prosperity. At such a time, could the countless myriads of mankind have been cooped up in a corner, and destroyed by a partial
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deluge, without affecting the general surface of the earth ? In our judgment, it is an insult to common sense to press the question. But it may be urged, that, as the antediluvians lived much longer before they had children than their postdiluvian successors, the population, in any given number of centuries, must have been less. We think not. For if the parents were older at the birth of their first children, they lived longer cotemporaneously with their descendants; a circumstance which will abundantly compensate for any apparent advantage which might arise from that
But we are so confident of the utter worthlessness of this objection, that we are able to make concessions which are not justly due to our opponents. Let us, then, take an equal number of generations. In doing this, however, it must be observed that we do injustice to our argument; for, at the birth of his eldest son, Noah was about three times the age of his predecessors when in similar circumstances. Jared, at the birth of his first son, was one hundred and sixty-two; Enoch, one hundred and sixty-five; Methuselah, one hundred and eighty-seven; and Lamech, one hundred and eighty-eight; while Noah was five hundred years old at the birth of the eldest of those sons who were saved with him in the ark. Yet, although the increase of three hundred years is thus given up, we take the ten generations following the deluge, and this brings us to the close of the life of Abraham. And we call attention to the population of the world in his day; when the whole of the countries from the extreme east to Egypt were studded with cities, when established sovereignties were formed in different and distant parts of the world; and we repeat our question, Could these multitudes, under any circumstances, have been located in any one given district ? Could this have been inundated for twelve months without affecting the other parts of the earth? In our judgment, the supposition is absurd.*
Still we are disposed to ask, What is gained by the objection? We are told it was impossible. Is anything impossible with God? Is the infliction of a universal deluge more difficult to infinite Power, than the builing up of a heap of waters to drown any particular locality ? In what does the impossibility consist? We ascribe the deluge to a miraculous exertion of divine power; we will not argue with those who deny this: and if our position thus far is admitted, we do not see the propriety of using the word
* We may notice here the similar command given to Adam and to Noalı, "Be fraitful and multiply," &c., (Gen. i, 28; viii, 17,) as justifying the comparison.
"impossible.” It was no more impossible to drown the whole world, than it was to make it.
But we are told that it was “unnecessary." We wish to meet with respect an objection urged by learned and pious men; but we are anxious to know the precise meaning of this language. What are we to understand by the assertion that a universal deluge was unnecessary? We have only to regard the flood, whatever were its limits, as the result of the divine purpose. The nature and extent of this purpose we can only gather from a careful perusal of His own revealed truth. If we turn to this, we are told that God said unto Noah, “Behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and everything that is in the earth shall die.” Gen. vi, 17. Here we have not only the destruction of all the human species; the animal creation is also included in the malediction : and, consequently, Noah is commanded to bring into the ark with him two of every sort, to keep them alive. Accordingly, "they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life." Gen. vii, 15. These were saved; while, of those not admitted into the ark, it is said, “ And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man.” Verse 21. We do not contend that there was an abstract necessity for a universal deluge. We learn the divine purpose from the word of God; and this informs us that it was the intention of Jehovah to destroy all animal life, except that which was taken into the ark. No language can more plainly set forth this purpose than that which we have quoted. If it is not so explicit to those who take a different view of the subject, we request them to point out the ambiguity, and to correct it. Let them give us language which more clearly declares the important fact, that all animal life not contained in the ark was to die by the flood: but if no such language can be framed, then we must be allowed to retain our opinion, that Moses intended to teach us this fact, and that his teaching is true.
But the words of the sacred narrative refer as distinctly to the entire surface of the earth, as to the whole animal creation : "And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered." Verse 19. We ask, What language can be more explicit than this? And yet it has been contended that this "earth under the whole