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Noah, having observed these directions, enters the ark with his family in the Six hundredth year of his age and on the Seventeenth day of the Second month, (which was about the beginning of May) the whole face of Nature began to put on a dismal aspect, as if the earth were to suffer a final dissolution, and all things return to their primitive chaos. The cataracts of Heaven were opened, and the sea, forgetting its bounds,* overspread the earth with a dreadful inundation. Too late wretched man is sensible of his deserved fate, and in vain he climbs the highest hills to shun the vengeance of his angry God; the lofty mountains yield but a short reprieve, and every little refuge disappears. Forty days and nights it continued raining, at the end of which the ark began to float; the surface of the waters being fifteen cubits, or two and twenty feet and a half above the tops of the highest mountains. Here was a dismal face of things! Instead of the earth, adorned with the productions of nature, and the improvements of art, a watery desert appeared, which presented nothing to the view of Heaven, but the floating wrecks of men and other creatures, who, except Noah, and those in the ark, were swept away with one common destruction.
* «The fountains of the great deep were broken up," Gen. vii. 11. The great deep is no other than that vast collection of waters in the bowels of the earth mentioned, Gen. i. 9. Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together in one place." These, at the Deluge, were caused to come forth and overflow the earth. This easily accounts for the Universal Deluge, since we perceive where such a body of waters could be found, as were sufficient to overwhelm the whole surface of the globe. While the flood continued, the earth and waters were reduced to the same situation in which they were at the creation, before the waters were ordered to unite, and to let the dry land appear. And that the earthr was thus placed between the waters, at first; and that it was by these waters the flood was produced, cannot be denied, if we read 2 Pet. iii. 5, 6. By the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth, standing out of the water, and in the water; whereby the world, that then was, being overflowed with water, perished." In various other places we read of these waters, see Deut. xxxiii. 13. Job, xii. 15. xxvi. 10. xxxviii. 9-11. Psalm, xxxiii. 7. From these immense store-houses water enough would issue to cover the highest mountains.The universality of the deluge appears incontrovertible from the organic remains of the ante-diluvian
God, having thus satisfied the claims of his justice in the vengeance with which he had long threatened mankind, graciously remembered Noah, who, with his family, had been confined in their floating tabernacle for near a year, for so long the waters continued to overwhelm the earth. In fulfilment of his promise to Noah, he caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters were assuaged. The fountains of the deep, and the windows of heaven were stopped; the earth gradually became dry, and the ark rested on one of the eminences of Mount Ararat, in Armenia. This was on the third of October, and on the twelfth of December the tops of the mountains appeared. This was a welcome sight to Noah; who, wisely considering, that though these were visible, the valleys might still be overflowed, waited forty days longer, before he attempted any farther discovery; and then opening a window of the ark, he liberated a raven, to try whether the waters were dried up; but the raven did not return. Seven days after he sent out a dove, which finding no place to rest her foot, returned to the ark. Seven days after, he sent her out again, and she returned with an Olive-branch, By this, Noah knew that the waters did not cover the earth where the Olive-trees stood. However, he staid seven days longer, and then let out the dove the third time, which
world, found in almost every part of the globe, and frequently in the most elevated situations; notwithstanding which, sceptical ingenuity has long denied the possibility of there being a quantity of water sufficient to rise above the mountains, and deluge the whole earth. The wonderful discoveries of Franklin, Ingenhouz, and Priestley, in Electricity, seem however to put this part of the question beyond a doubt; for this active and all-powerful principle is ascertained to be the grand agent, whereby water is both taken up and suspended in the atmosphere in form of an invisible vapour, to an extent almost incalculable, and sufficient to cover the highest mountains, if deprived of the Electric fluid, by which it is sustained. That something of this kind happened at the flood from the absorption of the Electric fluid, as a secondary cause of the deluge, is most highly probable.—And hence the rain of forty days, and the forcible expression of Moses, which has so much exerci sed the commentators," that the fountains of the great deep were broken up ;" for it is well known that in Earthquakes, whose immediate cause is the discharge of Electrical matter from the Earth, the Sea is greatly agitated, and throws up its waters upon the land in a most violent and extraordinary manner.
did not return; whereupon Noah prepared to go out of the ark, by uncovering the roof of it. Yet, having a pious regard to God's providence and direction, as well in coming forth, as in going in, he continued fifty-five days longer, that the earth might be dry, and left the ark on the twenty-seventh day of the second month, and first of the week. Thus there was a complete solar year, from the beginning of the flood, to the day when Noah and his wife, their sons and their wives, came out of the ark, with all the living creatures that had gone into it. It was then the month of May, when the trees and plants bud and shoot out. Nature puts on her youthful vernal dress again, all things appear in their former gaiety, and the earth abundantly produces food for the creatures preserved in the ark; and all other parts of the creation contributed to the use and pleasure of man, as they did before the deluge.
The earth being thus prepared to receive Noah and his family, he, by God's express command, descends from the ark, with the creatures committed to his charge; and being safely landed, the first thing he did, was to offer a sacrifice to the Lord; in order to which he built an altar, and taking of all the clean birds and beasts, made a burnt offering. The sacrifice was acceptable to the Lord, and drew his blessing on men, on beasts, and on the earth itself; For God not only declared his acceptance of Noah, but made a covenant with him, (and in him with his pos-, terity) graciously promising, that he would not again curse the ground for man's sake, thought the imagination of his heart was evil; nor interrupt the seasons any more.
• There can be no reason to doubt that sacrifices were of God's own appointment, instituted on purpose to typify the only way of forgiveness by the death of the Redeemer, and derived all their efficacy from the reference they had to his propitiation for the sins of men. The peculiar expression "the Lord smelled a sweet sa"vour," is best explained by Eph. v. 2. “ Christ hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet smelling savour."
From this passage it appears that the distinction of clean and unclean does not depend originally on the law of Moses, but had its origin before the flood, probably at the first publication of grace to Adam.
+ Though. This is commonly translated for, but very injuriously; for it makes
'The order of nature, destroyed by the flood, being restored by God's promise, he particularly blessed Noah and his children, commanding them to multiply and fill the earth; appointed man lord over all the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and fishes of the sea: And whereas hitherto men had lived upon vegetables, God having at first appointed herbs and fruits for their food; after the flood, their fare was enlarged, and they were allowed to eat flesh. Only he excepted blood, and meats strangled, from which the blood* had not been drawn. They were therefore first to take away the life, by letting out the blood, and then to dress and eat the flesh. But when he thus permitted them to kill all sorts of animals, he strictly charged them not to shed the blood of man, threatening those, whether men or beasts, that should shed it, with vengeance. In short, God ratified the promise he had made to Noah, not to destroy men and beasts any more by an universal deluge; and to render it more solemn, confirmed it by a covenant and alliance between himself and man, placing the rainbow † as a sign of it in the sky:
the sacred Author speak quite contrary to what he designed, and is an affront to the justice, goodness, and wisdom of God.
* Blood. The blood of animals was strictly prohibited, because devoted to a sacred use. It was the life of the animal; and being shed in sacrifice, denoted that the life of the sinner was forfeited, but that God accepted the blood of another in the sinner's stead, even of "the Lamb of God," (typified by the clean animal,) "who taketh away the sin of the world."
In sacrifice, which was daily to be repeated, as the highest act of devotion, man had the strongest memorandum of his fall; of the forfeiture thereby of that life, for which the blood, the life of the victim, was shed! of the anger of God, which must have consumed him, if what was represented by the burnt-offering had not interposed. Reflections on this symbolical act must prepare the mind for prayer and praise. Probably, for many ages, no animal food was eaten, but that of the creatures offered in sacrifice, so that all animal food was originally sacramental; the body and mind were thus mutually gratified.
+ Rainbow. This beautiful phenomenon is caused by the refraction of the sun's rays in the drops of descending rain, and consequently was seen before, as well as since the deluge; the difference is, that it was constituted, after the flood, by divine appointment, to be a token of God's covenant that he would no more deluge the earth.
Not as an instrument of terror, but a bow unstrung:-not in his hand, but suspended in the clouds;—an emblem of his covenant, that he would no more suddenly shoot forth the arrows of his wrath, though never so justly provoked.
And now the whole race of Cain being cut off by the flood, it might reasonably have been expected, that the new world would have been planted with better people : but as in the ark there were unclean beasts preserved, as well as clean, so in Noah's family there was a wicked Ham, as well as a pious Shem and Japheth. For of the three sons of Noah, who had been so wonderfully preserved with him in the ark, to repeople the world, there was one of them who drew the curse of God upon himself; and instead of being the head of a holy race, was the father of so wicked a posterity, as to become the object of God's anger and reprobation. And this was Ham:-for the first instance of man's impiety, after the deluge, was that of his discovering his father's nakedness, in a very rude and profane manner; which happened thus:
Noah, having in a most devout and solemn manner offered a sacrifice of praise to God for his preservation, received the establishment of God's covenant with himself and his posterity for a perpetual security, and a command to multiply and replenish the earth, applied himself to husbandry; and amongst other improvements which he made of the ground, he planted a vineyard. Natural curiosity invited him to taste of the fruit of his labour, but not aware of the inebriating quality of the wine, he fell into a state of intoxication; during which he lay in an indecent posture, his body being uncovered, in his tent. Graceless Ham was the first that discovered his father in this condition; who instead of concealing his weakness, betrays him to his brethren, and made him the subject of ridicule and derision. But Shem and Japheth, abhorring their brother's conduct, and blushing at their father's situation, took a garment, and laid it on their shoulders, and so went backwards and covered him. Noah being recovered from his wine, and understanding how his younger son had treated him, pronounced a curse on his posterity in the person of Canaan. "Cursed, (said he)