« הקודםהמשך »
was made instantaneously, or by gentle degrees, as is most probable; the waters must have taken fome time in approaching the place where the ark was built; as the rise of them is described to have been gradual : And by this means, the operation of the pressure on the earth would have been far advanced, if not quite over, before the ark would have been set afloat ; or perhaps before it stirred.
It is said, that it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth*. But why after seven days? Why is any precise time mentioned ? Poffibly because the deluge would be so long in · making its progress, till it arrived at the
place of the ark; from the time, that it began to be poured out upon the earth, by the first degree of pressure, that was made to stoop, or incline it.
It is even possible, this motion would not have been at all perceived, any more
* Gen. vii. 10.
than that of the earth’s diurnal and annual revolutions.
It may not be amiss to add, with regard to the tempestuousness of the deluge, that the ark was so contrived, as to live in it, and ride it out, however tempestuous it might have been. This hath been demonstrated in fact from the form of it, which was that of an oblong square; the length of which was fextuple the breadth ; and decuple to the height of it; which, being lighter than the water, would always be supported by it. This likewise was proved to be the most commodious form it could have, for this and all its other purposes. Peter fansen, a Dutch merchant, about the beginning of the last century, built a vessel, answering, in all its proportions, to that of Noah's ark; the length of it being 120 feet, the breadth 20, and the depth of it 12. The man, and his ship, while it was building, were made the sport of the feamen, as much as Noah, and his ark, probably were: But afterwards it was
found, found, that ships built in this fashion were, in the time of peace, beyond all other, most commodious for commerce; because they would hold a third part more, without requiring any more hands, and were found far better runners than any others *.
To conclude this chapter : If, upon the whole, this seems a rational account of the universal deluge, it may help to confirm and facilitate the belief of the Mofaical account of this great event; to remove all scruples about it; and to silence the
objections of unbelievers. On the other · hand, Let us ever bear in mind, that natural means, and what are called second', causes, are but instruments in the hands of the great Creator and Governor of the universe, who doeth all things by the word of his power; and into whose act this wonderful iniracle must finally be resolved.
* Bibliotheca Biblica. And Stackhouses's Hift. of the Bible, Vol. I. p. 123.
THE design of this, and the follow
1 ing chapter, is to consider some par. ticulars consequent upon the deluge, which are matter of pure revelation, that otherwife we could have no knowledge, or idea of: But which, when considered, may tend to confirm and illustrate what hath been advanced in the foregoing chapter.
And first, in this chapter, of the appointment of the seasons, recorded in Gen. viii. 22.
God, THE SCRIPTURE THEORY, &c. 245 God, having satisfied his justice, and fulfilled the ends of his wisdom, in the pu. nishment and destruction of the old world, discovered early marks of his grace and favour to the new, and to the surviving persons, whom he had faved to replenish it with inhabitants.
Noah's first care was, in a deep sense of the mercy of his deliverance, to express the gratitude of his heart, by building an altar, and offering burnt sacrifices upon it; which were propitiatory on the one hand, as well as eucharistical on the other. And this act of religious homage proved to be highly acceptable to God. The odour of the offerings was grateful to him, and he smelled a sweet favour from them: And in farther token of his kindness and benignity, he made the following most merciful and gracious determination -The Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's fake ; though the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth: Neither will I again