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of reprieval is at hand : And yet they shall have a second warning. God was unwilling to destroy them yet, unless they would wilfully rush on their ruin ; for seven days hence, says he, I will cause it to rain forty days upon the earth. It will be seven days before it begin to rain, and it will continue forty days raining. If in that time they had turned from their evil ways, their doom probably had been reversed, as that of Nineveh afterwards was, at the preaching of Jonah.
But before the hundred and twenty years were expired, God, seeing no amendment, declared to Noah his resolution to destroy all flesh from off the earth by a flood of waters ; but for the preservation of Noah and his family, and seed to replenish the depopulated earth, he commanded him to build an ark *, or vessel of vast dimensions, to receive them, and some of all creatures. This ark God directed Noah to make of Gopher, (the Cedar or Cypress,) and to pitch it both within and without, that the water might not penetrate it. The length of it was to be four hundred and fifty feet, the breadth seventy-five, and the
“ to execute ? That I may never execute those evils which I give notice of,” saith St. Chrysostom, answering in the Lord's stead. And to the like purpose St. Jerom : • God, because he desires to punish no man, threatens them with his punishments «e like a Father, and shakes his rod, because he has no mind to correct his children.”
Ark. Some of the ancients not thinking the ark, by these dimensions, spacious enough to contain all the creatures with their provision, &c. have extended this measure by the Geometrical Cubit; which would make the ark six times lar. ger. But according to the computation of Bishop Wilkins and other learned men, it is plain that the ark was capable of containing all those creatures that came. Had we never seen a ship, and should be told how many men, and what provisions and merchandize one will carry, it would seem to us no less incredible, than what Moses tells of the contents of the ark. But the Geometricai calculation makes out, that they are both equally possible, and shews that Moses spoke truth. If the ark contained, as it is computed, 43,000 ions of lading, which is more than equal to 40 of our ships of 1000 tons each, and if all the animals contained in the ark would not exceed the bulk of 500 horses, there would certainly be room enough and to spare. Peter Jansen, Dutch Merchant, about the year 1600, caused a ship to be built according to the proportions of the ark, 120 feet long, &c. which was found to be admirably adapted for stowage and sailing.
height forty-five. There were three stories or decks in it; the first and second were adapted to the use of the beasts and reptiles and the stowage of the necessary provisions, and the third, or upper one, was probably the resi. dence of Noah and his family, with the winged tribes. Every story might be divided into several parts; and there was a window above, or an opening, which went quite round to give light to the whole vessel; and the door, or entering port, was in the side.
Noah having received his directions how to make the ark, and an assurance from God, that though he destroyed all flesh beside, yet he would establish his covenant with him, finished the ark seven days before the rain began to fall. * All things being thus prepared, God gave notice to Noah to come into the ark with his family, and to take with him every living thing of all flesh, boih of cattle and beasts of the field, birds and fowls of the air, and creeping things, two of each sort, a male and a female ; keep seed to stock the earth again. But of clean beasts, he was ordered to take them in by sevens, three pairs of males, and three of females, and the seventh for sacrifice. All which creatures, God, by a secret instinci, disposedt to come and offer themselves unto him; and he was also to take in food of all sorts, sufficient to sustain himself and -them.
* An inspired writer has taught us, (Heb. xi. 7.) that faith was the principle of Noah's obedience. “By faith Noah being warned of God of things' not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house, by which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." In full assurance that God would accomplish both the threatening and the promise, he sustained the labour of the immense undertaking, nobly braved the contempt of a scoffing world, and thus condemned its vice and unbelief.
+ Disposed. Some have questioned how Noah could bring all sorts of birds and beasts to one place? The question is ridiculous, considering it was not Noah that brought them, but God, by his secret Providence disposing them : Though it might justly be answered in the case of Noah alone, exclusive of God's power, That all sorts of creatures having been created in that country, some of every kind had remained there, which Noah, without any miracle, might have tamed some time before the flood; so that when the Deluge came on, they might naturally be brought to the ark at the time Noah shut it up. VOL. I.
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. 1.9. " Let the waters under the heavens be gathered to. gether 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 eartir 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. iji. 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 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 crcatures pr:served in the ark; and all other parts of the creation contributed to the use and pleasure of man, as they did before the deluge.
world, found in almost every part of the globe, and frequently in the most eleva, ted 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 Auid, 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.
The earth being thus prepared to receive Noah and his family, he, by God's express command, descends from ihe 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 posterity) 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 rcason 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 propiti. ation 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 ofde fering 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, bụt very injuriously; for it makes