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ticulars: Noah went into the ark on the 17th day of the second month, when the flood commenced. The flood continued from that date, 40 days and 40 nights, at which time the waters exceeded the highest mountains by 15 cubits, or a little more than 22 feet. At this time all land animals, not shut up in the ark, had perished. 348. When it is added that the waters prevailed upon the earth 150 days, we must include in this reckoning, the 40 days before alluded to. This is evident from viii: 4, where it is said that the ark rested, in the seventh month, and on the 17th day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat; for this period is just five months (from the 17th of the second month to the 17th of the seventh,) from the time the flood commenced; and five months of Jewish reckoning, is precisely 150 days. From the time the ark rested on Ararat, up to the first day of the tenth month, the waters continued to decrease, so that then the tops of the mountains were seen. Forty days later Noah sent forth a raven, and still later a dove. On the first day of the first month, of the next year, Noah removed the covering of the ark; and in the second month, on the 27th day of the month, the ground was dry, and Noah went forth from the ark, one Jewish year and ten days after he had entered it.
SECTION X.-MOUNTAINS OF ARARAT.
349. The ark rested on the mountains of Ararat. We know there are such mountains as are here named. They are two in number, and from their height are called the Greater and Lesser Ararat. It is not improbable that the ark first rested upon the one, and by degrees, as the water subsided, passed down to the other, or to the plain between the two. These mountains have been known and called by this name, from the most ancient times; and the traditions of the people in that country, fully sustain the fact that this was the place where the ark rested.
350. The author of "Earth and Man," in his admirable lectures, has the following remarks that seem appropriate in this connection. "Here. is the original
country of the white race, the most perfect in body and mind. If we take tradition for our guide, and follow, step by step, the march of the primitive nations, as we ascend to their point of departure, they irresistibly lead us to the very centre of this plateau. Now in this central part also, in Upper Armenia and in Persia . . . we find the purest type of the historical nations. Thence we behold them descend into the arable plains and spread toward all parts of the horizon." pp. 292, 293.
351. "Man presents to our view his purest, his most perfect type, at the very centre of the temperate continents, at the centre of Asia-Europe, in the region of Iran of Armenia and of Caucassus; and departing from this Geographical centre, in the three grand directions of the lands, the types gradually lose the beauty of their forms, in proportion to their distance, even to the extreme points of the southern continents, where we find the most deformed and degraded of races, and the lowest in the scale of humanity." pp. 254, 255.
- God and his Attributes; Unity of God; Nature and Responsibility of Man; Rewards and Punishments; Final Triumph of Good; Garden of Eden.
352. One reason why the ideas of men respecting the teachings of the Bible, are so indefinite and confused, is, that they seek to comprehend the teachings of the whole book at once, whereas they would have much clearer conceptions, and a much better understanding of the subjects treated of, if they would bring their investigations at first to bear upon some distinct parts of the book, and advance to others, only after these were clearly understood. This is the method we now propose to follow. We will first ascertain, as far as we can, what doctrines are taught in the book of Genesis and at some other time, we will do the same thing, with other portions of the Scriptures.
353. If it be thought that we shall be liable to fall into errors, by taking so limited a view, the danger, we think, can exist only with reference to doctrines not clearly revealed in this part of the Bible; and with respect to these we should not be too confident. But the doctrines that are expressed in clear and unambiguous terms, may be learned and received with confidence; and if the Bible is a consistent book throughout, no part of it will be found adverse to these, but will fully confirm them. Our investigations will be most profitable to us by observing some methodical arrangement.
SECTION I. GOD AND HIS ATTRIBUTES.
354. We know that expressions are found in the book of Genesis, that, literally understood, convey unworthy ideas of God; but we have elsewhere offered, what we hope may be regarded, as good reasons for not giving such interpretation to these expressions; not merely because we do not believe such things of God, as this language would indicate, but because we have no good reason for supposing that the author himself believes thus. Doubtless their ideas of God were not equal to ours; for, if they were, we might pertinently ask: What good has the Bible done us? But their ideas were not as low and puerile, as we might suppose, while looking only at certain forms of expression which they employ. This is evident from other representations found in the book. Hence, if we find some rude expressions, as doubtless we do, they should be so interpreted as to harmonize with other and higher representations. The best forms of speech should be chosen to represent their ideas, rather than other and ruder forms.
The author of a book on Natural Philosophy, for example, should not be charged with error, when he speaks of the rising and setting of the sun, so long as we know that he has maintained the contrary of what this language implies, while treating of the earth's motions. Nor do we deal fairly by him, if we say his book is inconsistent and contradictory; for while treating the subject of the diurnal revolution of our planet, he shows us plainly what are
the facts; but, while treating other subjects, he makes use of popular language, which, though literally untrue, does not mislead or deceive us. May it not be assumed, then that the writers of the Bible will be treated with equal fairness, by the readers of that book. It is certain that they are entitled to the consideration here asked for them; and if it be not granted, the wrong must be charged on their impugners and not on themselves. We proceed then to show what are the ideas, inculcated in the book of Genesis, concerning God and his attributes.
355. First, the actions ascribed to God, show the views entertained of him. The work of creation, ascribed to the energy of the Almighty, will of itself, vindicate the book from the charge of narrow views, that might be inferred from other allusions. The heavens and the earth are the work of his hands. He spake and it was done; he commanded and it stood fast. All things are regarded as created by the simple word of God. "Let there be light, and there was light," has often been quoted as one of the sublimest forms of speech. The original is perhaps still better than the translation, "Light, Be; and light was," is a literal rendering. That the author of the book of Genesis regarded God as simply a national divinity, and had no higher conceptions of his character, is asserted by some; but the assertion has no proof.
356. That the providential care of the family of Abraham, should encourage some such narrow views in the minds of a rude people, in a low state of civilization, can easily be supposed, and need not be denied. That forms of expression, there used, may be so interpreted, we will not dispute. We may go farther and say, that God himself may have designed to address the patriarchs in a manner fitted to remind them of his special care and protection. But that these views were the highest conceptions entertained of God - much less, that these were the only views that were revealed to the people of those days, is contradicted by frequent references of a more elevated character, of which, what is said of the creation, is an obvious example.
357. What is said of the Deluge, is no less to our purpose. That event was sufficiently momentous to indicate
the interposition of an Almighty Power; and to insist that the historian who gives us the Bible account of it, had none but low and unworthy conceptions of the character of God, to whose agency that event is referred, shows an entire misconception of the facts as they are. In the same spirit are the destruction of Babel and of Sodom; though these events are not of the same magnificent character as the former. They show that the " God of the Jews is also the God of the Gentiles," and that the book so regards him, as it makes him to concern himself with their affairs, holding them responsible to him for their conduct, and punishing them for their sins. Nor are other references without significance, as inculcating the same sentiment. Abraham once fell into an error on this subject, and took what he thought were judicious measures to guard himself from the wrongs of a people, who as he supposed, had no fear of God before their eyes. The result showed his mistake. Isaac, too, did the same thing, with a like misapprehension, and with the same result; and Jacob found the house of God and the gate of heaven, where he did not expect the divine presence.
358. In the second place, the book employs language, to set forth the divine attributes, fitted to give us exalted views of the Creator. The language of Melchisedek is to the point;"Blessed be Abraham of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and Earth; and blessed be the Most High God, who hath delivered thine enemies into thy hands." The language of Abram, on the same occasion, is similar; "I have lifted up my hand unto the Lord, the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth." The language of God to this patriarch, on another occasion, is quite as emphatic, and equally to our purpose; -"I am the Almigty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect." Similar is the language to Jacob; "I am God Almighty;" and this patriarch uses the same language to his sons. God Almighty give you mercy before the man.” xiv. 19, 20, 22; xvii. 1; xliii. 14; xlix. 25.
359. That the ancients had the same extended views of "heaven and earth" that now prevail, is not presumed. Doubtless their ideas of the physical universe were very limited; and their views of the Creator and Governor of the universe, must have corresponded; but it is certain