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Historical and Geological
diffused and darkness will recede, and the reign of righteousness and truth be extended. Reading ministers, with great libraries, are not wanted, so much as thinking ministers, capable of taking the ideas direct from the living source, expert in thinking out the thoughts of God, who have an iron sinew of soul, and who do not turn pale every time a muscle is distended in mental toil, but who can go down into the dark places, and for hours together can dig and delve in the mine of truth, and bring up to the day buge masses, to be forged and burnished into weapons that shall be mighty through God to the pulling down of the strong holds of Satan.
THE HISTORICAL AND GEOLOGICAL DELUGES COMPARED.
By Edward Hitchcock, Prof. of Chemistry and Nat. History, Amherst College.
Scarcely any subject within the circle of human knowledge has elicited more discussion than the origin, nature and connection of the deluges of history, tradition, and geology. Though in fact one of the most difficult of all subjects, yet upon a superficial and prima facie view, it seems to be one of the easiest. History and tradition abound with examples of diluvial catastrophes, which are supposed to have happened in the earliest times. Equally prolific is geology in phenomena that appear to be mementos of similar events. Marine relics are scattered in profusion over all continents in the form of petrifactions. How natural for the believer in the Bible to refer all these facts to the deluge of Noah; and to regard them as incontestible evidence of that event! But when we come to look more narrowly at these facts, and study them thoroughly in all their relations, we find a multitude of difficulties starting up to perplex us, and the beautiful simplicity of the popular argument is destroyed. Yet multitudes have produced voluminous essays on the deluge, without even discovering that the ground beneath them was hollow. We tremble in attempting to discuss this subject, lest our present effort should only add another example
discovering that the ground beneath
ess will recede, and the reign of righteousness ded.
Reading ministers, with great libraries, much as thinking ministers, capable of takfrom the living source, expert in thinking of God, who have an iron sinew of soul, and le every time a muscle is distended in menn go down into the dark places, and for hours
delve in the mine of truth, and bring up to -s, to be forged and burnished into weapons
through God to the pulling down of the n.
ARTICLE V. AND GEOLOGICAL DELUGES COMPARED. Prof. of Chemistry and Nat. History, Amhent College. ject within the circle of human knowledge ission than the origin, nature and connechistory, tradition, and geology. Though : difficult of all subjects, yet upon a sua je view, it seems to be one of the easiest. bound with examples of diluvial catastroosed to have happened in the earliest : is geology in phenomena that appear to
events. Marine relics are scattered in ents in the form of petrifactions
. How in the Bible to refer all these facts to nd to regard them as incontestible eviBut when we come to look more nar
study them thoroughly in all their rede of difficulties starting up to perplex plicity of the popular argument is dehave produced voluminous essays on remble in attempting to discuss this ffort should only add another example
of a similar failure. We have got, however, too deeply interested in it to shrink from the effort.
1. Our first object will be to present a brief view of the historical deluges
The Mosaic history of the deluge of Noah, being the account with which we wish to compare all others, may properly first claim our attention ; though we need not present all the details here, since they are so familiar.
According to Blair's chronology, this deluge occurred 1656 years from the creation of man, or 2348 years before Christ. On Sunday, November 30th, Noah was commanded to enter the ark, taking with him his wife and three sons, with their wives. One week afterwards, on December 7th, it commenced a forty days' rain, and the fountains of the great deep were broken up; so that its waters rose over the land, until all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. Fifteen cubits (22 feet,) upward did the waters prevail, (rise.) On Wednesday, May 6th, or 150 days after the deluge began, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat, or Armenia ; the waters having begun to abate. They continued to decrease till Sunday, July 19th, when the tops of the mountains were visible. On the 15th of June, Noah sent forth a raven from the ark, which never returned. June 22nd, he sent forth a dove, which came back. Seven days afterwards, on June 29th, he despatched the dove again, to ascertain the state of the earth ; and in the evening she returned with an olive-leaf in her mouth. After an interval of seven days, or July 6th, the dove was sent forth a third time, and returned no more. On the 23d of October, the waters were dried from off the earth; and on the 18th of December, Noah came out of the ark, built an altar, and offered sacrifice. So that this deluge continued a year and eighteen days.
Noah, on account of his piety, appears to have been warned of this flood 120 years before it happened; during which period, the divine forbearance waited upon the wicked, and Noah was employed in building the ark. Its length was 300 cubits, (450 feet;) its breadth 50 cubits, (75 feet ;) and its height 30 cubits, (45 feet.) It was three stories in height, and had one window and one door in the side. Noah was commanded to bring into this ark of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort, male and female; both fowls, cattle, and creeping things. Also of every clean beast, that is, such as were clean by the
Jewish law, he was directed to take into the ark seven males and seven females, with provisions for himself, family, and all the animals.
The deluges that have been described by uninspired writers next claim our attention. And among the earliest traces of such catastrophes on record, we may reckon the Egyptian tradition of the successive destruction and renovation of the world at the end of the Annus Magnus, or at the time when the heavenly bodies have so completed their revolutions as to come together into the same celestial sign. This tradition was fully adopted by the Stoics, who described the catastrophes as of two kinds; the Cataclysm, or deluge which swept the globe of animal and vegetable life; and the Ecpyrosis, or destruction by fire, which dissolved the earth. After each renovation, the new formed inhabitants were virtuous and happy. Astraea descended to confer upon the world the golden age.
But in process of time the race degenerated, bringing on the age of iron; and when the gods could no longer bear with men, they exterminated them by the cataclysm or ecpyrosis. Now although some writers attempt to explain how very naturally this notion of degeneracy may have sprung from the prevalent opinion, that natural events, which produce suffering, are penal, yet surely it is more philosophical, when we look at all the analogies between the sacred and heathen deluges, to refer this opinion to the actual wickedness of the antediluvians.
The fabulous period of Grecian history presents us with accounts of several famous deluges. They take their name from that of some renowned prince, who reigned at the time when they happened. One of these is said to have occurred in the time of Prometheus, who, according to the Grecian mythology, was one of the Titans, whom Jupiter chained to a rock on mount Caucasus and suffered a vulture to feed continually upon his liver. But according to others, he was nephew to the Egyptian Sesostris, and during his reign Egypt was deluged. Ogyges is said to have been a sovereign of Attica and Boeotia, and during his reign a deluge desolated the former country, in the year 1800 before Christ, according to Julius Africanus and others, but in the year 1045, B.C. according to Sir Isaac Newton. The deluge of Deucalion happened, it is said, 269 years after that of Ogyges, and overflowed all Thessaly; yet Deucalion is represented as the son of Prometheus; and some writers describe him as possessed of universal monarchy and as the father of the human race.
J45, B. C. according to Sir Isaac New
calion happened, it is said, 269 years overflowed all Thessaly ; yet Deucaon of Prometheus; and some writers Historical and Geological as directed to take into the ark seven males es, with provisions for himself, family, and a at have been described by uninspired writer attention. And
the earliest traces de on record, we may reckon the Egyptian tri essive destruction and renovation of the Worx Annus Magnus, or at the time when the hea
so completed their revolutions as to come un ane celestial sign. This tradition was pics, who described the catastrophes as of two 24sm, or deluge which swept the globe of ar- life; and the Ecpyrosis
, or destruction by Fed the earth.
After each renovation, the itants were virtuous and happy. Astraga r upon the world the golden age. But in e race degenerated, bringing on the age e cods could no longer bear with men, they by the cataclysmn or ecpyrosis
. Now albu 5 attempt to explain how very naturally this - may have sprung from the prevalent opinents, which produce suffering, are penal
, set osophical, when we look at all the analored and heathen deluges, to refer this opulkedness of the antediluvians. -d of Grecian history presents us with a ous deluges. They take their name from ed prince, who reigned at the time when
of these is said to have occurred in the -ho, according to the Grecian mythology, #s, whom Jupiter chained to a rock on uffered a vulture to feed continually upon ing to others, he was nephew to the
during his reign Egypt was deluged. been a sovereign of Attica and Boeotia, luge desolated the former country, rist, according to Julius Africanus and of universal monarchy and as the fa
It has been the prevailing opinion among learned men in times past, that all these accounts had their origin in the deluge of Noah. But of late it is becoming quite common to regard them as distinct; as the description of various local deluges which happened in ancient times. We adhere to the old opinion, however, for the following reasons.
1. No dependence can be placed upon the chronological dates that have been assigned to these events. The discrepancy that exists in these dates as given by respectable writers would alone be sufficient to prove that there is no correct standard of judgment. But it is unnecessary to go into an argument to show, that the time when events happened, that are acknowledged to have occurred during the fabulous times of Grecian history, and in which gods and demi-gods played a part, is altogether apocryphal.
2. Some of these princes of diluvial memory are claimed by various nations. Deucalion, for instance, the most famous of them, was claimed by the Syrians as their progenitor; and he was supposed to have founded the temple at Hierapolis, where was a chasm through which the waters of the deluge were said to have retreated. The temple of Jupiter at Athens, also, was reported to have been founded by him, where there existed a similar tradition.
3. It is very natural for each nation to appropriate to itself the honor of having produced the only man of the race, virtuous enough in time of great corruption, to escape destruction. Accordingly we find that other nations, besides the Greeks, have referred the same events to the time of one of their own distinguished rulers. Thus the Assyrians represent Sisithrus, or Xisuthrus, as preserved in the ark when all others were destroyed by a deluge. Osiris was the Egyptian Noah, and Satyavarman, or Satyavrata, the Hindoo Noah. In some heathen nations in the East, Noah himself is described as the individual preserved from the deluge, under the names of Noas, Noasis, Nusus and Nus; whence the Greek Dionusus, who is the Indian Bacchus. Philo expressly says, “Elanues mèv Aevxuliwra, Χαλδαίοι δε ΝΩΕ επονομάζουσιν, εφ' ου τον μέγαν κατακλυσμον guven yevi'otai. “The Grecians call him Deucalion, but the Chaldeans style him Noah, in whose time there happened the great eruption of waters.” Another author says, '0 Noe beσoυθρός παρα Χαλδαίοις. . 4. Too
many circumstances are common in the history of Vol. IX. No. 25. 11
the Noachian and heathen deluges, to allow us to refer them to different catastrophes. Among the Romans, Ovid has described the deluge of Deucalion more fully than any other Latin althor. After giving an account of the giants assailing heaven by piling mountains on mountains, and then of the “impious, arrogant, and cruel brood,” that sprung out of “the impregnant earth” from their blood, he proceeds to say,
Impetuous rain descends ;
To puff away the clouds and purge the skies.* Lucian in his work De Deâ Syria, professes to give us the Grecian account of the same deluge. “ The present race of mankind," he says, “ are different from those who first existed; for those of the antediluvian world were all destroyed. The present world is peopled from the sons of Deucalion ; having increased to so great a number from one person. In respect to the former brood, they were men of violence, and lawless in their dealings. They regarded not oatlis, nor observed the rites
Metain. Lib. I. Dryden's Translation.