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ST. LUKE Xxvii. 27.
"They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark: and the flood came and destroyed them all."
It is not so surprising that the voice of Noah's prophecy should have been disregarded by the ante-deluvian world, as that the more modern and enlightened ages should be affected with the mania of unbending infidelity. For it cannot be made fully to appear that rain had ever fallen upon the then inhabited part of the globe. We only read, before this eventful catastrophe, that "there came up at mist and watered the face of the ground."
Those to whom this prophet and preacher of righteousness addressed the unwelcome intelligence of an approaching deluge, no doubt considered and treated his message as the idle dream of an extravagant enthusiast. And although he continued to raise his warning voice, for the space of 120 years, it does not appear to have produced any salutary effect beyond the limits of his own household. It would rather seem that his preaching, and preparation for the approaching flood, was a subject of merriment and jest, instead of sober reflection and repentance for sin. For we are plainly certified by our text, that "they did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark" and were inconscious of danger, until the flood, with resistless fury, burst upon them and swept them all away.
The event of which we are now called to treat, stands without a parallel for its magnitude and importance, in the annals of the ancient world. We cannot contemplate without emotions of pity and regret, the ruins of splendid kingdoms and empires, the sad memorials of whose greatness
are now crumbling into decay, nor pass over the broken triumphal arch, that once extended itself over the powerful senate of Rome, without dropping the tear of sensibility, or perceiving that the hand of time has inscribed upon her prostrate pillars, her mouldering temples, her ancient grandeur, and upon all her earthly majesty, the mournful, but faithful motto-"Thy glory is departed," and the sun of thy splendor is set to rise no more! But what are all the ruins and desolations of the most splendid cities or empires of the earth, when compared with the awful catastrophe which involved the ruin of a world! They sink into insignificance, and are utterly unworthy of the comparison.
As awful, magnificent, and sublime, as this tremendous overthrow of a sinful world must appear, to the serious, reflecting mind, unbelievers scoff at the very mention of the fact, and treat it as the dream of enthusiasts! It therefore devolves on me to show that the history of the deluge is not only related with the plainest simplicity by the Hebrew lawgiver, but that his narration is supported by the concurrent testimony of all the most ancient nations, whose records and traditions have been preserved and handed down to the present age.
When we reflect that Moses penned the history of the deluge about 1500 years before the birth of Christ, and delivered his writings into the hands of his countrymen, with a solemn injunction that they should be read in their public assemblies, upon every returning Sabbath; it would indeed appear to be an evidence of the most astonishing stupidity, that a whole nation should be led at once to give their unqualified assent to his narration, if it were nothing more than a mere fable, or a sublime fiction, which had its origin in the fertility of the brilliant imagination of their leader. Our reason forces us to the conclusion, that had not the story of the flood been the subject of oral tradition, the multitude would have been led to express their doubts, and to demand some further evidence of the fact: But instead of calling in question the truth, of this narrative, it appears that the fact was univer sally acknowledged, and that they were able to trace, their ancestors directly up to the very family which had
been so miraculously preserved from that general ruin by which the world was overthrown. Nor do we find, in all the records of antiquity, that the Jews, or any of the ancient nations, called in question the important fact under consideration. If it were not, therefore, a truth on which the utmost reliance was placed, in all former ages, why have not their objections and their doubts been transmitted by the page of history to our times, as well as the record of a thousand circumstances and facts which are of infinitely less importance to the world? But history, and the most ancient traditions, both unite in lending their support to the account with which we are furnished by the writings of Moses, of an universal deluge.
The testimony of historians is so ample upon this subject, that I shall only select a few of the most plain and pointed, to show that the fact of which we are treating is supported by the concurrent testimony of the most ancient nations.
I have had occasion already to remark, that at an early period after the flood, idolatry became the prevailing custom of the post-deluvian world. And it is natural to suppose that so distinguished a personage as Noah, would be found among the earliest objects of their religious veneration. That a kind of religious homage was paid to this venerable patriarch and friend of God, may be clearly seen by consulting the statements of the ingenious Mr. Bryant, which are inserted in the Encyclopedia, upon the subject of the deluge. According to this mythologist, the illustrious individual who was preserved in the ark, was signified by different names among all the most ancient nations, whose history or traditions have come down to the present generation. Indeed, antiquity abounds with testimony relating to the deluge; and it is a position capable of being clearly maintained, that the heathen mythology sprang from the ancient traditions of this wonderful event.
The ingenious writer which has been mentioned, shows with great clearness, that Prometheus, Deucalion, Osiris, Inachus, Atlas, Zuth, Xuthus, Theuth, Dagon, and many f other names, celebrated in heathen mythology, were merely names, by which Noah, the patriarch and father of the
new world, emerging from the flood, was intended: And it ought to be distinctly borne in remembrance that the traditions of a general deluge are not peculiar to ancient heathen writers, but abound in India; are found in the distant Islands of the Pacific ocean, and are familiar to the aborigines of our own continent. We have time, however, only to notice a few of the many accounts with which we are furnished in relation to this subject.
From the history of Chaldea and Assyria, written by Abydenus, of which only a few fragments have been preserved by Eusebius, the following remarkable passage in relation to our general subject, has been handed down to In speaking of several ante-deluvian monarchs, he adds-" After these reigned many others, and then Seisithrus; to whom Saturn foretold, that there should fall a prodigious flood of rain on the fifteenth day of the month Desius; and commanded him to deposit all his writings in Heliopolis, a city of the Sipparians. Having obeyed this injunction, Seisithrus, without delay, sailed into Armenia, and found the prediction of the god realized. On the third day, after the waters were abated, he sent out birds, that he might ascertain whether the earth had yet appeared through the flood. But these, finding only a boundless sea, and having no resting place, returned to Seisithrus. In the same manner did others. And again he sent the third time for they had returned to him, having their wings polluted with mud. Then the gods translated him from among men ; and his ship came into Armenia, the wood of which is there used as a charm "He also adds a remark, when treating of the sagacity of animals, by which he evidently refers to the dove that Noah sent from the ark: for he says, "Deucalion's dove, sent from the ark, upon her return, brought a sure indication that the tempests had yielded to tranquillity."
No man, I think, possessing common discernment, can read this simple fragment of ancient heathen history, without being struck with the great similarity which it bears to the account of Noah and his ark; nor does it appear possible for any man to avoid seeing that it is in substance the history of the same facts that are recorded by Moses,
Josephus, in his first book against Appian, quotes the same facts from Berosus, another Chaldean historian: for he says " "This Berosus, treading in the steps of the most ancient writers, has recorded the same facts as Moses, in relation to the deluge—the destruction of mankind by it -the ark in which Noah, the father of our race, was preserved--and its resting on the tops of the Armenian mountains." To this general account, Josephus tells us that Berosus adds "It is reported that part of the ship now remains in Armenia, on the Gordyaean mountains (the same that is called Ararat by Moses) and that some bring thence pitch, which they use as a charm."
Lucian, a famous writer among the Greeks (in the reign of Marcus Aurelius) gives the account of a very ancient history of the ark, which he says was laid up in Hieraopolis of Syria and he tells us that the Greeks gave the following account of the deluge-“That the first race of men were self-willed, perpetrating many crimes, regardless of oaths, inhospitable, uncharitable for which cause great calamities fell upon them. For suddenly the earth threw out much water: a deluge of rain fell from heaven : rivers overflowed exceedingly; and the sea itself overspread the globe to that degree, that all things were overwhelmed by the water, and the whole of mankind perished. Deucalion alone remained, the source of another generation, on account of his prudence and piety. He was preserved thus: In a great ark, which he had prepared, he placed his wives and his children, and entered also himself. After them went in bears, and horses, and lions, and serpents, and all other living creatures upon the face of the earth, by pairs. He received all these animals, which had no power to injure him, but were exceedingly familiar, being overruled by divine influence. These all floated together, in the same ark, so long as the waters were upon the earth." And here allow me to remark, that the learned Grotius has informed us, that the names "Seisithrus, Ogyges and Deucalion, are all names, signifying in other languages, the same as Noah does in the Hebrew, the language in which Moses wrote."
This fact, therefore, shows us that the various names which have been employed by different nations, in their