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the mixed account should have adopted it. It is in respect to the number of animals said to have been taken into the ark by Noah. The one account says he took two of every kind of creature, whether clean or unclean ; the other, that he took a pair of each unclean animal and seven pairs of the clean. We can even trace pretty nearly which portions belong to the two original narratives respectively, by the occurrence of the name Jehovah in the one and God in the other,--an observation already made in respect to the mixed narratives of the Creation and Eden. These things only require to be stated, in order to render the principles of understanding (and thereby, in the proper sense of that term, believing) these parts of the Scriptures clear and rational. But by ignorance of these things, or inattention to them, or concealment of them, we can only be promoting real doubt and disbelief, under whatever appearance of prostrate faith.
We may next observe, that the main features of this story of the Deluge are preserved in the traditions of other nations besides the Jews. The Chaldæan historian Berosus especially (as quoted by the Jewish historian Josephus and the Christian bishop Eusebius) records the fact of the preservation of Noah in an ark which settled on the Armenian mountain range. The Hindu theology contains a similar account, and the Mexicans had the same tradition when first discovered by Europeans, betokening apparently their Asiatic origin in unknown times. The Greek writers, too, record a Deluge; but they make its scene to have been in Northern Greece, and its actors their own Greek ancestors; and, as their tradition accords with that of the book of Genesis to a remarkable degree (though with remarkable discrepancies also), it is probable that the Hebrew narrative was the basis of the world's belief of the fact, and that the scene only was changed by the Greek poets to gratify the nationality of their countrymen.*
It does not seem necessary here to discuss, though it is obvious to glance at, the question, whether the Deluge described in Genesis was universal. It is plainly represented as co-extensive with the human race; but the human race is not described as, at that time, co-extensive with the habitable globe. For the avowed purpose, therefore, of destroying the then existing population of the earth, there was certainly no need that the Deluge should extend beyond that small portion of Western Asia to which the earth's population is described as, at that time, limited.
Geologists find, indeed, in various parts of the earth, such traces of the action of water upon its upper deposites as would be explained by the action of such a flood. And local traditions of local floods exist in almost all countries. But no traces can be found in any way decisive of its contemporaneousness all the world over,-a notion which is, indeed, difficult of conception to the reasoner on the proportions of land and water on the face of the earth, and which, so far from being the express doctrine of the book of Genesis, is the gratuitous assumption of certain unphilosophical expounders of Scripture, perplexing alike to the Scriptures and to Science.
Other remarks of some critical interest might be made; but I pass on rather to the religious and devotional aspect of this venerable record.
This part of Genesis, like those already passed in review, sets forth such ideas of Almighty God and His providence over man, as are most interesting and endearing, most truly reverential, and, considering the early period of the world, truly sublime.
* See, on this subject, Kenrick's Essay on Primæval History, pp.
Compared, indeed, with the spiritual views of the Almighty which Christianity sets forth and which enlightened minds welcome, we may, we must, acknowledge here as elsewhere, that the representations in the book of Genesis are not the most refined. Confessedly, it is unworthy of our purer Christian ideas of God to say, with this historian, that "it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth.” The God thus spoken of has not been practically conceived of as possessing infinite wisdom and foreknowledge. Then, the sacrifice of Noah on coming out of the ark exhibits to us, of course, as we ought to expect, those humanized notions of the Great Power above us which we know to have prevailed in the infancy of the human race. The very notion of sacrifice was founded on the implied assumption that God was so far like Man as to partake his food when he offered the best of it on the altar. And this notion is even expressed in the book of Genesis in a way that would revolt our minds if we sought to approve anything beyond the sentiment of piety contained in it, and did not estimate historically the record containing it. Thus, it is said, and with this explanation we receive it, that “ Noah builded an altar unto Jehovah, and took of every clean beast and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt-offerings upon the altar. And Jehovah smelled a sweet savour (or a soothing, pacifying odour); and Jehovah said in His heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake, though the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth.” These are ideas of God strictly fit only for the world's childhood.
But mark rather the moral attributes ascribed even here to the Deity. He is a “holy God,” a “righteous Lord loving righteousness." It is because of the wickedness of the human race that the destroying Deluge is sent. It is because “ Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and walked with God,” that he found grace in the eyes of Jehovah, and was selected to be the head of a new race. Here is a pure and healthy morality. Here is the genuine moral sense, unsophisticated by heathen notions of imputed guilt or righteousness ;--the doctrine, at once, of the natural human heart, and the religion of the Old Testament and of the New, that personal virtue is, everywhere and always, the object of the Divine approval, and personal corruption of the Divine displeasure.
Again, the God of the book of Genesis is in this history of the Deluge, as in the previous history, a most truly kind and paternal Being. Even those representations which humanize Him so much as to startle our Christian belief, may commonly be traced to this allprevailing notion of His Fatherly condescension and kindness. He who walked in the Garden with Adam (that is, who was conceived by the early historian as having done so), conversing familiarly with our first parents, teaching them the earliest necessary art of clothing, accepting the sacrifice of Abel and remonstrating face to face with Cain,-here smells the sweet odour of Noah's offering, and points to His bow in the cloud as a sign of His covenant with the earth's inhabitants, on which He promises that He “ will look," and, seeing it, “ will remember the everlasting covenant which is between God and every living creature of all flesh upon the earth." Now this is too humanized for Christian ears, but it is not too gracious for Christian hearts. It identifies the God of the patriarchs with the Heavenly Father of the Gospel dispensation. These early men appreciated well the Divine character, though not the Divine spirituality.
They believed the truth, the justice and the kindness of God; but they had too corporeal notions of His being. Do not these broad facts suggest this inference: that special communications of his love were made to the progenitors of the human race?
Judaism, which intervened between the Patriarchal and the Christian dispensations, had less of these corporeal notions (though it was by no means free from them), but it had also far less of this filial, affectionate feeling. It made God greater; but it made Him less kind, less near, less dear.
The gospel, in the fulness of time, blended the paternal character with the spiritual attributes, each in their highest degree. Mightier than Moses could represent Him, because purely spiritual, is the God and Father of Jesus Christ and of all mankind; and the loving-kindness of God, according to the gospel, transcends in an equal degree His love as believed by the patriarchs, for this same reason, that “God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."
How beautifully does the gospel unite our highest reverence with our most confiding love to the Great First Cause! Yet, alas! Christians have sometimes forgotten the great truth of the Divine spirituality, in their too curious discussions respecting the substance, essence or personality of God, and in the admixture of the heathenish idea of incarnation. And too often have they obscured the love of the Heavenly Father by theological schemes which have made him implacable and unforgiving, and which confound all human notions of moral accountability by representing them as violated in the Divine government. Better, O far better than this, restore the religion of Eden and of Ararat! It was indeed low, childish, defective in point of understanding ; but in reference to the heart, if it was defective it was