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reverence and attention to the instructions, which are given to us by God's ministers; and be careful not to do any thing contrary to His will, contained in the? Holy Scriptures. -A.
T "_ , //SECTION VIII.'. > „
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From Genesis, Chap. vii.
Asd the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou, and all thy house, into the ark: for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female; and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the facetif the earth.
And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him.
And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon theeaith.
And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.
Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth,
There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.
And it came to pass after seven days, that the water* of the flood were upon the earth. •
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven \Vere opened.
And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. ,.
In the self same day entered Noah and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives, of his son* with them, into the ark:
They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cat* tie after their kind, and every creeping thing that creep, eth upon, the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.
And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two t>f all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.
And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him..: and the Lord shut him in.
And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lifted ap above the ea.rtli.
And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters.
And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered.
Fifteen cubits upwards did the waters prevail; and the mountains Were covered.
And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and .every man: • i D2 AH
All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.
And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.
And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
We are told by the Apostle to the Hebrews, that Noah's righteousness, which was accepted of God, consisted in true Faith*i that is, Noah believed all that God had at that time revealed concerning the Redeemer, and lived agree, ably to this beliefc.
Nothing could be more unlikely to happen, according to the common course of nature, than an universal deluge c yet Noah, actuated by a religious fearf, having prepared every thing as God commanded, entered into the ark with all his family; which was a striking proof of his belief of God's power, and confidence in the Divine promises. Though it is not mentioned, we may conclude that he had taught his family the same principles; for without such a reliance on the Almighty, what would have been their apprehensions, when the. doors of the ark were shut upon them?
We may easily suppose, that the rest of the inhabitants of the earth ridiculed Noah, for what appeared to them unnecessary precautions. They foresaw no danger, but pursued their voluptuous pleasures, till the flood came and found them feasting and revelling, marrying and giving in jnarriagej,
* Heb. jti. 7. f Md. % See Matt. xxiv. 38, 3P.
There is reason to think, that the deluge-began on the seventh day of week ; if so, it was, in all probability, intended a3 a judgment upon the antediluvians, for their habitual profanation of the Sabbath.
In order to shew, that the deluge did not happen according to the common course of nature, but was the effect of the miraculous power of God, we are told by what means it was brought about.
In the history of the creation * we read, that Go D di vided the waters from the waters, and placed a firmament betwixt them, &c.
In order to destroy the earth, the Almighty let loose the waters, and shewed, that it is his Providence alone, .which renders that element an invaluable blessing, which, rot confined' within due bounds, is capable of becoming a most destructive evil.
What a melancholy sight would it have been to Noah «nd his family, to behold the de struction of all living creatures, and to see the earth in ruins! But there is reason to believe that they had not this severe trial. The ark (as we learn from a former section f )" had no windows in the sides, and only one window at the top, of small dimensions. This could not be designed to convey light; nor, indeed, could any window, whereever situated, have answered this purpose, to a vesssi» consisting of three stories, even if the sun had shone forth with resplendent brightness, much less when the sky was constantly obscured with clouds. It is therefore probable, that the ark was illumined in a supernatural way, (as the houses of the Israelites afterward* were^)in order to a ssure Noahand his fa mily, that they were under the immediate guidance and protecttioa «f the Almight r.
* Section. L tSse S*ct. vii. + See Escod. X. S3. Wisd. xviii. 1.
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When We reflect on the violence of the fain, poured in torrents from the sky; the impetuosity of the subterraneous waters, and the length of time they prevailed; we cannot wonder that every living substance was destroyed.
Many proofs of a general deluge may be collected from history. The inhabitants of most parts of the known world have some tradition concerning thi3 memorable event; and it is very common to find, at the tops of exceeding high mountains, hundreds of miles from the sea, large beds of shells, bones and teeth of fishes i and in other places, fragments of trees, the remains of land and sea animals, &c. which could not have been mixed together by any other accident.
At first sight, it appears hard that the beasts and other creatures. who were incapable of sinning should perish with sinful man; but, if we consider that instant death was not so great an evil to the brute creation, as other evils, which would, in all probability, have fallen upon them, had they not been- drowned, wc (hall view it in another light. The alteration which the earth was to undergo in consequence of the deluge, would have deprived them of sustenance, and numbers would have perished with hunger; in which case, their misery would have been mucii greater than what they suffered by the flood. In all general judgments, the innocent must unavoidably perish with the guiky ; but inthis cage they are not to be regarded as the . victims of God's vengeance, but as taken away by his mercy from the evil to come. It is very plain from this portion of Scripture, that the sins of men provoked God to bring this signal judgment upon the earth.
Though the fishes are not mentioned, we have reason to believe, that most of them also perished by the v iolent commotion of the waters ; but that God by a miracle