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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.
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, “Emanues uèv Aevxadiova, Χαλδαίοι δε ΝΩΕ επονομάζουσιν, εφ' ου τον μέγαν κατακλυσμον Guvéßn ysvéo ai. “The Grecians call him Deucalion, but the Chaldeans style him Noah, in whose time there happened the great eruption of waters." Another author says, 7 NõE ELσoυθρός παρα Χαλδαίοις. . 4. Too many circumstances are common in the history of VOL. IX. No. 25.
the Noachian and heathen deluges, to allow us to refer them to
Impetuous rain descends ;
To puff away the clouds and purge the skies. *
* Metam. Lib. I. Dryden's Translation.
of hospitality, nor showed mercy to those who sued for it. On this account they were doomed to destruction ; and for this purpose there was a mighty eruption of waters from the earth, attended with heavy showers from above, so that the rivers swelled and the sea overflowed, till the whole earth was covered with a flood, and all flesh drowned. Deucalion alone was preserved to repeople the world. This mercy was shown him on account of his justice and piety. His preservation was effected in this manner. He put all his family, both his sons and their wives into a vast ark, which he had provided ; and he went into it himself. At the same time animals of every species, boars, horses, lions, serpents, whatever lived upon the face of the earth, followed him by pairs ; all which he received into the ark, and experienced no evil from them. As to what happened after this, there is an ancient tradition among those of Hierapolis, that in their country a great chasm opened and received all the water ; whereupon Deucalion erected altars and built the temple of Juno over the chasm.” Plutarch mentions that Deucalion sent out a dove from the ark, whose return indicated a continuance of the deluge; but its neglect to return, when sent out the second time, or as some say its return with muddy feet, showed that the waters had disappeared.
The Noah of Egypt appears to have been Osiris. Typhon
a personification of the sea — enticed him into an ark, which being closed, he was forced to sea ; and it is a curious fact, that he embarked on the seventeenth day of the month Athyr, the very day, most probably, when Noah entered the ark.
Now how can this remarkable coincidence of circumstances be explained, without supposing one original source from which all proceeded? Some of them are so peculiar, that the most fertile imagination never could have invented them. Much less would they have occurred to men of different nations, opinions and education.
5. This conclusion is strengthened by the fact, that as we approach the country of Armenia, where Noah's ark rested, the more nearly do the traditions of deluges coincide with the Mosaic account. Probably, however, the account we have already given from Lucian, corresponds as nearly with the Mosaic history as any on record. Yet it ought to be recollected that this writer was a native of Samosata, on the banks of the Euphrates; and although he professes to give the Grecian account, it would be strange if he had not added some circumstances, which he doubtless learnt in early life in his native place. For we know that very distinct traditions concerning a mighty deluge existed in that region. For example; Berosus, a Chaldean priest, who lived 270 years before Christ, after stating that before the food “there was a great city of giants, called Aeno, situated near Libanus, who governed the whole world," and who became excessively corrupt, proceeds thus: “ There was one among the giants who reverenced the gods and was more wise and prudent than all the rest; his name was Noa; he dwelt in Syria, with his three sons, Sem, Japet, Cham, and their wives, the great Tidea, Pandora, Noela and Noegla. This man, fearing the destruction which he foresaw from the stars would come to pass, began, in the 78th year before the inundation, to build a ship covered like an ark. Seventy-eight years from the time he began to build this ship, the ocean of a sudden broke out, and all the inland seas and the rivers and fountains bursting from beneath, (attended with the most violent rains from heaven for many days), overflowed all the mountains; so that the whole human race was buried in the waters, except Noa and his family, who were saved by means of the ship; which being lifted up by the waters, rested at last upon the top of the Gordyaean mountain, of which, it is reported, there now remaineth some part, and that men take away the bitumen from it, and make use of it by way of charm or expiation to avert evil. — We must, therefore, allow from these premises, that which both the Chaldeans and Scythians write of, that after the ea.*h was dried from the waters, there were no more than the above-mentioned eight persons in Armenia, and that from these all men upon earth sprung; and for this reason it is, that the Scythians justly call Noa the father of all the greater and lesser gods, the author of the human race, the chaos, and seed of the world.”
The tradition of the Assyrians on this subject, appears from a passage quoted by Eusebius from Abydenus. “After whom others reigned, and then Sisithrus; to whom Saturn foretold that there should be a great flood of waters, (or many showers), upon the fifteenth day of the month Desius; and ordered him to hide whatever writings he could find, in Heliopolis, a city of the Sippari. Sisithrus having performed this, immediately sailed towards Armenia ; and instantly after, those things which God had foretold came to pass. And on the third day, when the tempest was ceased, he made a trial by sending out birds, to see if they could espy any land uncovered of water. But