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data to enable us to calculate with certainty. Subsequent writers have therefore not agreed on this point. Some say an hundred years. Others think, even a longer period. While the Ark was preparing, he warned his cotemporaries of the impending calamity, but no penitence appeared to avert the divine wrath, and " in the sixth hundredth year of Noah's age, in the second month and the seventeenth day of the month, were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened, and it rained forty days, and all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered, and all flesh died that moved upon the earth." "After the end of an hundred and fifty days," to continue the words of the sacred historian, for I can find none more descriptive; "the waters were abated." And in the seventh month ou the seventeenth day of the month, the Ark, (which had floated above a whole year on the raging element in safety, throughout this terrible deluge) rested on the mountains of Ararat; and in the second month of the six hundredth and first year of Noah's age, the earth was dried, so that he brought his family forth. (B. C. 2388).
CHARLES. In what part of the world are these memorable mountains situated?
CATHERINE. Ararat is a mountain of Armenia, in Asia, a part of a chain called Caucasus.
MRS. M. The country is high; it is said to have been at that time very fertile; and therefore most suitable for the first habitation of man after the flood. The period of time from the creation to the flood embraces sixteen hundred and fifty-six years; and is called by chronologists the first age of the world.
CHARLES. Were the years of the Antediluvians like
ours, containing each three hundred and sixty-five days? Perhaps they were months; only think-Methuselah lived nine hundred and sixty-nine years. What a prodigious length of time!
MRS. M. They were literally years. The numbers recorded by Moses can, on no other hypothesis, be reconciled with his history. The age even of the oldest man reduced to months, would not equal the period allotted to many in our own day: and that of others, would dwindle into comparative childhood.
CHARLES. Was the salubrity of the climate the cause of their longevity?
MRS. M. The earth may have been more healthful before the flood, than it has been since. But the principal reason that we can discover for the amazing length of man's life, seems to be, that having no written language, a greater number of cotemporary witnesses might hand down. the history of the creation and subsequent events.
Methuselah having lived with Adam 243 years, and with Shem, the son of Noah, 97; and again, Shem living till the days of Abraham, the history might be carried on with certainty and precision. Still the account of the first ages does not rest solely on the memory or veracity of the Antediluvian patriarchs. This historian, as you will find, by and bye, was favoured with an intimate communication with the Creator, by whom he was inspired, and who alone could reveal the history of the creation and the arrangement of matter; events which were anterior to the existence of any human being.
The first act which Noah performed after he descended from the Ark, was to build an altar and offer a sacrifice. Nothing surely could have been more natural or becoming
than to express his gratitude for a deliverance so exceedingly wonderful. We sometimes see extreme distress brought on a small district of country by a partial inundation; but how faint an emblem of that universal destruction of mankind in a flood that involved the whole terres
But the mercy of his divine Preserver did not stop here. He graciously assured Noah, that he would not again sweep mankind from the face of the earth; but so long as it remained, his creatures should continue to enjoy and to cultivate it, through the vicissitudes of time; "that seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night should not cease." To confirm the faith of man in His promise, He pointed out the rainbow, and directed the family of Noah to behold that beautiful arch as 66 a token of the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature; that the waters should no more become a flood to destroy all flesh."
FANNY. Do you think, mother, that a rain-bow had never been seen before that time? Surely it had rained before the deluge.
MRS. M. There are two opinions, my dear, on this question; but no person can now determine which is the more correct. Some suppose the rainbow to have always appeared under the same circumstances in which we behold it at the present day, and that it was merely pointed out on the present occasion, as the memorial of a promise. Others believe, that this beautiful object was now first produced and for this particular purpose. "Though it had rained," say they, "before the deluge, yet the superintending Providence which caused the rainbow to appear as a pledge of the assurance that he gave, (that the
world should never more be destroyed by water,) might have prevented the concurrence of such circumstances in the time of rain as were essentially necessary for the formation of a bow. It might have rained when the sun was set, or when he was more than 54 degrees high, when no bow could be seen, and the rain might continue between the spectator and the sun until the clouds were expended, or in any other direction, but that of an opposition to the sun."
So many circumstances are necessary to coincide, for the formation of a rainbow, that even now it appears in but few of the rains which our beneficent Preserver showers down to fertilize the land, and render the air salubrious.
The supreme Being having condescended to promise by a covenant, that he would be the Protector of his creatures, continued to manifest his superintendence. both general and particular, by a variety of means, but more especially by a series of prophecies. These supernatural intimations of the divine will, from the first obscure ray which cheered our fallen parents in Paradise, to the full blaze of gospel light, harmonious in their tendency, and progressive in their clearness, besides their relation to the intermediate dispensations of Providence, still pointed to their ultimate end. They kept up the expectation of an extraordinary person, who should deliver mankind from the curse incurred by disobedience, both on him, and for his sake, on the earth which he inhabited.
Lamech, for example, exclaims on the birth of his son, Noah, "this same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed." And Noah, in the blessing pronounced on his children, distinguishes his son Shem, as being fa-.
voured with some peculiar relationship to the Deity, in these words: "Blessed be the Lord, God of Shem." Noah was singularly honoured, as we have seen, and Shem became the progenitor of God's peculiar people. Noah having been a preacher of righteousness to the old world, became a prophet to the new; being enlightened to foretel the future fortunes of his children. On Shem and Ja phet, who were virtuous persons, and dutiful sons, he pronounced a blessing while Ham is assured, that he should "servant of servants to his brethren."
FANNY. Then Ham, I suppose, did not deserve a blessing?
MRS. M. You are right. The supreme Disposer of events is always just. Ham had himself a bad disposition; but his posterity, who were chiefly implicated in the prophecy, were abominably wicked. Prophecies are seldom to be understood of single persons; they generally comprehend whole nations; as you will find when you come to study them. We shall notice them now only when they elucidate the history in which we are engaged.
CHARLES. I have heard one of our professors say, that Ham became black in consequence of the curse pronounced by his father against him. And thus he accounts for the colour of the Africans, his posterity.
MRS. M. Your professor, my dear, has no authority for his opinion; nor need we undertake to discuss a question irrecoverably lost. Let us confine ourselves chiefly to the letter of Scripture, and if we cannot there discover the causes of difference in the colour of the human family, we can with certainty account for the varieties in language. There we learn, that though mankind had greatly multiplied after the flood, "they were yet of one language and