instances: “ And indeed it is somewhat hard to conceive, how it could be a sign, or confirmation of the covenant, which God made with Noah, that he would drown the world no more with water, if it had been in the clouds before; and with no regard to this promise.” What security can this be to us, might Noah re. ply, that we shall not be deluged again; since we have often beheld this fight, and were deluged notwithstanding ? " If we suppose it even an arbitrary sign, and to have no connection with the effect, it seems, that to make it significant, and satisfactory, it must be something new, otherwise it could not signify a new thing; or be the confirmation of a new promise : And accordingly it hath been observed, that the signs by institution only, men, tioned in fcripture, have all something new and strange; as a mark of the hand of God: At least it must be acknowledged, that if Noah had never seen a rain-bow before, that sign must have made a much


more lively impression upon him; and given him much greater comfort and assurance in God's promise, than if it had been no more than what he must have often observed before the late terrible devastation *"

“ The opinion, says Dr. Jackson, of those that think there were rain-bows before the flood, hath, no pretence of scripture to enforce it: And grounds in nature it can have none, unless they will avouch this evident untruth, That every disposition of the air, or every cloud, is fitly disposed to bring forth the rain-bow, And if other natural causes, with their motions and dispositions, depend upon the final; such as acknowledge the truth of scripture, have no reason to think, that either the clouds, or air, had that peculiar disposition, which is required unto the production of the rain-bow, before the flood; when this wonderful effect could have no such

* Univ. History. Vol. I. p. 238. 8vo. Vide Heidegg. Hift. Patr. Tom. I. exerc. 15.



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use or end, as it hath ever since. For it was ordained, as the scripture tells us, to be a figo, or witness, of God's covenant with the new world, a messenger to fecure mankind from destruction by der luges. Now, if it had appeared before, the sight of it after the flood would have been but a poor comfort to Noah and his timorous pofterity; whose fear, left the like inundation should happen again, was greater than could be taken away by a common or usual fign."

Common philosophy teaches us, that the rain-bow is a natural lign, which thew's there will not be much rain after it appears, as the clouds then begin to difperse. For it is never made in a thick cloud, but in a thin : So that if it

appear after showers, which come from thick clouds, it is a token that now they grow thin. But, the God of nature chofe this to be a sign, that he would never let them thicken again to such a degree as to bring a deluge upon the earth. And he vouch


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fafes it not always, but at certain times often enough to put men in mind of this promise, and to stir up their belief of it."

The reflection of the sun from a watery cloud, is also a certain fign, that though it rains in one part of the heavens, some other part is clear and unclouded: And those rains which exhibit the rain-bow, are gentle, refreshing showers, plainly intended as blessings to the earth; and portending no harm to it, as the heathens superstitiously imagined *.

Its propriety and significancy is so much the greater, and more universal, as it is set up

in the heavens in so conspicuous a



Κρονιών Εν εφεί σηριξε, τερας μεροπων ανθρωπων.

Hom. Iliad. a. ver, 28. Hύτε πορφυρεην Ιριν θνητοισι τανυσση Ζευς εξ ουρανοθεν, τερας εμμεναι η πολεμοια, Η και χειμώνος δυσθαλπεος

Ib. p. ver. 547 : Et quoniam indicium eft permutationis auræ-idco apud poetas legimus fæpe irim de cælo mitti, cum præfentium rerum fit ftatûs mutatio.

Amm. Marcell. lib. xx. in fine.


manner, as to be visible in all parts of the world, and a faithful witness in heaven; as it hath proved to be, by continuing to exhibit its testimony at proper intervals, from time to time, even to this day.

" From these reasons in nature, continues Dr. Jackson, or from the tenour of God's covenant, communicated to the antient heathens by tradition, Iris is made to be the messenger of the gods, sent down from heaven to signify a change in the present state of things.

It is likewise called, the wonderful, and the daughter of wonder, rather of the wonderful *. And, indeed, the admirable form of this glorious circle, as the son of Sirach calls it, bent by the hands of the most High, doth naturally excite us to look beyond

* Παυρα δε θαυμανθος θυΓατηρ ποδας ωκεα Ιρις Αγγελιης σολείται επ' ευρεα νωλα θαλασσης.

Hefiod. Theog. 780. Irim de cælo misit Saturnia JunoAd quem fic rofeo Thaumantias ore locuta eft.

Virg. Æneid. ix. init.


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