the material and efficient cause of it, unto the final: And now that we have Moses's commentary upon it, we may see in the mixed colours of the rain-bow these two things : The destruction of the old world by water; and the future consumption of the present world by fire; the flaming brightness of which is predominant in the watery humour *"

This is what learned men have observed concerning the rain-bow. I will venture to go a step farther, which yet I will not presume to do, but by way of query. As this phenomenon was appointed for a memorial of the deluge, and as a pledge of security from

any future one; fo, whether it might not have a yet farther and more fignificant intent, of being an intimation and sign of the manner how, and means by which, the old world was overflowed. As the earth had its inclination given it for this purpose, and was made to move

[ocr errors]

* Dr. Jackson's Works, vol. i. p. 62. See likewife Bp. Patrick on Genesis ix. 13, 14.

ever since in the ecliptic; this event, and this disposition of it, could not be recorded and described in a more emphatical manner, than by this noble are, drawn by the finger of God in the heavens. For we really find, that the best method which astronomers and geographers have been able to invent, to delineate the line of the true ecliptic on their globes and maps, is by an artificial circle, which so much resembles that of the rain-bow, as if the first hint of it had been taken from it.

Be that as it may ; if this conjecture be allowed to carry any probability, it will confirm what hath been advanced, concerning an alteration made in the position of the earth at the flood; and will raise our admiration still the more, in contem, plating the use and design of this bright meteor; which, by striking our senses in the vivid manner which it doth, not only reminds us of the deluge, and cause of it; but likewise furnishes a remarkable in


stance of what extraordinary and adorable methods the great Creator makes use of, to instruct and impress upon mankind, in all ages, the knowledge of his dispensations, and of himself, the author of them *. This should dispose us, with the wise son of Sirach, when we look upon the rain-bow, to praise him that made it: Very beautiful it is in the brightness thereof.

It compasseth the heaven about with a glorious circle ; and the hands of the most high have bended it. Ecclus xliii. II, 12.

* How wonderful are the ways of his wisdom, in making that which threatens rain the harbinger of fair weather; and the watery cloud, which is fraught with the means that drowned the world, the merciful token of the preservation of it! It juftly merited the name of Wonderful, as well for the design, as the construction of it; which is more than the heathens knew, who gave it that name.

[blocks in formation]






HOUGH the memory of many

events which happened in distant ages,

is liable to be worn out and effaced by time and accidents, to that degree, as to leave few, and perhaps no trace of them remaining: Yet an event, which affected the earth and mankind in general, in which the fate of the whole world was involved, must surely have left such marks and impressions, as would withstand all the injuries of time, and would not be wholly obliterated by any means whatsoever. The whole face of nature undoubtedly bore testimony to the universal deluge for fome


ages; and vestiges of it, of several kinds, are still to be seen in many places. Some traditions concerning it have been met with in all parts of the world, which verify the Mosaic account of its universality; and his history of it is confirmed by many other antient writers.

The ark rested on Ararat, a mountain in Armenia : And Josephus informs us, that the Armenians called the place where Noah and his family went out of it, Apobaterion, or the place of defcent. 66 We read, says he, of this deluge, and the ark, in all the writers of barbarian histories ; as in Berosus, the Chaldean for one, who, speaking of this flood, writes to this effect. --They say that there are some remains of this veffel to be seen upon the mountains of the Cordyeans in Armenia to this very day; and that several people, living upon the place, scrape the pitch off the planks as a rarity, and carry it about them for an amulet. Hieronymus, the


U 3

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »