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which the Greeks give of the deluge, is as follows: The first race of men were self-willed, perpetrating many crimes, regardless of oaths, inhospitable, uncharitable ; for which cause great calamities fell upon them. For suddenly the earth threw out much water-a deluge of rain fell from heaven-rivers overflowed exceedingly—and the sea itself overspread the globe to that degree, that all things were overwhelmed by the water, and the whole of mankind perished. Deucalion alone remained, the source of another generation. He was preserved thus :-In a great ark, which he had prepared, he placed his wives, and his children, and entered also himself. After them went in bears, and horses, and lions, and serpents, and all other living creatures upon the face of the earth, by pairs. He received all those animals, which had no power to injure him, but were extremely familiar, being overruled by Divine influence. These all floated together, in the same ark, so long as the waters were upon the earth.'
It is well known to the learned, that among ancient writers the same persons were designated by different names. This arose from the custom adopted by those writers in translating from one language into another. Instead of retaining the original names, more especially those which were descriptive, or bore a verbal adjective signification, they changed them into another corresponding in meaning in the language into which the translation was made. Thus Alexander, the historian, writing concerning Isaac in Greek, does not retain the original Hebrew name, pns* (Isaac) which signifies laughter, but calls him in Greek riwta, (Gelota,) a word of the same meaning. So also in the different names used in the several accounts given by different nations of the deluge, the same person is described ; and that person is Noah. This word 713 signifies rest or consolation, and was doubtless given to him in anticipation of the comfort he should derive from resting from the commotion occasioned by the general deluge of waters. Diodorus says, it is the tradition of the Egyptians that • Deucalion's was the universal deluge.' And Plato corroborates this testimony, by saying, that a certain Egyptian priest, related to Solon out of their sacred books the history of the universal deluge, which took place long before the partial inundations known to the Grecians.'
Now it seems hardly credible, that so many traditional accounts, resembling each other in so many important particulars, could have been the effect of pure imagination, or were the mere fables of men, invented without any corresponding fact for their foundation. As before remarked, allowing that all these accounts of this singular event were derived from one common source, namely, the Mosaic records, it shows most conclusively that these records were believed to be genuine by all those who have been instrumental in handing them down to us.
Thus much is undoubtedly proved, that the truth
of the general deluge does not rest solely on the testimony of Moses, but that his account of it is corroborated by several heathen writers in the extracts we have quoted.
Memorials of the deluge are preserved in India, both in their sacred books, and in the objects of their worship. It is supposed that the Dagon, mentioned in the sacred Scriptures, is an allegorical representation of the preservation of Noah from the destruction of the deluge. The Hebrew word 27 (dag,) signifies a ship, or fish; and by allowing a transposition of the two last letters which compose the word 1127 (dagon,) so as to read dag-nau, instead of Dagon, and the word might be translated the fish of Noah. As implying fruitfulness, this deity is generally represented by a female, with the lower parts of a fish. At any rate, the image is compounded of the body of a fish, and the upper parts of a human figure, indicating that the deity, whom this image represents, came up out of the sea, where for some time he had had his dwelling; and hence this is supposed to be no obscure memorial of the flood, and of the salvation of Noah, as the second father of the human family, from its devouring elements; and as this is one of the most prominent deities of the east, it is supposed that the fact respecting the destruction of the old world by water, was generally believed among that people.
That this fact has been preserved in their sacred books, Sir William Jones has proved beyond the possibility of doubt. In his literal translation of their Bhagavat, he gives a translation of the first Purána, entitled Matsya, or fish, from which we give the following extracts ; which will show most conclusively, that, among their traditions, they have preserved an account of the general deluge :
• At the close of the last calpa, there was a general destruction occasioned by the sleep of Brahma; where his creatures in different waters were drowned in a vast ocean.'
The following comes so near to the account of the preservation of Noah, as detailed by Moses, that it is not possible to resist the conviction, that it alludes to the same event. After having represented the king of the waters' as making supplication to the God of the universe for preservation amidst the general deluge, it is added as follows:
The Lord of the universe, loving the pious man who thus implored Him, and intending to preserve him from the sea of destruction, caused by the depravity of the age, thus told him how to act:-In seven days from the present time, O thou terror of enemies, the three worlds will be plunged in an ocean of death ; but, in the midst of the destroying waves, a large vessel, sent by me for thy use, shall stand before thee. Then shalt thou take all medicinal herbs, all the variety of seeds, and accompanied by seven saints, encircled by pairs of brute
VOL. V.October, 1834. 34
animals, that shall enter the spacious ark, and continue in it, secure from the flood, on one immense ocean, without light, except the radiance of thy holy companions. When the ship shall be agitated by an impetuous wind, thou shalt fasten it with a large sea serpent on my horn; but I will be near thee, drawing the vessel, with thee and thy attendants. I will remain on the ocean, O chief of men, until a night of brahma shall be completely ended. Thou shalt then know my true greatness, rightly named the supreme Godhead; by my favor all thy questions shall be answered, and thy mind abundantly instructed.'
After having delivered this comforting speech to the pious king,' it is stated that
• The sea, overwhelming its shores, deluged the whole earth ; and it was soon perceived to be augmented by showers from immense clouds.
That all this is descriptive of the deluge, as related by the sacred historian, there can be no cause to doubt. In respect to the antiquity of these Indian records, Sir William Jones, the learned translator, who was thoroughly versed in the language of the country, and familiar with its writings, and therefore a competent judge in these matters, gays, that in whatever age they might have been first promulgated, they could not have received their present form above 3000 years ago.'*
Respecting the manner in which the several nations of the earth came to the knowledge of this very singular event, allowing its truth, it is not at all difficult to perceive. Noah being the second progenitor of the human race, it is natural to suppose that his immediate descendants would preserve a record of an event which marked such an epoch in the world's history; and that they would transmit it to their posterity, and so on from one generation to another; and thus by tradition, either oral or written, and probably in both ways, its history would be handed down in the several branches of his family, both in their books and by monumental records, as well as by hieroglyphical representations, in the manner we have seen in the figure of Dagon, which was part fish and part human; the fish representing Noah's * preservation during the flood, and the breast, arms, and head of a man, denoting his human intelligence and strength. But, in whatever way we may interpret these hieroglyphical representations, our purpose is completely answered, namely, that those records, found among heathen nations, strongly corroborate the truth of the Mosaic account of the universal deluge.
But we have supposed, not only that the naked fact itself might be supported by contemporaneous testimony, but also that marks may be found which bear witness to the truth of the narrative. Those who * See Fragments to Calmet's Dictionary, articles Dagon, and Indian history
of the deluge.
have traversed the earth for the purpose of making philosophical experiments, have discovered, even on the highest mountains situated most remotely from the present bed of the ocean, marine substances, deeply embedded in the earth, and mixed with hard substances, in a manner altogether unaccountable on any other hypothesis, than that which assumes a general deluge at some remote period of the world.
We are aware that some have attempted to account for these phenomena by those volcanic eruptions, by which islands have been raised from the bed of the ocean ; but is it not an utter improbability that the vast mountains, which now lift their heads to the skies on the different continents of the earth, as well as the continents themselves, should owe their origin to these submarine eruptions ? This must be allowed before it can be admitted that the existence of these marine substances is to be attributed to volcanic eruptions only. That such substances are found in those islands whịch have been upheaved from the bottom of the sea, is granted. But have they been found only in such places? Have they not been discovered embedded in the earth far remote from the shores of any ocean? How came they here? Can the fact be satisfactorily accounted for on any other hypothesis than that which supposes that the earth was once submerged under the waters? These are some of the marks, which the Ruler of the universe hath left of His mighty footsteps when He trode upon this earth, and broke up the fountains of the great deep, and opened the windows of heaven,' by which means the earth was deluged with water.
How this magnificent event was brought about, we pretend not to know; and we think it is altogether useless to speculate concerning the process by which it was accomplished. Admit the fact as recorded by Moses, and all difficulties vanish. The grand Agent was fully competent to the task. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created. This sentence, so sublimely expressed, is sufficient to satisfy the queries of all those who credit the fact of the deluge, as herein recorded. And to attempt to deny the fact, and then speculate on its abstract impossibility, is absurd. Nor is it less so to admit it on the authority of the sacred historian, and then doubt its truth because it is unaccountable on the principles of human philosophy
As a matter, however, of curiosity, we will present our readers with the two following calculations on the quantity of water requisite for a universal deluge. The first is from Dr. Geddes :
· Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.
This has been always accounted one of the most unaccountable phenomena of the deluge, and has, more than any other circumstance attending it, perplexed and puzzled commentators. The most ingenious solution of the difficulty which I have ever met with, is one sent to me, some years ago, by Sir Henry Englefield, which I shall here give in his own words :
“ The diameter of the earth being taken at 8000 miles ; and the highest mountain being supposed four miles high above the level of the sea,* the quantity of water requisite to cover them will be a hollow sphere of 8008 miles diameter, and four miles thick ; the content of which, in round numbers, is 800,000,000 cubic miles. Let us now suppose the globe of the earth to consist of a crust of solid matter, 1000 miles thick, enclosing a sea, or body of water, 2000 miles deep; within which is a central nucleus of 2000 miles in diameter: the content of that body of water will be 109,200,000,000 'cubic miles ; or about 137 times the quantity of water required to cover the surface of the earth, as above stated. Now water, by experiment, expands about one 25th of its whole magnitude, from freezing to boiling, or one hundredth of its magnitude for 45 degrees of Fahrenheit's thermometer. Suppose, then, that the heat of the globe, previously to the deluge, was about 50 degrees of Fahrenheit's, a temperature very near that of this climate ; and that a sudden change took place in the interior of the globe, which raised its height to 83 degrees; a heat no greater than the marine animals live in, in the shallow seas between the tropics; those 23 degrees of augmented heat would so expand the internal sea, as to cause it to more than cover the surface of the globe, according to the conditions above mentioned : and if the cause of heat ceased, the waters would of course, in cooling, retire into their proper places. If the central nucleus be supposed 3000 miles, and the internal sea only 1500 miles deep, its contents will then be 99,200,000,000 cubic miles; or, 125 times the water required : and in that case, an additional heat of 36 degrees to the previous temperature of the earth, will be sufficient to produce the above described effect. It is scarce necessary to say, that the perfect regularity here supposed to exist in the form of the interior parts of the globe, is of no consequence to the proposed hypothesis ; which will be equally just, if the above given quantity of waters be any how disposed within the earth. Neither is it here proposed to discuss the reality of a central fire, which many philosophers maintain, and many deny. It may not be unworthy to remark, that the above hypothesis, which does not in any way contradict any law of nature, does singularly accord with the Mosaic narrative of the deluge: for the sudden expansion of the internal waters would, of course, force them up through the chasms of the exterior crust in dreadful jets and torrents ; while their heat would cause such vapors to ascend into the atmosphere, as, when condensed, would produce torrents of rain beyond our conception."
• The possibility of a universal deluge, then-of a deluge rising fifteen cubits above the highest mountains--can hardly be denied. It is not at all necessary to suppose, with Sir Henry, that the antediluvian mountains were as high as those of the present earth. They may have been of a very different form and size, and composed of other materials.'
**This is more than the height of the Andes.'