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theories of first formations, they lead the mind, at every step, into obscurity and contradiction. Some have supposed the earth to be hollow, and to contain water, which, issuing out by some incomprehensible means, deluged the earth, and again retired to its hidden abode. Others have supposed, that by a great earthquake, a heaving up of the superincumbent mass of one portion of the earth might have raised the waters of the ocean, so as to form one vast wave on the surface, which swept over the remaining parts of the earth. In supporting this theory, it is truly stated, that, during partial earthquakes, an agitation of the sea, somewhat similar, takes place, the effects of which have often been most destructive in low countries. But this theory implies one sweeping convulsion which could have lasted but a short time, and been but partial in its effects; whereas, both history, supported by the traditions of the most obscure nations, and physical facts, tend to convince us that the deluge must have lasted some considerable time, and been universal in its destructive effects.
As to the theory of the cavous nature of the globe, in order to contain water for the purpose of one particular deluge of a few months duration, we have, amongst other powerful objections, this especial one; that such an arrange
ment would be in contradiction to all the general laws of the Creator, in the study of which we perceive an economy of means, if I may use the expression, which is most remarkable. The means employed for any end, are never greater than are absolutely necessary to attain that end; and thence the just balance which we so much admire throughout the creation. When the mandate was issued, on the third day of the creation, Let the waters be gathered
together unto one place, and let the dry land appear,” which “ gathering together of the
waters God called sea,” we have not a vestige of ground for supposing that there was any superabundance in the primitive creation of water; nor that any portion of it was, as it were, locked up from common use, and reserved for one especial occasion. Besides this objection of the reason, we have also one of fact: for when we come to measure the depths of the sea, and the quantity of water existing on our whole planet, by the great and only true scale before mentioned ; and when we find its medium depths, all over the earth, not to exceed, comparatively, a thin coat of varnish on a common artificial globe; we shall at once perceive how utterly unnecessary it would be to demand so
• Chapter 1, page 43, note.
great a quantity of water as a hollow earth would contain, for the sole purpose of effecting so diminutive an end.* No. The ends of the Almighty are brought about by much more simple means; and when we are informed by the Inspired Record, that not only the inhabitants of the first “ dry land,” but also that “ dry land” itself was to be destroyed, we can, without any strain upon our reason, and in perfect accordance with surrounding physical facts, imagine the same Great Being by whose power the waters were, at first, gathered together, issuing his second mandate for the execution of this terrible decree, and saying, “ Let the level of the dry “ land be lowered, and let the foundations of
the great deep be broken up: and it was so.”
But if we insist on discovering or inventing a mode by which the Almighty caused this destructive interchange of sea and land to take place, we shall find ourselves in the same inextricable difficulties, as when endeavouring to account for the mode of first formations by secondary causes. We must make our reason bend to the inscrutable ways of the Omnipotent, and submit, with whatever rebellious reluctance, to the great truth every where impressed upon us, * Would not a
hollow glass globe, of one foot in diameter, contain infinitely more water than would be necessary slightly to moisten its exterior surface?
that “the ways of God are not as our ways,
nor his thoughts as our thoughts.” All our reasoning must end in this point, that the Deluge, like the Creation, was a preternatural event, which could by no means be brought about but by preternatural means; and consequently that we should in vain search for a cause in the mere laws of nature.
Mosaic Account of the Deluge.--The Mountains of Ararat.
-Origin of that remarkable Name.-Effects during the Deluge.—Action of the Tides and the Currents during the Deluge. Their Effects upon Organic Bodies.—Diluvial Strata.—Abatement of the Waters.—Renewal of the Face of the Earth.
Having thus, by a variety of evidence, convinced ourselves, that a universal deluge took place upon our earth, from which but one family of human beings was saved by the mercy of the Almighty,* and that, in this deluge, not only the antediluvian race, but the antediluvian earth or dry land on which they dwelt, was destroyed, we can be at no great distance from
• The preservation of one family, at the Deluge, may be looked upon as one of the most remarkable instances of Divine wisdom and providence : for there could have been no greater difficulty to the Almighty power, in forming, in this instance, an entirely new creation, than in doing so in the beginning of the world. But if all mankind had perished, a new race could not have been so deeply impressed with the terror of this great event, as we now find the most distant nations are ; and if we had only historical evidence of its having happened, unsupported by tradition and facts, the recital would be found to make but a slight impression
upon our minds.