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ing, when the ark refted; or by high wa ter-mark on the fides of it, which being the depth of water that it drew, was half its height. The waters prevailed upon the earth, at this height, an hundred and fifty days; at the end of which, and not before, they were abated. These hundred and fifty days, were inclufive of the forty days and nights inceffant rain; and made a period equal to five solar months of thirty days each; which having commenced on the seventeenth day of the fecond month, from the autumnal equinox; when the antediluvian year, according to Abp. Uher, did begin; and which anfwers to funday, December the seventh; the end of the hundred and fifty days fell on the seventeenth day of the feventh month, or, on wednesday, May the fixth. The flood, having continued fo long without any abatement, now took a turn; God having caused a wind to pafs over the earth, and the two fources which fed the waters being stopped and restrained, they fell fo much on this day,
day, that the ark refted on the mountains of Ararat: And from this time they decreafed continually until the tenth month; to that degree, that on the first day of that month, on funday July the nineteenth, the tops of the neighbouring mountains began to appear.
In the order of the narration it next follows, that it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah fent out a raven firft, and then a dove, three feveral times, to fee if he could discover any abatement of the waters: The raven went forth to and fro, without bringing him any good tidings: But the dove brought an olive branch in her bill, the fecond time she was fent out; whence Noah knew, that the waters were abated: And the third time she was fent, fhe returned no more.
But if the tops of the mountains appeared forty days, before either of the birds was fent out, what occafion was there for fending them? And when fent, how could they mifs of land to reft upon? For N befides,
befides, that land had been discovered fo many days before, the waters must have greatly fallen in forty days after; and it was fourteen days more, before the dove returned with the olive leaf. For after her return the first time, it is faid, that Noah ftayed yet other feven days, before he fent her out a fecond time; which implies; that he had stayed seven days after fending out the raven, before he fent out the dove at all. Now this makes fifty four days in the whole, fince the summits of the mountains are fuppofed to have appeared; during all which time the waters must have continued decreasing: And yet it is said, that the dove could find no reft for the fole of her foot, at the end of this fuppofed period.
To fay, as the commentators do, that the tops of the mountains were fo covered with mud, that he could not find any footing upon them; is by no means fatisfactory. For what with the running off of the waters, and the conftant blowing of the wind, the tops of the mountains would
would be quite dry, in lefs time than fifty, or forty days. The foil was probably washed off from the tops of many mountains, to the bare rocks; which would therefore be inftantly dry, as foon as the waters had left them; fo that there is no room for the fuppofition, that the dove could not find a dry fpot to light upon; fince the waters had left the tops of the mountains fo long before. Befides, that the reafon for which it is faid, that the dove could not find where to rest her foot, manifeftly is, to fignify that no land yet appeared; for the difcovery of which the had been fent out.
The only proper folution of this objection, and what I apprehend to have been the real truth of the cafe, is, by reckoning the forty days, ver. 6, not from the firft of the tenth month, ver. 5, when the tops of the mountains were feen; but from the seventeenth day of the seventh month, when the ark refted, ver. 4: And by understanding what is faid of the deN 2 creafing
creafing of the waters, till the first of the tenth month; and of the birds being fent out, and returning, as coincident in point of time. For it is faid, ver. 9, when the dove took her first flight, that the waters were on the face of the whole earth; therefore, not excepting the mountains, which could not be faid, if the mountains appeared forty feven days before; much less, as the waters kept ftill finking all the intermediate time. And the third flight of the dove being fixty-one days, from the resting of the ark, according to this interpretation, this was about twelve or thirteen days before the tops of the mountains were feen; during which time, the dove might have found the top of the olivetree, from which she had plucked a spray, ftanding fo much above the furface of the water, as to afford her a refting place: Or the might have discovered fome other tree, or perhaps the point of a rock, to perch upon: And a few days after, the waters might be fo much abated, as to render