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was made inftantaneously, or by gentle degrees, as is most probable; the waters muft have taken fome time in approaching the place where the ark was built; as the rife of them is defcribed to have been gradual And by this means, the operation of the preffure on the earth would have been far advanced, if not quite over, before the ark would have been fet afloat; or perhaps before it stirred.
It is faid, that it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. But why after feven days? Why is any precife time mentioned? Poffibly because the deluge would be fo long in making its progrefs, till it arrived at the place of the ark; from the time, that it began to be poured out upon the earth, by the first degree of preffure, that was made to ftoop, or incline it.
It is even poffible, this motion would not have been at all perceived, any more
than that of the earth's diurnal and annual revolutions.
It may not be amifs to add, with regard to the tempeftuousness of the deluge, that the ark was fo contrived, as to live in it, and ride it out, however tempestuous it might have been. This hath been demonftrated in fact from the form of it, which was that of an oblong square; the length of which was fextuple the breadth; and decuple to the height of it; which, being lighter than the water, would always be supported by it. This likewife was proved to be the most commodious form it could have, for this and all its other purposes. Peter fanfen, a Dutch merchant, about the beginning of the laft century, built a veffel, answering, in all its proportions, to that of Noah's ark; the length of it being 120 feet, the breadth 20, and the depth of it 12. The man, and his ship, while it was building, were made the sport of the feamen, as much as Noah, and his ark, probably were: But afterwards it was found,
found, that fhips built in this fashion were, in the time of peace, beyond all other, most commodious for commerce; because they would hold a third part more, without requiring any more hands, and were found far better runners than any others*.
To conclude this chapter: If, upon the whole, this feems a rational account of the univerfal deluge, it may help to confirm and facilitate the belief of the Mofaical account of this great event; to remove all fcruples about it; and to filence the objections of unbelievers. On the other hand, Let us ever bear in mind, that natural means, and what are called fecond caufes, are but inftruments in the hands of the great Creator and Governor of the universe, who doeth all things by the word of his power; and into whofe act this wonderful miracle muft finally be refolved.
*Bibliotheca Biblica. And Stackhoufes's Hift. of the Bible, Vol. I. p. 123.
OF THE APPOINTMENT OF THE
SEASONS, CONSEQUENT UPON
HE design of this, and the following chapter, is to confider fome particulars confequent upon the deluge, which are matter of pure revelation, that otherwife we could have no knowledge, or idea of: But which, when confidered, may tend to confirm and illuftrate what hath been advanced in the foregoing chapter.
And first, in this chapter, of the appointment of the feasons, recorded in Gen. viii. 22.
THE SCRIPTURE THEORY, &c. 245 God, having fatisfied his justice, and fulfilled the ends of his wisdom, in the punishment and deftruction of the old world, discovered early marks of his grace and favour to the new, and to the surviving perfons, whom he had faved to replenish it with inhabitants.
Noah's first care was, in a deep fenfe of the mercy of his deliverance, to exprefs the gratitude of his heart, by building an altar, and offering burnt facrifices upon it; which were propitiatory on the one hand, as well as eucharistical on the other. And this act of religious homage proved to be highly acceptable to God. The odour of the offerings was grateful to him, and he smelled a fweet favour from them: And in farther token of his kindnefs and benignity, he made the following most merciful and gracious determination -The Lord faid in his heart, I will not again curfe the ground any more for man's fake; though the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth: Neither will I again R 3 Smite