Page images




If the Bible is God's book, we ought to know it. If the Creator of the universe has spoken to man, how important that we should listen to his voice and obey his instructions! On the other hand, if the Bible is not God's book, we ought to know it. Why should we go through the world with a lie in our right hand, dupes of the ignorant men who preceded us? It can never be for our soul's benefit to cherish a falsehood.

Science is, perhaps, the best test that we can apply to decide the question. Science is really a knowl edge of what Nature has done and is doing; and since the upholders of the divinity of the Bible believe that it proceeded from the Author of nature, if their faith is true, it cannot possibly disagree with what science teaches.

Science is a fiery furnace, that has consumed a thousand delusions, and must consume all that remain. We cast into it astrology and alchemy, and their ashes barely remain to tell of their existence. Old notions. of the earth and heavens went in, and vanished as


their dupes gazed upon them. Old religions, old gods, have become as the incense that was burned before their altars.

I purpose to try the Bible in its searching fire. Fear not, my brother: it can but burn the straw and stubble; if gold, it will shine as bright after the fiery ordeal as before, and reflect as perfectly the image of truth.


The Bible abounds with marvellous stories, that we should at once reject from their intrinsic improbability, not to say impossibility, if we should find them in any other book. But, among all the stories, there is none that equals the account of the deluge, as given in the sixth, seventh, and eighth chapters of Genesis. It towers above the rest as Mount Washington does above the New-England hills; and, as travellers delight to climb the loftiest peaks, I suppose that many would be pleased to examine this lofty story, and see how the world of truth and actuality looks from its summit.

According to the account, in less than two thousand years after God had created all things, and pronounced them very good, he became thoroughly dissatisfied with every living thing, and determined to destroy them with the earth. He thus expresses himself: "I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them." Again he says to Noah, "The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them, and behold I will destroy them with the earth."

Why should the beasts, birds, and creeping things be destroyed? What had the larks, the doves, and the bob-o-links done? What had the squirrels and the tortoises been guilty of, that they should be destroyed?

He proceeds to inform Noah how he will do this: "And behold I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die." And we are subsequently informed that "every thing that was in the dry land died." But why not every thing in the sea? Were the dogs sinners, and the dog-fish saints? Had the sheep been more guilty than the sharks? had the pigeons become utterly corrupt, and the pikes remained perfectly innocent? It may be, that the apparent impossibility of drowning them by a flood suggested to the writer of the story the necessity of saving them alive.

But Noah was righteous; and God determined to save him and his family, eight persons, and by their instrumentality to save alive animals sufficient to stock the world again after its destruction.

To do this, Noah was commanded to build an ark, three hundred cubits long, fifty broad, and thirty high. It was to be made with three stories, and furnished with one door, and one window a cubit wide. Into this ark were to be taken two of every sort of living thing, and of clean beasts and of birds seven of every sort, male and female, and food sufficient for them all.

There are differences of opinion about the length of the cubit: most probably it was about eighteen

« PreviousContinue »