Изображения страниц

cataclysm to have taken. It is sufficient, however, to show, that geologists in general are now willing to admit that this cause is sufficient to deluge the globe. For, a few years since, it was thought that science could demonstrate the physical impossibility of such an event. We do not contend that this hypothesis is free from difficulties, or that it is to be received as established truth. But we maintain that it is in perfect conformity with the present state of geological science.

Were we disposed to speculate still further, we might suggest, that perhaps in this hypothesis, we find a cause for the powerful rain of forty days that accompanied the deluge. For it is well known, that the vast quantities of aqueous vapor that are liberated when a volcano gets vent, sometimes produce long continued drenching rains. If a powerful eruption took place in northern regions, the vapor set free could be rapidly condensed by the cold, and fall in the form of snow or rain, possibly for a period as long as that described by Moses. But we would not lay much stress on this suggestion.

We here close our protracted comparison of the historical and geological deluges. We are aware that we have conducted our readers, if indeed they have not grown weary and abandoned us, through a great deal of what they may consider dry detail. But we have long been satisfied that the superficial and popular view of this subject, which is usually presented, does not bring the true state of the question before the mind, while it tends to prejudice still more against revealed truth, those acute minds who see how shallow and defective is the argument. If any one will thoroughly understand the subject, he must submit to the labor of getting acquainted with the details; and instead of having presented too many of these for this purpose, we know that our reasoning will often appear obscure and inconclusive, because we have not presented more. We shall now close by presenting a summary of the conclusions at which we have arrived.

[ocr errors]

We have endeavored to show, that the traditions found in all ages and in all nations, civilized and savage, respecting deluges, had probably a common origin, viz. the deluge of Noah; though the facts were often blended with the history of local deluges.

We have shown that most extraordinary revolutions of opinion have taken place respecting the geological deluge; and have reduced the opinions of standard writers of the present day on this subject to three classes: first, some deny that any traces of VOL. XI. No. 29. 4.

a general deluge exist on the globe: secondly, others admit a general deluge to have taken place, but place the epoch of its occurrence anterior to the creation of man; and thirdly, some not only admit such a catastrophe to have taken place, but suppose it possible it may have been identical with that of Noah.

We have attempted to prove, that those who believe there are at present no traces in nature of Noah's deluge, are not thereby brought into collision with the Bible.

In doing this, we have shown that the organic remains in the secondary and tertiary rocks could not have been deposited there by the Noachian deluge; and that we are to look for the traces of that event only on the surface of the globe. Also, that the Mosaic account does not require us to presume that any marks of that catastrophe would remain to the present time. But yet, that the frequent occurrence of deluges in early times, as shown by geology, furnishes a presumption in favor of that described in Scripture.

We have shown, that there has been a powerful rush of waters over the northern hemisphere, especially America, from the north and north-west, in comparatively modern times; as is proved by the direction in which bowlders and diluvium have been transported, and by grooves and scratches on the surface of rocks, as well as by denuded vallies of considerable depth.

We have inferred that this geological deluge corresponds with that of Scripture, in having been extensive, if not universal, and in having taken place in comparatively recent times: and that therefore, it is possible the two deluges may have been identical; though the evidence at present rather preponderates against this opinion.

In considering the objections derived from geology and natural history against the Mosaic account of the deluge, we have concluded that no natural processes have been pointed out on the globe, whose commencement can be proved to have been at an earlier date than that event; though in some instances they might have begun before the flood, and have been since recommenced. Also, that the present state of geological theories renders the submersion of the globe by the flux and reflux of the waters quite possible and probable. Also, that we can explain the existence of the olive in the region of Ararat at the time of the deluge and its subsequent extinction, without resorting to a miracle. Also, that the language of Scripture does not necessarily mean that pairs of all animals on the globe, zoologi

cally considered, were preserved in the ark; nor that the flood was universal over the globe, but only in the regions where man dwelt; and hence that we are not required to suppose that all animals now on the globe have spread from the regions of Ararat. Also, that there may have been a new creation of many species after the deluge; so that the facts respecting the present distribution of animals, does not conflict with the Mosaic account.

Finally, in inquiring whether any natural causes could have produced the deluge, we have shown that of the three hypotheses maintained in modern times on this subject, the sudden elevation of a mountain or continent by internal force, is the only one that can be defended with any plausibility; since the approach of a comet to the earth could have produced no such effect, and the idea that our present continents were raised from the bottom of the ocean at that time, is contradicted both by Scripture and geology.

If these conclusions be admitted, every reasonable man will allow, that the Mosaic account of the deluge stands forth fairly and fully vindicated from all collision with the facts of science. Nay, a presumption is hence derived in favor of the Mosaic account. We are aware that some will be disappointed if we do not go further, and say that geology strikingly confirms the Mosaic history, as it has been customary to do in most of our popular treatises on the deluge. But we prefer to take our stand on firm ground. And notwithstanding the multiplied evidences of diluvial action which geology presents, the difficulty of identifying these cataclysms with the Noachian deluge, is so great in the present state of our knowledge, that it is safer to consider the point as unsettled. Nor is this of much importance, so far as revelation is concerned. The truth and inspiration of the Bible rest on a foundation of evidence, independent of physical science, too deep and firm to need the auxiliary support of geology, or natural history. If we can only show, that there is no collision between the facts of revelation and those of science, we have done all that is necessary or important. If any remain skeptical after this is done, the cause of their infidelity does not lie in any scientific difficulties, nor in the want of independent evidence to the truth of the holy Scriptures. It is the fruit of a corrupt and unhumbled heart.



By J. Packard.

THE utility of the study of the classics in a college course is now hardly questioned. Their claims have been advocated with so much ability, the decision in their favor has been so unanimous, that we may hope the question is put at rest, and not likely to be soon agitated even in an age so fond of innovation as the present.

But we fear their importance to the theological student is not fully recognized, else we should not with pain witness so universal, and so systematic a renunciation of their study on leaving college.

All history shows that where profane learning has languished, sacred learning has sympathized with it. The one has always been the handmaid to the other, and they have ever gone hand in hand. They sank together in the dark ages; together they rose like the twin lucida sidera of the heavens, when "the sacred Bible was sought out of the dusty corners where profane falsehood and neglect had thrown it, the schools opened, and divine and human learning raked out of the embers of forgotten tongues."* Religion has ever been a friend to profane learning, and never do her misguided friends do her more injury than when they denounce their union. "It was the christian church," Bacon well says, "which amidst the inundations of the Scythians on the one side from the north-west, and the Saracen from the east, did preserve in the sacred lap and bosom thereof, the precious relics of heathen learning, which otherwise had been extinguished, as if they had never been." We hold to the positions, that there cannot be too much human learning if it is but sanctified; that religion lends to learning her highest finish, and most excellent grace; and, that every thing may be rendered subservient to the illustration of divine truth. Profane learning may embellish sacred. To use the quaint

* Milton.

† Advancement of Learning, p. 52. London Edit.

[ocr errors]

illustrations of the fathers: The Egyptians may be spoiled of their gold and silver and fine garments in which they trusted, the sword may be wrested from Goliath's hand to cut off his own head, and Hiram with his Tyrians and uncircumcised artificers may be employed to build a temple to Jehovah's glory.

The most insidious blow ever aimed at Christianity was the edict of the emperor Julian, forbidding the classical authors to be taught and explained in christian schools. This malignant Enemy of Christianity was sagacious enough to see that if the study of the classics was neglected, the true method of interpreting the Bible would soon be lost; legitimate principles of hermeneutics would soon be forgotten, and Christians would resort to scholastic subtleties, find no end or bottom in speculation after departing from the simplicity of the text, and at length sink down into absurd superstitions. The fathers took the alarm at once, and used all their efforts to counteract so malignant a design. Several of them composed Greek and Latin manuals, and even wrote poems and works on sacred subjects which would compensate in the best manner possible, for the loss of the classics. Augustine expressly classes this decree among the persecutions of the Christians by Julian.

Augustine advises that we should spoil the heathen authors of their precious illustrations, and embellishments, and make them subservient to the preaching of the gospel. He speaks figuratively of Cyprian as having robbed the Egyptians of their gold and silver and fine linen. Augustine, though unacquainted with Hebrew and Greek, always strenuously recommended their study. Gregory Nazianzen thus speaks: "Learning holds the

"Intorquere de manibus hostium gladium et Goliae superbissimi caput proprio mucrone truncare."-Jerome.

+ "As soon as the study of languages languished after the days of the apostles, the gospel faith, and the whole of religion declined, and many grievous errors and blind superstitions arose from ignorance of the languages. On the other hand, when the languages revived, the gospel shed abroad a glorious light, and accomplished so much, that the whole world looked on in surprise, and was forced to confess, that we had the gospel almost as pure and unadulterated as the apostles."-Epist. Opp. T. XIX. 339. Lips.

De Civit. Dei, Lib. XVIII. c. 52.

§ De Doctr. Christiana, Lib. II. 60.

| Neque enim ex Hebraea lingua, quam ignoro. Origen's acquaintance with Hebrew is very suspicious. Jerome of all the fathers

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »