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The Hindoo legend concludes, moreover, with an episode resembling, in almost every particular, that which resulted in the curse of Ham by his father Noah.
3. GREEK TRADITIONS.— The whole human race was corrupted; violence and impiety prevailed; oaths were broken; the sacredness of hospitality was shamelessly violated; suppliants were abused, or murdered; and the gods mocked and insulted. Infamy and nefariousness were the delight of the degenerated tribes. Jupiter resolved, therefore, to destroy the whole human race, as far as the earth extends and Poseidon encircles it with the girdle of the waves. The earth opened all her secret springs, the ocean scnt forth its floods, and the skies poured down their endless torrents. All creatures were immersed in the waves, and perished. Deucalion alone, and his wife Pyrrha, both distinguished by their piety, were, in a small boat, which Deucalion had constructed by the advice of his father, Prometheus, carried to the lofty peaks of mount Parnassus, which alone stood out of the floods. They were saved. The waters subsided. The surviving pair sacrificed to Jupiter the flightgiving, and consulted the gods, who again, through them, populated the earth by an extraordinary miracle. This tradition appears in a still more developed form in Lucian. There was a very old temple in Hieropolis, which was universally asserted to have been built by Deucalion, the Scythian, when he had been rescued from the general deluge. For it is related that enormous crimes, prevalent through the whole human race,
had provoked the wrath of Jupiter, and caused the destruction of man. Deucalion alone was found wise and pious. He built a large chest, and brought into it his wives and children; and when he was about to enter it, boars, lions, serpents, and all other animals came to him by pairs. Jupiter removed all hostile propensities from their breasts, and they lived together in miraculous concord. The waves carried the chest along till they subsided. After this, an immense gulf opened itself, which only closed after having totally absorbed the waters. This wonderful incident happened in the territory of Hieropolis; and above this gulf, Deucalion erected that ancient temple, after having offered many sacrifices on temporary altars. In commemoration of these events, twice crery year water. is brought into the temple, not only by the priests, but by a large concourse of strangers from Syria, Arabia, and the countries of the Jordan. This water is fetched from the sea, and then poured out in the temple in such a manner that it descends into the gulf. — The same tradition assumed, indeed, under different hands, a different local character; Hyginus mentions the Ætna, in Sicily, as the mountain where Deucalion grounded; the Phrygians relate that the wise Anakos prophesied concerning the approaching flood; and some coins struck under the emperor Septimius Severus, and some of his successors in Apamea, and declared genuine by all authorities in numismatics, represent a chest, or ark, floating on the waves, and containing a man and a woman. On the ark a bird is perched, and another is seen approaching, holding a twig with its feet.
The same haman pair is figured on the dry land, with up-lifted hands; and on several of those pieces even the name NO (NQ), is clearly visible.-A legend, perhaps, as old as that of Deucalion, though neither so far spread, nor so developed, is that of Ogyges, who is mostly called a Baotian autochthon, and the first ruler of the territory of Thebes, called after him Ogygia. In his time, the waters of the lake Copais are said to have risen in so unusual a degree, that they at last covered the whole surface of the eartlı, and that Ogyges himself directed his vessel on the waves through the air.—Even the dove of Noah bears an analogy to the dove which Deucalion is reported to have dispatched from his ark, which returned the first time, thus indicating that the stores of rain were not yet exhausted, but which did not come back the second time, and thereby gave proof that the skies had resumed their usual serenity.
4. AMERICAN AND OTHER TRADITIONS. - Humboldt found the tradition of a general deluge vividly entertained among the wild races peopling the regions of the Orinoco; it belongs to the historical reminiscences of almost all the tribes of the Indians of the North-American lakes, and of the inhabitants of Tahiti; but the legends of the Tamanacs are peculiarly interesting. They relate that a man and a woman saved themselves in that fearful catastrophe; they took refuge on a high mountain; and when, after the floods had subsided, they wished to re-people the earth, they cast behind them, over their heads, the fruits of the Mauritia palm-tree, from the seeds of which men and women were produced. The analogy to the Greek myth is obvious. On the other hand, the traditions of the Peruvians, Brazilians, Mexicans, Cubans, and others, are so evidently traceable to the Mosaic narrative, or are so entirely fabulous, that, though interesting in themselves, they do not contribute to illustrate our text in any material way; whilst the allusions found in the sacred books of the Chinese and Persians are too indistinct, or unauthentic, to offer any clear parallel; and the Egyptian traditions speak only of repeated calamities inflicted upon the earth by fire and water.
It is unnecessary to observe, that there is scarcely a single feature in the Biblical account which is not discovered in one, or several of the heathen traditions. And the coincidences are not limited to desultory details; they extend to the whole outlines, and the very tenor and spirit of the narrative; it is almost everywhere the sin of man which renders the determination of the all-just judge irrevocable; one pious man is saved, with his family, to form the nucleus of a new population; an ark is introduced, and pairs of the whole animal creation are collected; birds are sent out to ascertain the condition of the earth; an altar is built, and sacrifices are offered. And yet it is certain that none of these accounts are derived from the pages of the Bible; they are independent of each other; their differences are as striking and characteristic as their analogies; they are echoes of a sound which had long vanished away. It would be miraculous to suppose that such a remarkable concurrence is accidental; the legends of the Chaldeans and the Mosaic narrative, bear not only a family likeness, but they have the very appearance of twins. There must indisputably have been a common basis, a universal source. And this source is the general tradition of primitive generations. The harmony between all these accounts is an undeniable guarantee that the tradition is no idle invention; a fiction is individual, not universal; that tradition has, therefore, a historical foundation; it is the result of an event wbich really happened in the ages of the childhood of mankind; it was altered, adorned, and it may be magnified, by the dissemination; it was tinctured with a specifically national colouring by the different nations; it borrowed some characteristic traits from every country in which it was diffused; it assumed the reflex of the various religious systems; but though the features were modified, the general character was indestructible, and remained strikingly visible. But in order to arrive at a well-established result, we must examine the testimony of geology, a science which stands in immediate connection with our subject. We return, therefore, once more to that rich and interesting field, every stone of which is a silent witness of millenniums, and an eloquent preceptor of wisdom.
II.-GEOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS. We shall, in the precisest form possible, state the results of modern geology bearing upon the question of a universal deluge, about 1,600 years after the birth of the first human pair.
1. The surface of the earth is, in many vast tracts, covered with accumulations of soil, sand, and gravel; they have no connection with the rock formations of the former ages; and are generally known under the name of diluvium, since they are believed to be the result of some vast flood. But these aggregations were indisputably produced by many currents of different force, and from different directions; they are the result of different ages, and are all of a local extent; they have, in some cases, been washed away by some new current; they are, in other instances, overlaid by more recent drifts; they are produced by the long action of the floods working from deep waters, by currents, eddies, and tides; they are, in fact, nothing but a part of the ordinary and uninterrupted process by which the continents have gradually formed and been elevated during unnumbered ages. There is, therefore, no probability whatever that this diluvium is the result of a transitory and general deluge.
2. Cuvier, indeed, agreed with Deluc and Dolmieu, that the surface of our globe underwent a great and sudden revolution, the date of which he referred to a period not much earlier than five or six thousand years ago; he considered the deposits of the diluvium and alluvium, as the completest proof, to the senses, of that inundation; though he was convinced, that this sudden catastrophe was not universal. Other geologists adopted the same opinion; they identified the last geological revolution with the deluge of Genesis; and explained all phenomena on this hypothesis. But, the most distinguished of these scholars, and Buckland foremost among them, later retracted this opinion as absolutely untenable, and as perfectly irreconcileable with obvious facts. A temporary deluge could never have produced the geological changes observable in the superficial deposits. The animals whose remains have been discovered in the “mammaliferous crag,” not only of Great Britain, but of Northern Siberia, the elephant, the rhinoceri, the hippopotamus, the hyenas and tigers, cannot have been transported thither by the Flood from the intertropical regions; this is not merely improbable on account of the vast distance of four to five thousand miles which separates those respective lands; or on account of the great numbers in which they are found in the same localities; or on account of the remarkable circumstance, that the shed antlers of the great Irish elk, which exceeded, in bulk and size, the largest horses, and measured upwards of ten feet in height, occur everywhere, and mostly in an uninjured stale, together with the bones and skeletons of that animal: but it is rendered impossible by the facts, that they are extant in beds of various ages; and still more by the observations of comparative anatomy; for, the latter has shown, beyond a doubt, that those northern animals were very widely different, in their internal structure, and their external provisions, from the same species now living in the southern climes; the difference is greater than between an ass and a horse, or between the dog and the wolf; and it is certain beyond contradiction, that those animals lived and died in the northern countries in which their remains have been found. It is known, that the cavern of Kirkdale, in Yorkshire, contains the bones and remains of twenty-four species of animals, from the
pigeon and the mouse, to the hyena, the hippopotamus, end rhinoceros. But the opening of the cavern is not larger than four feet; the huge bones cannot, therefore,
have been washed thither by the tropical waves; they are, besides, almost all of them gnawed, and show the clear marks of teeth, especially of hyenas, which in that haunt probably devoured their prey.
3. The violent irruptions of water, and the up-heavings proceeding from the interior of the earth, have alternately, and an indefinite number of times, immersed and elevated the same tract of land; every new geological period is marked by such an event; the same part of the earth's surface was more than once sea and dry land; but the last revolution of this kind occurred before the existence of man on earth; in no stratum of the earth, not even the very highest tertiary beds, have remains of human bodies or of human works been discovered; they occur only in the loose sand and gravel which cover the surface. It has, indeed, been alleged, that human bones have been found in earlier rocks. But those instances are uncertain; and have been declared in
clusive by almost all geological authorities. Man was called into being after the with had carried its development forward to its present state. No deluge destroyed, therefore, a wicked and disobedient race of men.
4. The Biblical narrative relates, that all the species of animals were preserved by Noah, and that they later propagated themselves; it implies, that the deluge was no violent convulsion or catastrophe, that it did not change the aspect of nature; although it destroyed the living beings on the earth, it left no trace of its existence on the surface or in the interior; it was an event of the existing creation; the vegetable king. dom remained, essentially, uninjured; and the soil was soon afterwards fit for cultivation,
An attempt has, indeed, been made to represent the Deluge as an event of the greatest importance for the geological structure of the earth. For, the following theory has been proposed and extensively adopted. The primitive rocks were formed on the first day of Creation, by means of the “light,” which is considered equivalent with fire; the deposits of marine animals and shell-fish were formed during the 1,650 years which intervened between the Creation and the deluge; but all the other geological revolutions and layers are the consequences of the Flood; the different formations of the stratified rocks of immense thickness and very great variety are the results of successive smaller convulsions, both volcanic and aquatic, which took place during the year of the deluge.-- But the deluge is, in no part of the Biblical narrative, described as having been attended by “ tremendous convulsions,” volcanic eruptions, electric agencies, or violent up-heavings. The vegetable and animal life alone was destroyed upon the earth; but the general surface of the latter remained unaltered; and a very short time sufficed to restore, in every respect, the former order of things; the annihilation of the organic creatures did not materially or lastingly affect the nature of the inorganic part of our globe.
But the theory in question is preposterous in a geological point of view also. For, the fossil remains preserved in these successive stratifications include animals which had enjoyed life during a long series of years; they contain trees, the concentric rings of which indicate the number of years which they had required for their growth; the chemical causes, together with the “volcanic, voltaic, and electric action” to which those marvellous results are ascribed, are not only an arbitrary assumption against the clear statements of the text; but would certainly have succeeded each other in such fearful rapidity and violence, that the preservation of Noah's ark, under such circumstances, would be the most extraordinary miracle which ever suspended the course of nature; the tertiary layers alone are irresistible witnesses of their slow origin and their overwhelming age, and overthrow at once that unnatural and artificial edifice which prejudice and weakness have erected. If it is averred, that all those convulsions were designedly produced by the immediate direction of the Divine omnipotence, we are justified to ask, what was the end and the use of those awful destructions? Why were myriads of majestic animals created, only to be annihilated in terrific haste? Why are no human bones found in the lower strata? Noah took specimens of all animals existing in his time into the ark, for the express purpose of securing the continuance of their species; and yet, the various layers enclose many species which are at present extinct: for, the opinion, that they ceased to exist after the Noachian deluge, is equally against the tenor of the Bible. It is, therefore, but a fanciful conception to suppose, thet the continents of the earth were depressed to the depth of the present ocean's bed; that, after the deluge, a new bed was sunk for the ocean; whilst the former bed of the sea, either wholly or partially, constitutes the present continents and islands. The Noachian food was intended to annihilate the human race, not to mark & new epoch in the geological history of our planet. All those conjectures are merely invented in order to prove, at all hazards, a preconceived opinion, both against the clear words of the Scriptures, and the facts of the positive sciences. — It is painful to see how even sober minds throw themselves into a hopeless struggle; they attempt to combine what judgment and reason will never be able to unite; they will not consent to yield, even if concession after concession should be wrested from them; they prefer to defy reason with narrow-minded obstinacy; and weave a tissue of contradictions, alike incapable to support the truth of religion, and to elevate the dignity of science.
5. The older lateral cones of Mount Ætna are, after a moderate computation, at least twelve thousand years old; they are composed of the ordinary incoherent materials; and yet, they show no part marks of denudation; they retain in integrity their original shape; a devastating deluge cannot, therefore, have passed over them within that period.
6. In the centre of France, in the provinces of Auvergne and Languedoc, are still the remains of several hundred volcanic hills and mountains. The craters, some of which are higher than that of the Vesuvius, ejected immense masses of lava to the heights of fifty, one hundred, and many more feet, and spreading over many miles of area. Distant periods separate the different eruptions. Distinct mineral formations, and an abundance of petrified vegetable and animal life, bespeak an epoch far anterior to the present condition of our planet. And yet, since these volcanoes ceased to flow, rivers have worked their way through that vast depth of lava; they have penetrated through basalt rocks one hundred and fifty feet in height, and have even considerably entered into the granite rocks beneath. The time required for such operation is immeasurably slow. Centuries are required to mark the least perceptible progress.
The whole period which was necessary for the rivers to overcome that hard and compact mass, is large almost beyond the conception of man; all our measures of chronology are insufficient; and the mind stands amazed at the notion of eternal time. That extraordinary region contains rocks, consisting of laminated formations of siliceous deposits; one of the rocks is sixty feet in thickness; and a moderate calculation shows, that at least 18,000 years were required to produce that single pile. All these formations, therefore, are far more remote than the date of the Noachian flood; they show not the slightest trace of having been affected or disturbed by any general deluge; their progress has been slow, but uninterrupted; even the pumice-stone, and other loose and light substances, with which many of those hills and the cones of the volcanic craters are covered, and which would have been washed away by the action of a flood, have remained entirely untouched.
Geological evidence denies, therefore, the possibility of a universal deluge, both in general, and especially within the last five thousand years. But we have seen above, that an historical tradition must necessarily be acknowledged as the basis of our narrative; the unanimity in the legends of the most different nations demands that supposition; and we do not see that geology excludes it. Though human bones have not been excavated in the stratified beds, those which occur in the alluvial sands are sufficient to show the possibility of a revolution on the earth's surface during the existence of man. It is in no way improbable to conjecture, that during the limited number of millenniums during which man inhabits the earth, its surface suffered one of those changes which have, in former periods, been repeated innumerable times, and which are imperceptibly preparing themselves in the silent womb of time. A local deluge may have swept away the inhabitants of a large district; this territory was, perhaps, believed to have been the only one yet peopled on the surface of the globe; a few only survived; and the persons so providentially delivered from a general ruin preserved the memory of the event, which the innate religious sentiment of man soon ennobled with higher motives, and rendered subservient to fruitful lessons of virtue and morality.
But in advocating the originally local character of the tradition, we are far from maintaining that the Bible represents it as such. Some interpreters have, indeed, forced the Hebrew narrative into this meaning. They have thereby violated all the rules of a sound philology. They have distorted the spirit of the language, and dis