Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

versed in the mechanic arts for beasts and birds ; but he bas the purpose of ship-building ; but taught us that the whole eartha we have not any reason to sup- was peopled by tbe descendants pose, that they had ever found of a single pair. And if such was occasion for building a ship. the manner in which America And they were so much harden- was peopled, we are boued to ed in their infidelity, that they suppose, considering the uperring did not believe the preaching of wisdom of Providence, that a pasNoah, during the fifty or one hun sage was preserved, by which dred years that he was employed every animal, travelling by land, in building the ark. If profligate might come to America. men could have allowed them if ever there was a passage selves to believe that their sins from the other continent to Anewould be punished ; or, if men rica, by land, when, or how, did who had never seen a shower of it cease to exist ? Here we are rain, could have believed that left to travel in the field of pure the earth might be destroyed by conjecture ; for Moses has said a deluge, in a great manner caus- nothing explicit, or he has said ed by rain, they would have had very little on the subject. He recourse to ship-building to save tells us, indeed, that Peleg, the their lives ; and tight ships of fourth in descent from Shem, was any construction would have been called Peleg, because, “ in his safe upon a watery surface on days the earth was divided." which such a vessel as the ark What kind of division was that to could live. Therefore, we take which Moses refers? Was the for granted, that before the globe divided into two great conflood there had not been an ocean linents? Or was the human race, to pass, that required the use of by the confusion of tongues at shipping.

Babel, divided into a great pumIt will be admitted, that the ber of small societies, who were quantity of ocean-water was scattered over the face of the somewhat increased by the cir- earth? This last division may cumstances of the flood. Many have been effected nearly at the fragments of the original surface same time with the other. We of the earth, instead of settling are told, that at a certain period down in their former position, after the flood, the descendants of were so propped by one another Noah resolved to build a prodias to form mountains, and their giously tall monument, whose top, original places were filled by to use their own language, should ocean-water. Thus some part" reach unto heaven.of the great western ocean was pened not long after the birth of caused by the formation of the Peleg. But while they were Andes. But these incidents do engaged in that foolish and vain not account for the present im- project, the

the Supreme Being mensity of the ocean. Moses, thought fit to put a stop to the who is the only authority in whom building, by confounding their we can safely confide, has not in- language. Peleg was born, actimated in what manner this partcording to the Hebrew chropoloof the world was peopled by gy, one hundred and one years

This hap

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

after the flood; but he was born If it should be asked why we
four hundred and one years after have presumed that Africa, Asia,
the flood, according to the Sama- and Europe, formed part of the
ritan chronology: This differ- same continent with America, for
ence may have been caused by many years after the food? We
mistaking one letter of the alpha- reply, that such was assuredly
bet for another, when numbers the case, because America could
were designated by letters. We not have been peopled after the
presume that the Samaritan num- flood by any other means, accord-
bers, in this case, are correct ; ing to the course of nature. But
because, the human race, within this opinion is supported by sun.
one hundred and one years of the dry concurriog arguments, of
flood, could not have been suffi- 'which we shall mention two or
ciently numerous to have at- three.
tempied so vast a building as the Plato, who flourished about
tower of Babel. But within four four hundred years before the
hundred and one years of the Christian era, alleges that there
flood, when their number was had been a great island, called
probably ten times as great, they the Atlantis, where the Atlantic
may have attempted the work. ocean now exists ; and, that, upon
We presume, therefore, that Pe- the sinking of the island, the
leg was born 401 years after the ocean that succeeded was called
flood, and that the earth was di- by the same name. Now, thougla
vided, not at the time of his birth, it must have been near 1,500
but in the course of his life. The years between the sinking of dry
words of Moses are, “ for in bis land and the age of Plato, we
days the earth was divided.” His cannot be surprised that the tra-
father must have called him Peleg dition of an event so remarkable
in the spirit of prophecy, by should have extended to bis time;
which that remarkable epoch was nor was Plato the only writer
to be distinguished. The life of who refers to that tradition. Who-
Peleg did not exceed 239 years ; ever will cast his eye upon a map
and the great event, predicted of the Atlantic ocean, viewing
by his name, may have happened the Canary islands and the Ma-
about 120 years after his birth. deiras, the Bahema islands and
It will be considered, that during the Caribbees, will easily be per-
the whole of this time, from the suaded that those islands are no-
deluge to the division mentioned, thing else than the summits of
beasts, birds, and reptiles, were hills, or the mountainous parts of
increasing, and spreading them- a vast body of land, that is now
selves over the face of the eartb. covered by water. We count it
On the above supposition, that highly probable, that the greater
there was a passage by land frorn part of America was peopled by
the vicioity of mount Ararat to quadrupeds, from the western
America, the most sluggish qua- part of the other continent, before
druped may have reached Ame- any sea existed between the lati-
rica before the death of Peleg. 'tude of sixty degrees north and
It did not require that they the equator. For it can hardly.
should travel more than one be questioned, that there was a
mile in thirty days.

tiine in which Great Britain was

attached to France, and Irelandman race within four or five hus. to England. But we have no re- dred years of the flood. This cord of the time in which England conclusion, however, does not was separated from France, al. follow; and the present appearthough the proofs are sufficiently ance of the American natives is strong that they were formerly full proof that many a century united.

must have passed, after the flood, We have farther to observe, before certain colonies of people, and this observation claims the who are now called Indians, setreader's attention, that when tled in America. They had lived America was discovered by the so long in Europe, or Asia, before successors of Columbus, neither they migrated, as to bave acquithe horse, the ass, nor the cow, red the shape and appearance was found in this country. Not which is the natural effect of the that those beasts could not have climate from which they cane. travelled to America with as The Esqimaux Indian, on the much expedition as other qua- Labrador coast, is exceedingly drupeds, but they were prevent. different in size and appearance ed from rambling : they were from the Peruvian, wbo probably useful and necessary to the bu- came from the southern parts of man race, and were retained in a Asia. And it is not improbable state of constant servitude.* that the Mexicans and Peruvians They were never found in a wild had migrated at different periods state uptil long after the land from the other continent. 'Wben above mentioned was supk in the we take a view of the several ocean. It also deserves our at-tribes of lodians, who now live, tention, that in the island called or lately have lived here, comNew-Holland, or Australasia, an paring them with the small famiisland that is nearly as large as lies who live upon the adjacent all Europe, only a single species islands, considering the differof quadrupeds has been found; ence in their

appearance ;

and from which we infer, that all the the greater or less degree of dry land in the vicinity of that knowledge with which they have island must have sunk in the been possessed, we find no small ocean before the general race of difficulty in drawing a conclusion quadrupeds could bave reached concerning the length of time that land.t True it is, that au-during which they have lived in merous birds, and some of them America. with short wings, are found in The Mexicans, when visited New-Holland ; but we know that by Cortes, seem to have possesse birds migrate much faster than ed more knowledge thao usually quadrupeds. According to our falls to the lot of barbarians. The theory, it may be alleged that manner in which they had deAmerica was peopled by the hu- termined the true length of the

tropical year, gives full proof of The camel may have been detained in

considerable progress in astronothe same manner.

mical knowledge. Where did + The kanguroo, the quadruped to which they acquire that know ledge, or we refer, is a beast of great speed, and in whence did they obtain it? If the act of migrating must have outgone its cotemporaries.

the posterity of Noah, at the

[ocr errors]

time of the dispersion, had not all the moral precepts that were attained some degree of astrono- afterward committed to writing mical knowledge, it is not proba- by Moses, for the benefit of the ble, that, for many centuries, the Jews, at a period when the shortsmall colonies should have ob- ening of human life made it less tained a sufficient degree of lei- safe to trust the memory. We sure to improve themselves in shall try to illustrate this opinios. any branch of science. We sus. The antediluvians must have been pect that the Mexicans may have favoured by a very correct rule derived their knowledge from of faith and practice, else Enoch, Ham, a son of Noah; and that who, according to that rule, such knowledge, through many a

“ walked with God," could not century of ignorance, was pre have been so highly favoured as served by the Hindoos, is more to escape death ; the only man probable than in any other part who ever enjoyed that favour, exof the world. This supposition, cept one of the Jewish prophets. however, requires a belief that Moses directed the Jews to apthe antedilavians had made con- point six cities of refuge, three siderable progress in science as on each side of the river Jordan, well as in the mechanic arts. to which the manslayer should

It has not escaped general ob- fly to escape the avenger of servation, that certain historians blood, until he should obtain a have laboured with great dili trial. But he does not intimate gence to depreciate the know who was the avenger of blood, or ledge of the antediluvians. Ac- the man who had a right to kill cording to those writers, Adam, the manslayer. It follows that when formed, was incapable of the avenger of blood was a chaconversing by articulate sounds. racter well known among the He was left to find out words, or Jews : he was the nearest king. sounds, whereby to express his man of the person slain. This ideas the best way he could. To character, as we presume, was suppose that man, in a state well knowo from the creation of of innocence, a candidate for im- the world.

For this reason, mortality, was brought into life, when Cain discovered that his incapable of conversiog with his brother's blood was not concealcompanion, or with his Maker, is ed, he said, “ Every one that a supposition that nothing could findeth me shall slay me;" for have suggested but the desire of they were, in fact, all brethren subverting the Mosaic history of to the man he had slain. For man. It seems to have origina- this temporary mark of contrition ted in pure infidelity. Some the supreme Being was pleased Jewish Rabbis seem to have to give him a sign, lest any man, thought that they paid a consi- binding him, should slay him. The derable compliment to the know- Hebrew word that has been transledge of Noah, when they traced lated mark, is, in other places, to him five or six moral precepts, translated a sign. called by his name. To us it ap- was, that he should build and conpears very probable that Adam tinue in a city of refuge. He was instructed not simply in the built the city accordingly, and morality of the decalogue, but in his posterity, for several genera

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

And the sign

tions, impressed with a sense of presumed, that, for a few centu. the horrid crime of their ances- ries after the flood, the earth was tor, continued to live in that city, a single continent-for the same in fear of the avenger of blood ; reasons as there had been only therefore they became artiticers. one continent in the beginning. Lamech, the fifth in descent from But we alleged, that a short Cain, undertook to relieve his time after the confusion of lanwives from their groundless fears. guages at Babel, two continents He said, stating the case interro. were formed by the subsidence gatively, Have I slain ?-instead of dry land. This was, in fact, of stating it positively. It will the second curse that the earth then be, Have I slain a man to bad sustained, after the transmy wounding, or a young man to'gression of Adam, the deluge exmy hurt, as Cain did! Surely cepted. In the first case, the then, if the destroyer of Cain was earth brought forth thorns and to be punished (avenged) seven thistles ; and, “ in the sweat of fold, the killer of Lamech, who is his face,” man was compelled to personally innocent, shall be;" eat bread.” Upon the subsiavenged seventy and seven fold. dence of so much dry land, the The case of Judah and Tamar, ocean, as at present, covered his daughter-in-law, is another nearly two-thirds of the earth. proof that laws and regulations This was a heavy visitation. At had existed time out of mind, the flood a considerable part of long before Moses had published the dry land was converted into any laws-else Judah would not mountains, or covered by, sand. have proposed to have Tamar But, on this occasion, one-half burnt, because she had not wait. of the remaining dry land was ed to be married to his youngest converted into an

We son.

presume, that the dry land which During the whole of the fore disappeared a few centuries after going observations, we have been the flood—the land, in particular, compelled to deal, very much in where the Atlantic ocean now exconjectures ; because Moses, the ists—had not been crossed by any only authority on whom we can of the human race. For, though it Jean, says very little on the sub- had been crossed by quadrupeds, ject. But we count ourselves we know that men, who have justified in supposing certain more trouble in providing susteevents, when known facts are not nance, do not ramble half so fast. otherwise to be accounted for. No part of America, as we sus.

We have presumed, that when 'pect, was visited by men for the earth was created, a small many ages after that epoch. We part only, hardly a fourth part, have no authority for stating any was covered by water. We have conjecture why it was that so also presumed, that there was not great a part of the earth was then more than one continent. Such destroyed. But when we consiwas the case, for this obvious der how soon it was after the reason—that the whole earth flood that the greater part of the might be peopled without diffi- posterity of Noah debased themculty by the posterity of a single selves by gross idolatry, we are pair of animals. We have also, chiefly disposed to admire the

ocean.

« AnteriorContinuar »