Page images
PDF
EPUB

to God,* and feasted with his companions. to escape entirely; that as, if they be reserved However, the Armenians call this place for another deluge, while they must be afAtobulhkov, † the place of descent: for the Ark flicted with the terror and the sight of the being saved in that place, its remains are deluge, and must also be destroyed by a shewed by the inhabitants of this day. second. He also intreated God to accept of

Now all the writers of profane history make his sacrifice, and to grant, that the earth mention of this flood, and of this ark, among might never again undergo the like eflects of whom is Berosus, the Chaldean; for when he his wrath; that men might be permitted to was describing the circumstances of the go on cheerfully in cultivating the same; to flood, he goes on thus :

build cities, and live happily in them; and " It is said there is still some part of the that they might not be deprived of any of ship, in Armenia, at the mountain of the Cor those good things which they enjoyed before dyæans; and that some people carry off the flood; but might attain to the old age pieces of the bitumen, which they take away, which the ancient people had arrived at beand use, chiefly as amulets, for the averting fore. of mischiefs.” Hieronymus the Egyptian also, When Noah had made these supplications, who wrote the Phænician Antiquities; and God, who loved the man for his righteousness, Manaseas, and many more make mention of granted his prayers: and said, “ that it was the same. Nay, Nicolaus of Damascus, in not he who brought the destruction on a polhis ninety-sixth Book, hath a particular rela luted world, but that they underwent that tion about them, where he speaks thus : vengeance on account of their own wicked" There is a great mountain in Armenia, ness; and that he had not brought men into over Minyas, called Baris; upon which it is the world if he had himself determined to de. reported that many who fled at the time of stroy them; it being an instance of greater the deluge were saved; and that one who wisdom not to have granted them life at all, was carried in an ark, came on shore upon than, after it was granted to procure their the top of it, and that the remains of the destruction. But the injuries," said he, “ they timber were a great while preserved: this offered to my holiness and virtue, forced me might be the man about whom Moses, the to bring this punishment upon them; but I will islator of the Jews wrote."

leave off for the time to come to require such But as for Noah, he was afraid, since God punishments, the effects of so great wrath, had determined to destroy mankind, lest he for their future wicked actions; and especially should drown the earth every year. So he on account of thy prayers. But if I shall at offered burnt offerings, and besought God any time send tempests of rain in an extrathat nature might hereafter go on in its former ordinary manner, be not aflrighted at the orderly course, and that he would not bring | copiousness of the showers, for the water on so great a judgment any more, by which shall no more overspread the earth. However the whole race of creatures might be in dan I require you to abstain from shedding the ger of destruction; but that, having now blood of men, and to keep yourselves pure punished the wicked, he would of his good from murder, and to punish those who comness spare the remainder, and such as he had mit any such thing; I permit you to make use hitherto judged fit to be delivered from so of all the other living creatures, at your pleasevere a calamity; for that otherwise these

sure, and as your appetites lead you; for I last must be more miserable than the first, and have made you lords of them all; both of that they must be condemned to a worse con those that walk on the land, and those that dition than the others, unless they be suffered swim in the waters, and of those that fly in * Gen. viii. 20.

first city or town after the flood. See Antiq. xx. 2, and † This place of descent is the proper interpretation of Moses Chorenensis, page 71–72. Who also says, page the Armenian name of this city. It is called in Ptolemy 19, that, another town was related by tradition to have Naxuana, and by Moses Chorenensis, the Armenian His been called Seron, or the place of dispersion, on account torian, Idsheuan ; but at the place itself Nichidsheuan, of the first dispersion of Xisuthrus's or Noah's sons from which signifies the first place of descent; and is a lasting thence. Whether any remains of this Ark he still premonument of the preservation of Noah in the Ark upon served, as the people of the country suppose, I cannot certhe top of that Mountain, at whose foot it was built, as the tainly tell.

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

the regions of the air on high, excepting the blood, for therein is the life. But I will give you a sign that I have laid aside my anger by my bow;"* whereby is meant the rainbow: for they determined that the rainbow was the bow of God. And when God had said and promised thus, he went away,

Now when Noah had lived three hundred and fifty years after the flood, and all that time happily, he died; being nine hundred and fifty years old, but let no one, upon comparing the lives of the ancients with our lives, and with the few years which we now live, think that what we have said of them is false; or make the shortness of our lives at present an argument that they did not attain to so long a duration of life; for those ancients were beloved of God, and lately made by God himself; and, because their food was then fitter for the prolongation of life, might well live so great a number of years. And besides, God afforded them a longer time of life on account of their virtue, and the good use they made of it in astronomical and geometrical discoveries, which would not have afforded them time for foretelling the periods of the stars, unless they had lived six hundred years, for the great year is completed in that interval.

Now I have for witnesses to what I have said all those that have written antiquities, both among the Greeks and Barbarians; for even Manetho, who wrote the Egyptian History; and Berosus, who collected the Chaldean Monuments; and Mochus, and Hestiaus, and besides these, Hieronymus, the Egyptian, and those that compose the Phoenician History, agree to what I here say. Hesiodt also, and Hecatæus, and Hellanicus, and Aculsilaus; and besides these, Ephorus and Nicolaus relate, that the ancients lived a thousand years. But, as to these matters, let every one look upon them as they think fit.

years before the deluge. These first of all descended from the mountains into the plains, and fixed their habitation there and persuaded others, who were greatly afraid of the lower grounds on account of the flood, and so were very loth to come down from the higher places, to venture to follow their example. Now the plain in which they first dwelt was called Shinar. God also commanded them to send colonies abroad, for the thorough peopling of the earth, that they might not raise seditions among themselves, but might cultivate a great part of the earth, and enjoy its fruits after a plentiful manner; but they were so ill-instructed, that they did not obey God, for which reason they fell into calamities, and were made sensible by experience of what sin they had been guilty of; for when they flourished with a numerous youth, God admonished them again to send out colonies; but they imagining that the prosperity they enjoyed was not derived from the favour of God, but supposing that their own power was the proper cause of the plentiful condition they were in, did not obey him. Nay, they added to this disobedience to the divine will, the suspicion that they were ordered to send out separate colonies, that, being divided asunder, they might the more easily be oppressed.

Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God; he was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He perSuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it were through his means that they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage that procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other method of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a con"stant dependence on his own power.

He also said, “ He would be revenged on God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach, and that he would avenge himself on God for destroying their fore-fathers.

Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod, and to

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

clined to think the writer here meant was Isidorus Characenus, who produced instances of kings who reigned a long time. But since the Greek copies, have constantly Hesiod,

F

was.

HOW EVERY NATION WAS DENOMINATED FROM THEIR FIRST

INHABITANTS.

esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to languages, and went out by colonies every God; and they built a tower, neither sparing where; and each colony took possession of any pains, nor being at any degree negligent that land unto which God led them, so that about the work; and by reason of the multi the whole continent was filled with them, both tude of hands employed in it, it grew very the inland and maritime countries. There high sooner than any one could expect, but were some also who passed over the sea in the thickness of it was so great, and it was so ships, and inhabited the islands; and some of strorigly built, that thereby its great height those nations still retain the denominations seemed, upon view, to be less than it really which were given them by their first foun

It was built of burnt brick, cemented ders, but some have lost them, and some have together with mortar, made of bitumen, that only admitted certain changes in them, that it might not be liable to admit water. When they might be more intelligible to the inGod saw them acting so madly, he did not re habitants; and they were the Greeks who solve to destroy them utterly, since they were became the authors of such mutations; for not grown wiser by the destruction of the for when, in after ages they grew potent, they mer sinners, but he caused a tumult among claimed to themselves the glory of antiquity, them by producing in them divers languages, giving names to the nations that sounded well and causing that through the multitude of in Greek, that they might be better underthose languages, they should not be able to stood among themselves, and setting agreeaunderstand one another. The place wherein ble forms of government over them, as if they they built the tower is now called Babylon, were a people derived from themselves. because of the confusion of that language which they readily understood before, for the

CHAP. VI. Hebrew means by the word Babel,* confusion. The Sibylt also makes mention of the tower, and of the confusion of the language, when she says thus:" When all men

TOW they were the grand-children of were of one language, some of them built an Noah, in honour of whom names were high tower, as if they would thereby ascend

imposed on the nations by those that first up to heaven, but the gods sent storms of seized upon them. Japhet, the son of Noah, wind, and overthrew the tower, and gave had seven sons; they inhabited so, that beevery one his peculiar language; and for this

ginning at the mountains Taurus and Amanus, reason it was that the city was called Baby- || they proceeded along Asia, as far as the river lon.” But as to the plain of Shinah, in the Tanais, and along Europe to Cadiz, and country of Babylonia, Hestiæus mentions it

settling themselves on the lands they chose, when he says, “ Such of the priests as were which none had inhabited before, they called saved took the sacred vessels of Jupiter Enya- || the nations by their own names; for Gomer lius, and came to Shinar or Babylonia.” founded those whom the Greeks called GalaCHAP. V.

tians, but were then called Gomerites. Magog

founded those that from him were named Magogites, but who are by the Greeks called

Scythians. Now as to Javan and Madai, the FTER this they were dispersed abroad sons of Japhet: from Madai came the Ma

on account of the difference of their deans, which are called Medes by the Greeks, and since Hesiod says, that men's lives were once so long, † See this testimony in the original, and in English in that at one hundred years of age they might be esteemed my Edition of the Sibylline oracles, page 11. 93, 94. but great infants, I prefer that reading. But what a catalogue there it is in verse, as here in prose, the reason of which of ancient authors are there that confirm the sacred His difference I by no means understand. But what is here tory in one of its most difficult branches ! To which had remarkable is, that Moses Chorenensis, the Armenian his. Josephus read the Latin authors, as he did the Greek, he torian, confirms this history, that God overthrew this tower might have added Varro, the most learned of the Romans by a terrible and divine storm; and confounded the lanwho made this enquiry, what the reason was that the an guage of the builders, and this from the earliest records cients were supposed to have lived one thousand years ? belonging to that nation.

Gen. xi. 29.

OF THE MANNER IN WHICH THE POSTERITY OF NOAH SENT

OUT COLONIES, AND INHABITED THE WHOLE EARTH.

A A

« PreviousContinue »