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properties; but even these proofs are constantly with those persons that cavil against the truth, conveniently or perhaps inadvertently overlooked, whenever premeditated contradiction is deliberately intended to be advanced in direct opposition to an absolute fact. It ought not, therefore, to surprise us, that those who admire and cite the example of the licentious ages of the world, should forget the impiety and immorality of antiquity so congenial to the taste of the natural man, who neither desires to hear of the universality of the deluge, nor of the preservation of the church of Christ by means of the ark, such truths being neither agreeable to their feelings, nor congenial to their way of life. Yet, if objectors would nicely examine the cubic dimensions* of this vessel, its amazing and enormous tonnage
will be found amply sufficient for the magnitude of the occasion for which it was built ; it therefore only remains to point out the most probable
* Extract from “ Scripture Biography,” by the late learned and pious John Watkins, L.L.D.
“ Allowing the cubit to be eighteen inches, it will make the ark to contain one million seven hundred and eighty-one thousand four hundred and thirteen tons." Who ever heard of a vessel of such tonnage ?
form of a vessel, which had the all-wise God for its superintending builder.
In advancing any speculative opinions concerning the model of the ark, we must lose sight of that improved and increasing celerity of motion, the practical result of mechanical ingenuity, rendered desirable and necessary in the rapid transmission of property and armed power by maritime conveyance, and where conjectural opinion is left in a great measure to the very fallible exercise and discretionary power of the reader or writer, our respect must first be had to the omniscience of the Creator of the universe. And this is, in reality to begin with the Beginner of all things, under whose direction and personal superintendence this enormous vessel was constructed, and whose prescience before the commencement of Noah's labours, had present to his all-seeing eye,
its progress, completion, and the amount of every different description of life rescued from the ruinous inundation of the deluge, eternally before him. Now, in an event which finds no parallel in the occurrences of the history of the world, we must be careful in the exercise of rational supposition, to have respect only to probable events, evidently resulting from, and appertaining to, an omnipotent and incomprehensible power. First, then, with respect to the frame of the ark, in the absence of actual communication on that head, (and which the Creator withheld, because not necessary to the salvation of man) it may justly be inferred, that the ark was built with a flat bottom, which, in the outset, would render needless all that immense labour unavoidably attendant upon the excavation of a dock; besides, a vessel modelled in this particular way, would be found to possess a superior power of buoyancy, be less agitated by the violence of the waves, and would not be liable to receive an inclined* motion when first put in action, by the alarming descent of waters, and their tumultous violence on the surface of the earth, and which would subject a vessel constructed as ours generally now are, to the danger of being bulged, and consequently wrecked in the commencement of the very act of floating. To this evident security must also be added all the additional advantages of increased room for stowage, which a flat
floored vessel would possess beyond one of any other construction. And although the safety of the ark, or Church of Christ, (I speak after the manner of a man,) could not be dependent in any possible sense on human contingencies, yet, in reasoning on super-human events, it is plainly and indubitably both the duty and prerogative of a writer; though with no great chance or prospect of converting atheistical objectors to the truth, yet in the full and indisputable right of guarding others against unwarily adopting heretical opinions, thus to speak. In conclusion, a flat-floored vessel, on the subsiding of the waters, would be again found to possess all the benefits of those qualities, of taking the ground, the advantages of which she had already proved herself to possess, when the adverse action of the rising and descending waters first put her into motion at the commencement of the deluge, and which continued to ensure her safety during the flood, and her final security when grounding on Mount Ararat.
Having, as briefly as circumstances could well admit of, shown that creation, government, and judgment are vested in the Lord Jesus
Christ-spoken of the rainbow as a guarantee against the universality of another flood-and concluded by offering some reflections respecting the ark; we will return in the next chapter to the meaning of the words “image” and “ likeness," mentioned by Moses in the sacred history of the creation of man, and then pursuing the course of events, will connect the import of that word with that amazing mystery and mercy of God, manifest in the flesh agreeably to what has been through time predictively declared in the inspired volume of “the book.”