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but that there are indications that a partial, though in itself an extensive, subsidence and submergence did probably take place in the countries surrounding Ararat and the Caspian Sea at no distant period of time, destructive of course to all the animal creation within its sphere, unless so far as some may have been preserved by human exertion. Besides, it is manifestly impossible that every known species of terrestrial animal could have been congregated from arctic and tropical climes on one spot in Southern Asia, and from thence diffused over mountains and across seas to the remote bounds of the earth where they are now found. And accordingly, it has been shown that the Hebrew text of the record of the Flood does not represent, and necessitate a belief, that the Noachian deluge was more than a partial or local catastrophe, or that it prevailed over any part of the earth's surface more extensive than that occupied by the race of Adam at that early period of their history, and destroyed them, with the exception of Noah's family, and the comparatively few species of the animals with which they were surrounded in that country.
hesitate to adopt this reading of the Scripture record, it is open to them to reject it without injury to their faith in the great doctrines of redemption ; but they must lose the testimony of the truth of the Divine record, which is, as it were, speaking from the very ground; and lagging behind on the highway of knowledge, they will find their usefulness as instructors impaired, and that many who ought to be their disciples will have become their masters.
We now approach the narrative of another event
recorded in the early chapters of Genesis, which has not met with as much discussion as the records of the Creation and the Flood. I allude to the confusion of tongues and the dispersion at Babel, which is about to engage our attention.
After the waters had swept over the abode of Adam's race, it became the mission of Noah's family, consisting of eight persons, to replenish, or colonize, the earth with their descendants. How that mission was fulfilled, and how that the arm of the Lord was stretched out to effect His purpose, is recorded in the Book of Genesis ; and that the record of Shinar is true, I shall now proceed to show.
The localities of the three leading events of primeval history—the Creation of Adam and his fall, the Flood, and the Confusion of Language—are marked on the map of the world by the confluence of two rivers, by a mountain, and by a plain. Euphrates and Hiddekel, or Tigris, meet on the site of Eden, the scene of Adam's creation and fall. The mountains of Ararat look down upon the lands that were covered by the flood in the days of Noah. And the plains of Shinar witnessed the confusion of speech that caused a severance of the family of that patriarch, that has never been restored, and continues to the present hour. We are thus led to Mesopotamia, in South-Western Asia, the country of the two great rivers, Euphrates and Tigris, which descend from the mountains of Ararat, in the high lands of Armenia, water the plains of Shinar, join their streams where Eden bloomed, and pour their combined waters into the Persian Gulf. From the regions of Ararat
the families of Shem, Ham, and Japhet journeyed instinctively down the banks of the Euphrates, or of the Tigris, until they reached the plains of Shinar, or Babylonia ; and there they commenced to build a tower, or temple, of bricks and slime; and there it was that the Almighty effected a separation of the three tribes by confounding their common language, so that they could not understand each other's speech; and they left off to build the city, and were scattered abroad on the face of the earth. In this ancient record, we have also a sketch of the different countries that were occupied by the several tribes, who appear to have been kept separate and distinct from each other in their subsequent settlements and pilgrimages, and two of which are manifestly distinct to the present hour.
Let us now proceed to trace the destinies of these three tribes, and to establish by convincing evidence, principally of recent discovery, that there was a dispersion of the descendants of a family situate as that of Noah was in the East, and that the supernatural event of a radical change of language must have taken place before, or at the time of, their first separation. And further, that even if the Bible had not been written, we should, in these days, have been able to arrive at the knowledge that occurrences, similar to those recorded in the tenth and eleventh chapters of Genesis, had taken place about the time, and in the manner, therein stated.
And, first, as to the separation as recorded in Genesis. The Cushite branch of Ham is described in the tenth chapter as remaining in the possession of Shinar, the site of Babel or Babylon : the Canaanite branch of the same tribe was settled to the west, in the district which was afterwards known as the Holy Land; and a third branch, Mizraim, descended into Egypt. The early descendants of Shem established themselves to the north and east of Shinar and the Tigris, in Elam and Assyria, and in the way going down to Egypt. And the sons of Japhet took more distant flights to remoter districts, in the direction of Russia, Greece, and Hindostan.
To begin with Ham. This tribe occupies an imposing position in the early histories of civilised communities, as if to compensate for their subsequent obscurity. Their history, as preserved by Moses, is, that Nimrod, who is styled “a mighty hunter before the Lord,' was the founder of the four cities of Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. In this description we recognise Chaldæa, or Babylonia, in Mesopotamia, which all profane history and tradition proclaim to have been the site of the most ancient known kingdom of the world, the eldest born of all the civilised communities that have ever existed, and the descendant of none. Bounded by the sea on the south, and traversed by two great rivers, it was well situated for communication and commerce with other parts of the globe, and promised a lasting enjoyment of worldly prosperity, if local advantages could uphold a people blighted by the withdrawal of the dew of God's blessing, which had been extended to the families of Shem and Japhet by the mouth of their father Noah. Here, beyond doubt, was the scene of the events recorded in the eleventh chapter of Genesis. The whole country of Mesopotamia presents an expanse of alluvial soil deposited in past ages by its two great arteries, Euphrates and Tigris. No stone for building, or lime for mortar, are to be found within its borders. It is notably the land of bricks and bituminous slime to this hour, and was the same when Babel reared its arrogant head to the heavens, and drew down the wrath of the Almighty on the presumptuous architects and builders. Nothing in these plains now meets the eye of the traveller but solitary mounds, the remains of ruined cities, silent witnesses for the truth of prophecy for the last two thousand years, but which have revealed, in these latter days, to the enterprising ' research of English and French investigators a history of the past, which has dispelled the clouds that rested on the ancient Babylonia, till now one of the most obscure chapters in the world's history, and disclosed some of its important details.
The labours of Layard, Botta, Loftus, and Taylor have brought to light the long-buried cities and temples of Chaldæa and Assyria — colossal edifices of brick, cemented with bituminous slime; and on these bricks are stamped, in strange cuneiform characters, the names, titles, and achievements of the founders and architects. Clay tablets and cylinders have also been brought to light in abundance, covered with inscriptions in the same characters; and those found at Nineveh contain, as Sir Henry Rawlinson informs us, treatises on almost every subject under the sun - grammar, chronology, astronomy, geography, and history—a per