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THE ASSUAGING OF THE WATERS.
“And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry. And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried. And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him: every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.
“And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord, and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more everything living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
“And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; and with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. And I will establish my covenant with you: neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my how in the cloud, and it shall be for á token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: and I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.”—Gen. viii. 13-22, ix. 8-15.
P. You may get your map of Asia, Willie, and look for the Caspian Sea. Near there is a lofty mountain called MounT ARARAT, where olive-trees and vines grow.
The Bible tells us that “on the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month,” the ark of Noah rested on this mountain. We read, too, that, as Noah saw that the waters were becoming lower and lower every day, he waited until the end of forty days, and sent forth a raven; the bird did not return to him, but went “to and fro” until the waters were dried up. He then thought it likely that there were some dry places on the earth for the raven to stand upon, and he sent forth a dove.
You may read that this dove could not find any resting-place for the sole of her foot, and that she returned unto the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth.
W. Then I wonder why the raven did not come back too-was it drowned ? Perhaps it flew a long way until it was very tired and could not fly back again-then it would drop into the water. Ion. I don't think that a raven would be so silly. I have thought of something else. A raven can eat flesh-so if it saw a dead animal floating it might fly down upon it, and peck at it.
W. Ah, I did not think of that.
P. Noah sent the dove out again after seven days. I will read you a verse from the Bible.
" And he staid yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; and the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off.” Ion. I suppose that
the waters must then have gone down as far as the tops of the trees. Perhaps there were olive-trees growing on the mountain, as there are now.
P. There might have been. Noah stayed in the ark other seven days, and then he opened the window and sent forth the dove, but it did not return to him any more. So, in the 601st year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up, and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry. If you had been in Noah's place what would you have done then ?
W. I should have opened the door, and have made haste out.
P. But Noah did not. He remembered that God had shut him in, and he waited patiently until he heard from God. God's message did not come for many days, but still Noah waited. It was not until the second month, and the twenty-seventh day, that God told Noah to go forth.
W. Why, that was a month and twenty-six days after the time when the dove went ! It was a very long time to wait.
P. It was better to do that than make a mistake. I should think that Noah was a patient, quiet, and obedient man. He would not care to be only pleasing himself-he would think it was a much more pleasant thing to wait for God's commands, and to work out his will. Noah, and his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japhet; and his wife, and his sons' wives, with every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl after their kind, then went forth out of the ark. How different would the feelings of Noah and his wife be, to those of Adam. The love of God was upon them, and they felt happy in His sight. They knew that they and their sons would have to people this world again, and they looked upon it as belonging to them and their posterity.
W. And the animals too, how glad they must have been! I think they must have made a great bustle and noise coming out-they would be in such a hurry.
Ada. Yes. And the lions !-I know what they would do; they would make haste into the old woods again, and they would give a good loud roar; the forest would be such a nice place to roar in-the leaves would hang down, and be silent, and no doves would be singing there!
Ion. But the ark would be the most silent place—all the rooms would be so strange and empty. What did Noah do with the ark?
P. I cannot tell you. Let us think where he and his sons would
When they felt the fresh breezes which blew across this strangely altered world, and saw the cheerful look of the plains, covered with bright green, their hearts would be glad, and they would be thankful to God that they had been spared. They would think to themselves, “We shall be glad to live here a little longer; for, all the rest of our lives we will serve the mighty God who has preserved us!”
L. But where would they live, papa? I suppose that they would begin to build a house dircetly.
P. No. We read that they first built an altar unto the Lord, and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burntofferings on the altar. I once saw a picture of the old man, Noah, offering the sacrifice. He had made a square place with stones, and on the top of the stones was some animal which he had just killed with a knife that he had in his hand. There was some wood, too, on the altar, which I suppose he was going to set light to, and burn the animal. In the picture, Noah was standing on some high ground; and his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japhet, with their wives, were standing around him. In the distance stood the ark on a hill, and the sight of that ark
W. Did they ever walk round it, outside, to look at it?
P. I dare say that they did; and the sight of that ark which they had lived in, and the country which they were to live in, would make them all feel grateful. They would think again—"God has taken care of us for a long time; so, even before we find another resting-place, we will take care of our duty to Him, and will thank Him.”
You may, by reading the text, find that God was pleased with Noah's sacrifices; and He said, I will not curse the earth any more for man's sake. He then made this kind promise to Noah-a promise which has been faithfully kept:
" While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease.”
You may read, too, that God blessed Noah and his sons. He told them to be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth with people. He also made an agreement with them, or covenant, as it is called. By this covenant God promised that He would not destroy the earth again by a flood, and He gave them a sign in the heavens which people might often see, and thus remember His promise. This sign is frequently seen by men now, and will be seen by men even to the end of the world. Do you know what it is?
Ion. I don't, papa. Was it a star?
P. No, it was a beautiful bow of seven different colours, which stretched across the heavens from one part of the horizon to another.
This bow is caused by the shining of the sun on drops of rain; so it is called the Rainbow. As it is seen in the heavens after a shower of rain, it is a very good sign to help us to remember the Deluge. The people who lived soon after the food would be very glad to see it, for at every shower of rain they might begin to fear least it should become a flood; but the rainbow would remind them of God's promise, and would quiet their fears. Whenever the Jews see a rainbow, it is their custom to bless God.
This covenant which God made with Noah must have pleased him