« НазадПродовжити »
flood, seems deducible from Holy Scripture, Gen. ix, “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.” From whence notwithstanding we cannot conclude the non-existence of the rainbow, nor is that chronology naturally established, which computeth the antiquity of effects arising from physical and settled causes, by additional impositions from voluntary determinators. Now by the decree of reason and philosophy, the rainbow hath its ground in nature, as caused by the rays of the sun, falling upon a rorid and opposite cloud, whereof some reflected, others refracted, beget that semi-circular variety we generally call the rainbow, which must succeed
upon concurrence of causes and subjects aptly predisposed. And therefore to conceive there was no rainbow before, because God chose this out as a token of the covenant, is to conclude the existence of things from their signalities, or of what is objected unto the sense, a coexistence with that which is internally presented unto the understanding. With equal reason we may infer there was no water before the institution of baptism, nor bread and wine before the Holy Eucharist.
Again, while men deny the antiquity of one rainbow, they anciently concede another. For beside the solary iris which God shewed unto Noah, there is a lunary, whose efficient is the moon, visible only in the night, most commonly called at full moon, and some degrees above the horizon. Now the existence hereof men do not controvert, although effected by a different luminary in the same way with the other. And probably it appeared later, as being of rare appearance and rarer observation, and many there are which think there is no such thing in nature; and therefore by casual spectators they are looked upon like prodigies, and significations made, not signified by their natures.
Lastly, we shall not need to conceive God made the rainbow at this time, if we consider that in its created and predisposed nature, it was more proper for this signification, than any other meteor or celestial appearancy whatsoever. Thunder and lightning had too much terror to have been tokens of mercy. Comets or blazing stars appear too seldom to put us in mind of a covenant to be remembered often, and
might rather signify the world should be once destroyed by fire, than never again by water. The galaxia or milky circle had been more probable ; for beside that unto the latitude of thirty, it becomes their horizon twice in four and twenty hours, and unto such as live under the equator, in that space the whole circle appeareth, part thereof is visible unto any situation ; but being only discoverable in the night, and when the air is clear, it becomes of unfrequent and comfortless signification. A fixed star had not been visible unto all the globe, and so of too narrow a signality in a covenant concerning all. But rainbows are seen unto all the world, and every position of sphere. Unto our own elevation they may appear in the morning, while the sun hath attained about forty-five degrees above the horizon, which is conceived the largest semidiameter of any iris, and so in the afternoon when it hath declined unto that altitude again, which height the sun not attaining in winter, rainbows may happen with us at noon or any time. Unto a right position of sphere they may appear three hours after the rising of the sun, and three before its setting; for the sun ascending fifteen degrees an hour, in three attaineth forty-five of altitude. Even unto a parallel sphere, and such as live under the pole, for half a year some segments may appear at any time and under any quarter, the sun not setting but walking round about them.
But the propriety of its election most properly appeareth in the natural signification and prognostic of itself; as containing a mixed signality of rain and fair weather. For, being in a rorid cloud and ready to drop, it declareth a pluvious disposure in the air ; but because, when it appears, the sun must also shine, there can be no universal showers, and consequently no deluge. Thus, when the windows of the great deep were open, in vain men looked for the rainbow; for at that time it could not be seen, which after appeared unto Noah. It might be therefore existent before the flood, and had in nature some ground of its addition. Unto that of nature God superadded an assurance of its promise, that is, never to hinder its appearance or so to replenish the heavens again, as that we should behold it no more. And thus, without disparaging the promise, it might rain at the same time
when God shewed it unto Noah; thus was there more therein than the heathens understood when they called it the nuncia of the gods, and the laugh of weeping heaven ;* and thus may be elegantly said, I put my bow, not my arrow in the clouds, that is, in the menace of rain, the mercy of fair weather.
Cabalistical heads, who from that expression in Isaiah,ť do make a book of heaven, and read therein the great concernments of earth, do literally play on this, and from its semicircular figure (resembling the Hebrew letter caph, whereby is signified the uncomfortable number of twenty, at which years Joseph was sold, which Jacob lived under Laban, and at which men were to go to war,) do note a propriety in its sig. nification; as thereby declaring the dismal time of the deluge. And Christian conceits do seem to strain as high, while from the irradiation of the sun upon a cloud, they apprehend the mystery of the sun of righteousness in the obscurity of flesh, by the colours green and red, the two destructions of the world by fire and water, or by the colours of blood and water, the mysteries of baptism, and the Holy Eucharist.8
Laudable therefore is the custom of the Jews, who upon the
appearance of the rainbow, do magnify the fidelity of God in the memory of his covenant, according to that of Syracides, “Look upon the rainbow, and praise him that made it.” And though some pious and Christian pens have only symbolized the same from the mystery of its colours, yet are there other affections which might admit of theological allusions. Nor would he find a more improper subject, that should consider that the colours are made by refraction of light, and the shadows that limit that light; that the centre of the sun, the rainbow, and the eye of the beholder must be in one right line, that the spectator must be between the sun and the rainbow, that sometime three appear, sometime one reversed. With many others, considerable in meteorolo
* Cabalistical heads, &c.] The present first noticed in the last chapter of book vi, paragraph was first added in the 2nd edi- p. 291. tion, in which also the same subject was
gical divinity, which would more sensibly make out the epithet of the heathens, * and the expression of the son of Syrach, “Very beautiful is the rainbow, it compasseth the heaven about with a glorious circle, and the hands of the Most High have bended it."
Of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
CONCERNING the three sons of Noah, Shem, Ham,and Japheth, that the order of their nativity was according to that of enumeration, and Japheth the youngest son, (as most believe, as Austin and others account), the sons of Japheth, and Europeans need not grant, nor will it so well concord unto the letter of the text, and its readiest interpretations. For so is it said in our translation, Shem the father of all the sons of Heber, the brother of Japheth the elder, so by the Septuagint,
9 that the order of the nativity, &c.] while the possessions of Ham and Japheth, Mr. C. T. Beke, in the 5th chapter of Shem's younger brothers, were situated, his Origines Biblicæ, takes some pains to as they would naturally be imagined to prove not only that Shem and not Japheth have been, on either side of the paternal was Noah's eldest son (a point admitting seat.” He further endeavours to invalisome controversy), but that “the order in date the argument against Shem's seniwhich the names of these three great ority, drawn from the 10th Gen. ver. 21, progenitors of the human species are -"unto Shem also the father of all the invariably placed when mentioned toge- children of Eber, the brother of Japheth ther in the sacred volume, may therefore the elder,”—by an examination of similar be regarded as the order of their birth.” passages which would admit, is not favour Whereas “it is plainly delivered,” as the interpretation which Sir Thomas noSir Thomas remarks, that Ham, whose tices, as given to this passage by the Vulname stands invariably second, was the gate and others, viz. “the elder brother youngest son—a fact which absolutely of Japheth." Neither does he admit the overthrows this argument in favour of chronology to be conclusive against Shem, Shem's primogeniture, leaving the way but concludes, after a lengthened conopen to its consideration on other grounds. sideration of the point, that “ there could Mr. Beke contends that its probability not have been a sufficient interval beis “strengthened by the situation of the tween the 500th year of Noah's life, and country, which, in his opinion, was occu the birth of the father of Arphaxad pied by Shem and his descendants, name- (Shem), to allow of the intervention of ly that in which Noah himself resided, an elder son."
and so by that of Tremellius. And therefore when the Vulgar reads it, Fratre Japhet majore, the mistake, as Junius observeth, might be committed by the neglect of the Hebrew accent, which occasioned Jerome so to render it, and many after to believe it. Nor is that argument contemptible which is deduced from their chronology, for probable it is that Noah had none of them before, and begat them from that year when it is said he was five hundred years old, and begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Again it is said he was six hundred years old at the flood, and that two years after Shem was but an hundred; therefore Shem must be born when Noah was five hundred and two, and some other before in the year
of five hundred and one.
Now whereas the Scripture affordeth the priority of order unto Shem, we cannot from thence infer his primogeniture. For in Shem the holy line was continued, and therefore however born, his genealogy was most remarkable. So is it not unusual in Holy Scripture to nominate the younger before the elder. So is it said, that * Terah beget Abraham, Nachor and Haram; whereas Haram was the eldest. So Rebeccat is termed the mother of Jacob and Esau. Nor is it strange the younger should be first in nomination, who have commonly had the priority in the blessings of God, and been first in his benediction. So Abel was accepted before Cain, Isaac the younger preferred before Ishmael the elder, Jacob before Esau, Joseph was the youngest of twelve, and David the eleventh son and minor cadet of Jesse.
Lastly, though Japheth were not elder than Shem, yet must we not affirm that he was younger than Cham; for it is plainly delivered, that, after Shem and Japheth had covered Noah, he awaked and knew what his youngest son had done unto him; vios ó veuregos is the expression of the Septuagint, Filius minor of Jerome, and minimus of Tremellius. And upon these grounds perhaps Josephus doth vary from the Scripture enumeration, and nameth them Shem, Japheth, and Cham: which is also observed by the Annian Berosus, Noah cum tribus filiis, Semo, Jepeto, Chem. And therefore, although