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leisure in humble attempts to illustrate the attributes and perfections of a Deity in whom we implicitly believe, and the nature and reality of those expressive symbols by which his glory has been manifested to his creatures. And we will prize our immaculate science, symbolized by the purity of our clothing, which leads to results which cannot fail to be highly beneficial to every true and faithful brother, if received with fidelity, and practised uniformly and conscientiously in every circumstance and situation of life.
ON THE DELUGE.
We have now arrived by a systematic gradation, at that terrible event which almost annihilated the human race; and though the subject rather belongs to a collateral Degree than to genuine Masonry; yet as the Ark of Noah, the Rainbow, and the Dove and Olive Branch have been introduced amongst our legitimate emblems, a Lecture on the subject may not be improperly introduced, as the Deluge forms a prominent feature in all the ancient mysteries; and a tradition of this signal judgment was universally prevalent in every region of the world.
In the concluding period of the antediluvian world, human wickedness, originating in the apostacy of Cain/ had been increasing for many centuries. New modes of outrage were daily invented, which tended to alienate man still farther from original purity, until at length the world became universally corrupt, and the unlimited vengeance of God, was poured out on the whole creation. This judgment had been denounced by a succession of holy men without producing the desired effect; and it has been observed, that in the age immediately preceding the deluge, the wickedness and presumption of mankind exceeded the impiety and corruption of any succeeding age. Noah was deputed to give these sinners a final warning, which, as usual, they rejected, and made the holy man a byeword and a reproach. An Ark was therefore directed to be built for the preservation of Noah and his house; but the workmen who constructed this stupendous vessel perished in the flood. "While Noah was employed about the building, the wicked rallied him saying, to what purpose is a vessel made in the open plain at such a distance from the water? Others said to him in the way of ridicule, which has passed into a proverb, you have made a ship, now therefore bring the water to it. Others again insulted him, telling him, that after having practised for a long time the trade of a husbandman, he was at last reduced to that of a carpenter. But his answer to them was, I shall have my turn, and you will learn at your expence, who it is that punishes the wicked in this world, and reserves chastisements for them hereafter in another."*
The form of the Ark, like that of a Mason's Lodge, was an oblong square; so long, says Calmet, that few European Churches exceed it. In this Ark were saved Noah, his three sons and wives; in all eight persons. Some say that they embarked near the place where Babylon was afterwards built; others tell us that they embarked in the Indies; and during the time they continued in the Ark, they compassed the whole world.'
* Calmet, Hist. Die. vol. i. p. 192.
And now the fountains of the great deep were broken up and the rain descended in overwhelming torrents. The roaring of the elements, the gushing of the mighty waters, and the universal confusion of nature's works struck the inhabitants of the earth with compunction and horror. But it was too late. What was the pitiless situation of the mockers and unbelievers, when they saw the waters bursting with irresistible violence from the caverns of the earth, and from the fountains of the deep? What were their sensations when they beheld the inundating' torrents of rain incessantly pouring from the heavens for the space of forty days and nights? With what dismay must they have been covered, if it be true, as is conjectured from the second chapter of Genesis and the fifth and sixth verses, that their was no rain before the flood, and that consequently this was the first instance of the kind they had ever witnessed? An awful display of the tremendous wrath of God upon obdurate sinners! "How were they amazed at the strangeness of Noah's preservation, so far beyond all that they looked for. Repenting and groaning for anguish of spirit, they said within themselves, this was he whom we had
• Cahnet. vol. i. p. 192.
sometime in derision, and a proverb of reproach. We, fools, accounted his life madness, and his end to be without honour. How is he numbered among the children of God, and his lot is among the saints!"'
It is quite unnecessary that I should enlarge on a subject so well known. Suffice it to say, that when the waters had subsided, the Ark rested on Ararat, a high three peaked mountain in Armenia, and Noah with his family descended into the open plain to supply the wants of nature, and to repeople the renovated world. The precise time of Noah's egress from the Ark, has been a subject of controversy with the learned; but it appears now to be generally understood that this event happened early in the month of May, probably on May Day, because commemorative diluvian rites were annually celebrated on that day, by almost every ancient nation. That learned antiquary and mythologist, Mr. Faber, pronounces this to have been the day of Noah's deliverance. "May Eve running into May Day, was very generally adopted as the season of the Great Father's principal festival; and India, Babylonia, Britain, and Ireland have agreed in celebrating at that time the orgies of their chief divinity. The reason of this choice I take to have been that Noah then quitted the Arli"X And " a great naturalist, Woodward declares, among all the remains of the antediluvian
• Wisd. v. 3, 4, S. t Fab. Pag. Idol. b. v. c. 6. 8. 8.