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and forty nights; and some permanent effect was also produced, for the air was less favorable to longevity after the flood, than before. How any change which now took place, could be the cause of the bow in the clouds, it is not necessary, nor perhaps possible, to know. This, however, we do know, that in the beginning, when the earth was created, it was not watered by rain, but by mist. “ For the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth”. “ But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground." And for ought that appears, the earth was thus watered until the time of the universal deluge; in which case, there could have been no place for the rainbow. But if this be not admitted ; yet when it rained, the whole horizon might have been uniformly overspread with clouds, as is now most commonly the case: and we know that a rainbow can never appear to any man, unless the sun is shining in one part of the heavens, while it is raining in the opposite part ; a circumstance which now does not happen oftener than once in a hundred times, when it rains, and which might never have occurred before the flood.
It is adopted as a principle, without sufficient reasons, that the laws of nature have continued uniformly the same, since the creation. Without doubt, important changes occurred when man fell from his innocence, and was expelled from Paradise; and we are under the necessity of supposing some change at the time of the flood, in consequence of which, human life has, ever since, been so greatly abridged.
12. The early and common division of time into weeks, deserves also a short notice, in an essay of this kind. Other periods of time, such as months, and years, are mea. sured and regulated by the heavenly bodies; but, the divi. sion into weeks, seems to be entirely arbitrary, seeing there is nothing to indicate it, or correspond with it, in the revo. Jution of the heavens. Where this hebdomadal period originated, profane history
cannot inform us. It can, however, be traced as far back as to the Chaldeans. Some bave supposed, that, as each day of the week comes down to us with the name of the sun, moon, or one of the planets, and as these are seven in number, that the septenary division of time originated from the consecration of one day to each of these heavenly bodies. But this theory is unsatisfactory. It would have been a strange and unnatural conceit to make a regular period of seven days, constantly recurring, for no other reason but because there were seven planets, including the sun and moon. It is far more probable, that the Chaldeans or Egyptians, or whoever gave the names to the days of the week, found this period of time already established, and then imagined, that each day was under the influence or government of one of these luminaries, or deities, as they probably conceived them to be.
This supposition is strengthened by the fact, that among many ancient people, the seventh day was sacred.
But these facts, involved in so much obscurity, as far as reason and profane history are concerned, become clear, as soon as we look into the Bible: for there we learn, “that in six days God made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it."
I know, indeed, that many Christians have adopted the opinion, that the Sabbath was not instituted until the time of Moses; and that the mention of it in the second chapter of Genesis, is by way of prolepsis: but this theory is altogether inconsistent with a fair interpretation of the sacred history. The words of Moses are, “ And God blessed the
, seventh day and sanctified it; because that in it be had rest. ed from all his work, which God created and made." And in the fourth precept of the decalogue, the institution of the Sabbath is closely connected with the work of creation. But how forced is the interpretation, that at the time of the exodus from Egypt, God blessed the seventh day, because in it he had rested from all his work. Surely, if his resting from the work of creation, was the reason of the institution, it is no how probable that he would have deferred its appointment, for more than two thousand years ; especially, when it is considered, that the celebration of the work of creation was as much incumbent on those who lived before this period, as afterwards. And that we read nothing of the sanctification of the Sabbath during the patriarchal ages, is an objection of little force, when we consider how many other things are unnoticed, in this concise history; and especially when we find a similar omission, during a period of five or six hundred years, after the Israelites took possession of Canaan.
HISTORY AND RELIGIOUS OPINIONS OF THE DRUSES.
The Druses, or as they call themselves the Unitarians [Mowahhidûn), of Mount Libanus, have, for several hundred years, been the subject of much curious speculation among European travellers and antiquaries. The attention of the Christian world was first attracted to their character and history, towards the close of the fifteenth century, when one of their hereditary chiefs took refuge in Italy from the storms of his own country. An opinion was soon broached by some fanciful theorist, and propagated throughout Europe, that the Druses were the remnant of the Christian colonies established in the Holy Land at the time of the Crusades; a hypothesis countenanced, and perhaps suggest-ed, by the coincidence of the name with that of Dreux in France, and the traditionary story of a Count de Dreux who had actually made a settlement not far from Mount Libanus. There was something romantic in this supposititious pedigree which awakened the sympathies and amused the fancy of all Christendom, an effect greatly heightened by the conduct of the Syrian refugee, who, with the singular complaisance peculiar to his nation, professed a strong attachment to the Christian faith, and a firm belief in his own European extraction. And here it may be observed, that much of the misconception and erroneous theory which have prevailed in relation to this people, has arisen from the strange trait in their character and manners just alluded to, a remarkable facility in conforming externally to the rites and opinions of those with whom they come in contact. Whether this policy has been adopted from motives essentially connected with their religious system as requiring
strict secrecy in relation to their creed and ritual, or whether it has been suggested altogether by a dread of the persecuting spirit which characterizes all orthodox Mohammedans, and especially the Turks, is a doubtful and disputed question. It is a fact, however, that they do not hesitate in practice to humour, as it were, the prejudices of their neighbours. An intelligent traveller informs us, that the mosque at Deir-el-Kamr, though sedulously garnished and well filled, whenever visited by a Turkish officer, is for the most part totally deserted, the minaret being only used to proclaim lost cattle and announce the current value of provisions. We learn from the same authority, that the hereditary chiefs are circumcised and carefully instructed in the forms of prayer prescribed by the moslem ritual, while on the other hand, they do not scruple to drink wine and eat pork, very often go to church when one is within reach, and some times by way of a compliment to a Maronite monk or bishop, suffer their children to be publicly baptized. This compliance with the forms of Christianity, it must be owned, seems to be suggested less by a dread of persecution than a wish to elude investigation, and may indeed be regarded as a circumstance unparalleled in the bistory of other sects. In view of such an anomalous spirit of toleration and conformity, we can scarcely wonder at the discrepancy which appears in the various opinions that have been prevalent in relation to this people, both in Europe and the East. By some they have been classed as a society of Mohammedan schismatice, by others as a spurious variety of Chris. tians, while many have regarded them as nothing else than a race of disguised idolaters. To the same cause we may perhaps ascribe the exaggerated statements which their own immediate neighbors have in past times propagated with respect to their moral character as a community, and the
* Niebubr's Voyage. Vol. II. p. 353. Amst. 1780.