Nonfiction > Henry Craik, ed. > English Prose > Vol. III. Seventeenth Century
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Henry Craik, ed.  English Prose.  1916.
Vol. III. Seventeenth Century
 
The Deluge
By Thomas Burnet (1635?–1715)
 
From The Sacred Theory of the Earth

THUS the flood came to its height; and ’tis not easy to represent to ourselves this strange scene of things, when the Deluge was in its fury and extremity; when the earth was broken and swallowed up in the abyss, whose raging waters rose higher than the mountains, and filled the air with broken waves, with an universal mist and with thick darkness, so as nature seemed to be in a second chaos; and upon this chaos rid the distressed ark, that bore the small remains of mankind. No sea was ever so tumultuous as this, nor is there anything in present nature to be compared with the disorder of these waters: all the poetry, and all the hyperboles that are used in the description of storms and raging seas were literally true in this if not beneath it.
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  The ark was really carried to the tops of the highest mountains, and into the places of the clouds, and thrown down again into the deepest gulfs; and to this very state of the Deluge and of the ark, which was a type of the Church of this world, David seems to have alluded in the name of the Church (Ps. xlii. 7). Abyss calls upon abyss at the noise of thy cataracts or water-spouts; all thy waves and billows have gone over me. It was no doubt an extraordinary and miraculous providence that could make a vessel so ill manned live upon such a sea; that kept it from being dashed against the hills, or overwhelmed in the deeps. That abyss which had devoured and swallowed up whole forests of woods, cities, and provinces, nay the whole earth, when it had conquered all could not destroy this ship.  2
  I remember, in the story of the Argonautics (Dion. Argonaut., l. 1. v. 47), when Jason set out to fetch the golden fleece, the poet saith, all the gods looked down from heaven that day to view the ship; and the nymphs stood upon the mountain tops to see the noble youth of Thessaly pulling at the oars; we may with more reason suppose the good angels to have looked down upon this ship of Noah’s; and that not out of curiosity, as idle spectators, but with a passionate concern for its safety and deliverance. A ship, whose cargo was no less than a whole world; that carried the fortune and hopes of all posterity, and if this had perished, the earth for anything we know had been nothing but a desert, a great ruin, a dead heap of rubbish, from the deluge to the conflagration. But death and hell, the grave and destruction have their bounds. We may entertain ourselves with the consideration of the face of the deluge, and of the broken and drowned earth, in this scheme, with the floating ark, and the guardian angels.  3
 
 
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