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the time when the flood will be sent upon the earth. He enters the ship with his family and people. All animals and all his possessions are brought into the ship. He shuts to the door. A black cloud rises in the sky. The thunders roar; the rain descends in torrents; the flood reaches heaven. The earth is made a waste and the wicked are destroyed. There perish all “ living beings from the face of the earth.” “The brother saw his brother no more; men knew each other no longer.” Only the gods who seek refuge in “the heaven of Anu" are saved. “Six days and nights passed, the wind, the whirlwind, (and) the storm overwhelmed. On the seventh day at its approach the rain was stayed, the raging whirlwind, which had smitten like an earthquake, was quieted. The sea began to dry, and the wind and deluge ended.” Corpses of men are now seen floating on the waters “like sea-weed.” The ship stands on the mountain of Nizir. After seven days a dove, a swallow, and a raven are sent forth. The dove and swallow return. The raven returns not, thus showing that the waters were drying from the face of the earth. Hasisadra goes out from the ship, and having erected an altar, sacrifices to the gods. A rainbow appears in the sky, by which the gods descend to the sacrifice. The gods repent of the deluge they have brought upon the earth, and promise that the world shall not again be covered by a flood. And now Hasisadra, along with his wife and people, is translated to heaven. The rest of his followers settle in the plains of Babylonia. (The name of the eleventh month in the Chaldeo-Babylonian year means “the curse of the rain.")
The story ended, Izdubar returns, having been healed of the disease with which he had been cursed by Anatu. He is accompanied by his boatman to Erech. By means of enchantments the shade of Heabani is raised, and with him Izdubar again communes.
Such are the main features of the Epic of Izdubar, so far as it has been recovered and interpreted. With a number of discrepancies the story of the deluge shows close general agreement with the inspired record of Genesis.* We may also profitably compare the Izdubar deluge legends with the statements of Berosus. Hasisadra is the Greek Xisuthrus.
*“Chaldean Genesis," pp. 145–314. For comparison of accounts of the deluge see especially pp. 304, 305; also Rule's Oriental, Records, Monumental,” pp. 13–33.
meaning appears to be “shut up in a box or ark,' from the two characters signifying 'inclosed' and 'box,' respectively."*
This epic is arranged in twelve books. The tablets from which it is taken are probably as old as 1600 B.C. Sayce places the composition in about 2000 B. C., and the independent poems
from which it has been formed to the centuries immediately preceding. The twelve adventures of Izdubar remind us of the twelve labors of Hercules, and mythologists have worked out the comparison in great detail. Many scholars believe it to be a solar epic, (Hercules may be a solar hero,) the twelve books answering to the signs of the zodiac and the twelve months of the year. Some writers, as the late George Smith, of the British Museum, believe it to rest on a historic basis. It does not enter into our purpose to discuss these questions. We may, however, hazard the opinion that that philosophy which refers everything in ancient and heathen mythology and religion to the heavenly bodies, especially the sun, for its explanation, has been pushed entirely too far. The solar theory of mythology, which has accomplished such grand results, cannot do every thing. A too enthusiastic disciple may bring into disrepute the safe teachings of a master, or even a master may unconsciously close his eyes to valuable sources of information. We may admit the solar character of the epic, and yet believe in its substantial historic basis. This interpretation seems to be the most reasonable. It would not be difficult to show that whatever theory of interpretation may be adopted for the Izdubar Epic, the relation of the flood legend (which forms its eleventh tablet) to the Bible will be but slightly affected.
The recovery of the literatures long buried in the unknown Sanscrit, Zend, Egyptian, and Assyrian languages has created many chapters of history, while it has necessitated the re-writing of many others. The Egyptian and Assyrian literatures have also necessitated the re-writing of many chapters of skeptical criticism, while they have annihilated many others. Contemporary and yet more ancient records have grandly confirmed and illustrated many portions of the Holy Scriptures. The Bible has lost nothing and gained much from all modern research. It may be considered a providence that these “evidences” have been so wonderfully preserved during thousands
* " Archaic Dictionary," p. 17.
years to be brought to light just when of priceless value to strengthen Christian faith in the divine authorship of the word of God.
Many of the passages from Assyrian records compared with Scripture prove only that human nature is the same the world
Other passages, such as the accounts of the creation and the flood, point to a common basis. In many cases the Assyrian records antedate the biblical, and even the traditions which Abraham inherited. It is evident that wrecks of important primitive revelations and historic documents have been preserved in the valleys of the Euphrates and Tigris. Truth, wherever and whenever found, is divine. If the Bible bear the seal of God, our faith in its divinity and power is not weakened though fragments of the same truth be found indig. enous in every land.
ART. VI.-METHODIST FOREIGN MISSIONS.
Missions and Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. By Joun M.
REID, D.D. In Two Volumes, with maps and illustrations. New York: Phillips & Hunt; Cincinnati : Waiden & Stowe. 12mo, pp. 462, 471. Sixty-Third Annual Report of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, for the year 1881. 8vo, pp. 331. Printed for the Society. THESE books treat almost entirely of matters of facts, of work actually done. Our purpose shall be to go over the same ground, not so much to tell anew their story, as to examine the processes followed and the results reached, and, as far as may be, to detect the inspiring and guiding spirit of the work; to find out its rationale, and to note its successes and failures.
Dr. Reid's volumes deserve a commendatory notice as a work prepared with care, written in attractive style, and furnishing us a needed source of information. In writing them, no doubt he accomplished just what he designed, which was to put into a form easily accessible, and sufficiently condensed to bring them within readable limits, the chief facts of the past doings and achievement of the Society—that is, the Church—of which he is the trusted agent and representative. The work is, however, a condensed history, in the narrative sense of that word, dealing in facts, details, processes, and records of results; leaving all
FOURTH SERIES, VOL. XXXV.-20
the philosophizing, the making of deductions, and the judging of men and measures to the reader; and, within his purpose,
the work is what it should be. It appears to be entirely trustworthy in its statements, and fair in the presentation of its facts.
The missionary work here brought into notice is of comparatively recent date, having been originated only a little more than fifty years ago. True, the Methodist itinerancy was always essentially a missionary agency, and its ideal sphere of action was, from the first, world-wide; but the expansion of its work, and its purposed extension to foreign lands, seemed to call for some more definite arrangements for its direction and maintenance than had appeared to be necessary in the home work, and in response to that demand (A. D. 1819) the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church came into existence. Its primary design was to aid in carrying forward the work of the itinerancy “throughout the United States and Territories,” but in the original constitution the clause was added, rather prophetically than for present use, “and also in foreign countries." Its income, which for the first year was less than a thousand dollars, advanced year by year, and in 1829 exceeded fourteen thousand dollars.
Down to that date, the term “itinerancy,” as applied to the Methodist ministry, retained its proper etymological and usual lexicographical meaning, which has since been largely modified. Till then that ministry was chiefly “in the saddle,” and as the Seventy, sent by Christ only to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” went forth “without purse or scrip,” so these going among the people of the land were expected, in military phrase, to "live on the country.” But with changes wrought by the lapse of years it became at length almost a necessity to aid at the outset the adventurous pioneers who might be sent out to “take up new work.” To provide and apply such subsidies was therefore the chief business of the Society for its first two or three decades.
The true missionary spirit—that which looks beyond its own home and kindred, and longs to carry the Gospel message to those who sit in the darkness of heathenism-was but faintly manifested in early Protestantism. It began to show itself, however, during the latter years of the last century, and in the early part of the present it was developed in organic forms
among the principal bodies of English-speaking Protestantism; and of this movement in evangelical Christendom the organization of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and its subsequent devotion to foreign missions, was a natural result. That, too, was the heroic age, the period of romance, in respect to foreign missions. The whole subject was seen in a glamour, not to say a mirage; the missionary seemed to go forth, “ taking his life in his hand,” with the combined spirits of the monk and the crusader. All that, however, is now largely modified, for the better in some things, but not entirely, for there is a legitimate place for enthusiasm in such a work, and it is only right that that element in human nature should be actively consecrated to the cause of Christ. The marvelous results of missionary work in Tahiti, South Africa, India, and Madagascar reported among the home churches, and supplementing the earlier stories of Hans Egede and Christian David, were firing the hearts of both British and American Christians, all of which found its appropriate expression, not only in the poetical imagery and spiritual inspiration of which Bishop Heber's missionary hymn is a bright example, but also in substantial deeds whose results remain. As now contemplated, after the lapse of more than half a century, that era is seen to have been “the fullness of the time,” for the advent of the new spirit, and the inauguration of a new departure in the living Church. The call had gone forth, and all evangelical Christendom was responding, and the great heart of Methodism burned with a holy zeal to have a share in the glorious enterprise.
The occasion, which soon became more than an opportunity, for entering a foreign mission at length came to the authorities of the Methodist Episcopal Church from an unexpected quarter. The large development and apparently immovably fixed position of that greatest and most fearful anachronism of the age, American Slavery, had cast loose upon society a pariah class of free Africo-Americans, whose presence was at once a menace to the institution of slavery and an appeal to the pity of the benevolent and philanthropic; and strangely enough these two forces united to originate the scheme for colonizing them in Africa. In one of the earliest of these emigrant expeditions were found a number of persons who had been Methodists