About fifteen hundred years had passed since Cain slew Abel, during which time man had become more and more wicked. At length God saw |that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.| Then God said, |I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth.|
But one man was righteous and served God. His name was Noah. God told him that the world would be drowned by a flood because of the wickedness of the people, and commanded him to build a great ark to float upon the waters. In this ark God promised to preserve alive Noah and his family; and also two of each of every living thing on the earth -- animals, birds, and creeping things. All the rest were to die.
Noah built the ark as God commanded. It took him a great many years, during which time the people were warned to forsake their sins and turn to God, but they did not do so. At last the ark was finished, and Noah, with his wife, and his sons with their wives, and the animals, birds, and creeping things, as God had commanded, all entered into it. What a long procession it must have been! Then God shut them in, and they dwelt in safety while the rain came down, and the waters rose up and covered the earth. All were drowned except those in the ark.
A year afterwards, when the waters were dried up, Noah, and all that had been with him, left the ark. Then Noah built an altar, and offered sacrifices to God, in thankfulness for God's goodness to him and his family.
[Illustration: ENTERING THE ARK.]