« PreviousContinue »
at thirty,e and one at twenty-riine. 5. When descents or generations proceed by the younger or youngest sons, the length of such generations will be according to the time of the father's life in which such younger sons are born, and also in proportion to what is the common length or standard of human life in the age when they are born. : When men lived to about two hundred, and had children after they were a hundred years old; it is evident, that the younger children might survive their parents near one hundred years. But now, when men rarely live beyond seventy or eighty years, a sơn born in the latest years of his father's life, cannot be supposed, in the common course of things, to be alive near so long after his father's death; and consequently descents or ģenerations by the younger sons must have
• Eber was born when Salah was thirty, ver. 14. Reu when Peleg was thirty, ver. 18. Nahor when Serug was thirty, ver, 22. .. Terah was born when Nahor was twenty-nine, ver, 24.
been far longer in the ages of ancient longe : vity, than they can be now. Therefore, 6. Since in the genealogies of all families, and the catalogues of kings in all kingdoms, the descents and successions are found to proceed, not always by the eldest sons, but through frequent accidents many times by the younger children; it is evident, that the difference in the common length of human life in different ages of the world must have had a considerable effect upon the length of both reigns and generations, as both must be longer or shorter in this or that age in some measure, according to what is the common standard of the length of men's lives in the age to which they belong; seven reigns, as before said, are in general not so long as generạtions; but from historical observations a calculation may be formed at a medium, how often one time with another such failures of descent happen, as make the difference; and the length of reigns may be calculated in proportion to the length of generations according to it. Sir Isaac Newton com, putes the length of reigns to be to the
length of generations one with another, as eighteen or twenty to thirty-three or thirty-four. These particulars ought to be duly considered, in order to judge of our learned author's argument from the length of reigns and generations. For,..
1. The catalogues of kings, which our great and learned author produces to confirm his opinion, are all of later date, some of them many ages later than the times of David. He says, the eighteen kings of Judah, who succeeded Solomon, reigned one with another twenty-two years each. The fifteen kings of Israel after Solomon reigned seventeen years and a quarter each. The eighteen kings of Babylon from Nabonassar reigned eleven years and two thirds of a year each. The ten kings of Persia from Cyrus reigned twenty-one years each. The sixteen successors of Alexander the Great, and of his brother and son in Syria, reigned fifteen years and a quarter each
• See Newton's Chronol. of the Greeks, p. 53, 54. * Id. Ibid.
The eleven kings of England from William the Conqueror, reigned twenty one years and a half each. The first twenty-four kings of France from Pharamond reigned nineteen years each. The next twenty-four kings of France from Ludovicus Balbus reigned eighteen years and three quarters each. The next fifteen from Philip Valesiùs twenty one-years each; and all the sixty-three kings of France one with another reigned nineteen years and a half each. These are the several catalogues which our great and learned author has produced: they are of various dates down from Solomon to the present time; but as none of them rise so high as the time of king David, all that can be proved from them is, that the observation of David, who remarked that the length of human life was in his time reduced to what has ever since been the standard of it, was exceedingly just; for from Solomon's time to the present day it appears, that the length of kings' reigns in different ages, and in
different countries, have been much the same, : and therefore during this whole period, the
common length of human life has been what it now is, and agreeable to what David stated it. But,
2. It cannot be inferred from these reigns mentioned by Sir Isaac Newton, that kings did not reign one with another a much longer space of time in the ages which I am concerned with, in which men generally lived to a much greater age, than in the times out of which Sir Isaac Newton has taken the catalogue of kings which he has produced. From Abraham down almost to David, men lived, according to the Scripture accounts of the length of their lives, to I think, above one hundred years, at a medium, exceeding that term very much in the times near Abraham; and seldom falling short of it until within a generation or two of David. But in David's time the length of human life was at a medium, only seventy years ; " therefore
Psalm. xc.ver. 18.