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A. M. 1536. A. C. 2468; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M, 2136. A. C. 3275. GEN. CH. 5. AND 6. TO VER. 13. polity, and learning, of the antediluvian people: but the hints suggested therein, so very few, and so very obscure sacred history, in this respect, is so very short, and the withal, that, during this period, we are left, in a great
measure, in the dark. However, we cannot but observe,
that it is a mistaken notion of some authors, who affirm, framed on the Hebrew text curtailed in the manner which has that at the beginning of the world, for almost 2000 been already mentioned. The first was that of Aquila, published about A. D. 128—two years before the Seder Olam years together, mankind lived without any law, without Rahba; the second by Symmachus; and the third by Theodo- any precepts, without any promises from God; and that tion. Aquila was originally a pagan priest, and afterwards a the religion from Adam to Abraham was purely natural, Christian; but being excommunicated for the irregularity of his and such as had nothing but right reason to be its rule conduct, he became a Jew, and the most rancorous enemy the gospel of Christ. By Epiphanius he is charged with wrest- and measure. The antediluvian dispensation indeed ing the Scriptures, in order to invalidate their testimonies to the was, in the main, founded upon the law of nature; but claim of our Lord to the character of the Messiah; and, in an still it must be acknowledged, that there was (as we unpublished Greek tract in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, it is showed before) a divine precept concerning sacrifices; said "Wherever you find in the Hebrew (for even there he that there was a divine promise concerning the blessed also obliterated) or in the Greek, the testimonies concerning Christ disguised, know that it was the insidious contrivance of Seed; and that there were several other precepts and Aquila."
injunctions given the patriarchs, besides those that were That he might be able to perform these exploits, Aquila, when built upon mere reason. he became a Jew, put himself under the tuition of the famous
The law of sacrifices (which confessedly at this time Rabbi Akiha, who, for forty years was president of the Sanhedrim, and had 40,000 pupils, which qualified him to become one obtained) was partly natural, and partly divine. As of the most subtile and formidable as well as most malignant sacrifices were tokens of thankfulness and acknowledgadversaries of Christianity. It was under the auspices, and by ments, that the fruits of the earth, and all other creathe instigation of this famous Rabbi, that in the year 130, was published or “sealed,” says Dr Hales, “the Seder Olam tures, for the use and benefit of man were derived from Rabba, or Jewish curtailed system of chronology; and as God; they were a service dictated by natural reason, Aquila's version agrees with it, there can be little doubt, but and so were natural acts of worship: a but, as they carried that in this exploit, he was aiding to his master. These facts with them the notion of expiation and atonement for the were undoubtedly known to Usher and other eminent chronolo- souls of mankind especially as they referred to the gers; but, as Dr Hales ohserves, “the superstitious veneration for what was called the Hebrew verity, or supposed immaculate Messias, and signified the future sacrifice of Christ, purity of the Masorite editions of the Hebrew text, which gene- they were certainly instituted by God, and the practice rally prevailed among the most eminent divines and Hebrew of them was founded upon a divine coinmand. scholars of the last age, precluded all discussions of this nature.” “But the inspection of various editions since, and the copious
It is not to be doubted, 'but that Adam instructed his collations of the Hebrew text with a great number of MSS. col- children to worship and adore God, to commemorate his lected from all parts of the world, by the laudable industry and goodness, and deprecate his displeasure; nor can we extensive researches of Kennicott De Rossi, and other leamed suppose, but that they, in their respective families, put men, have proved that the sacred classics are no more exempt his instructions in execution; and yet we find, that in from various readings than the profane." Errors many and great have crept into the chronology of the Scriptures as well in the original Hebrew as in the Septuagint version ; nor have the
1 Edward's Survey of Religion, b. 1. antiquities of Josephus by any means escaped the confusion with Josephus rather than that of Dr Hales, and therefore the true respect to dates, which disfigures the Sacred Oracles from which those antiquities were transcribed.
computation of Moscs. It is, however, chiefly by the means of some genuine dates and numbers which still fortunately subsist in the work of Jose
According to phus, that our author has been enabled to restore the Scripture Hales, &c. chronology to its original state. This he has done by strictly following the analytical method of investigation, which, he truly observes, is at least as applicable to chronology as to natural philosophy. The leading elementary date, by reference to which he has adjusted the whole range of sacred and profane chronology, “is (1 quote his own words) the birth of Cyrus, before Christ 599, which led to his accession to the throne of Persia,
5. Mahalaleel .. B. C. 559; of Media, B. C. 551; and of Babylonia, B. C. 536; for, from these several dates carefully and critically ascertained and verified, the several respective chronologies of these kingdoms branched off; and from the last especially, the destruction of Solomon's temple by Nebuchadnezzer, B. C. 586, its correcter date, which led to its foundation, B, C. 1027; thence to the
595 Heb. 777 Heb. 2251 Exode, B. C. 1648; thence to Abraham's birth, B. C. 2153;
Lxx. 565 Lxx, 2753 LXX. thence to the reign of Nimrod, 2554; thence to the deluge, B. C. 3155; and thence to the creation, B.C. 5411. And this
Deluge...... date of the creation is verified, by the rectification of the systems of Josephus, and Theophilus, who was bishop of Antioch,
Gleig's Edit. A. D. 169, and the first Christian chronologist." By the same a This seems inconceivable, though it is an opinion that has patient and analytical investigation, Dr Hales has ascertained been held by men of the highest eminence in the church, as well the genealogies of the antediluvian patriarchs, to have been very for learning as for piety. Whilst men possessed no notion of different from what they are represented to have been in the property, what could lead them to offer gifts to God? And present Hebrew; and though it would undoubtedly be presump- though they must have been all conscious of guilt, is it possible tuous to say that his system is without errors, it appears to ap- that they could hope to propitiate the Creator by taking away the proach so near to perfection, that the following computation, life of his, not their, guiltless creatures. For complete proof of which differs widely from those of the Hebrew, Samaritan, and the Divine institution of all kinds of sacrifice, the reader may Septuagint texts at present, must, I think, be acceptable to the have recourse to imageo's Discourses and Dissertations on the reader. It may be considered as the original computation of | Scriptural Doctrines of Atonement and Sacrifve.-Gleig's Edit.
burth of his son-
Lired in all
Died in the year
2. Seth ..
A. M. 1536. A. C. 2463 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 2136. A. C. 3275. GEN. CH. 5. AND 6. TO VER. 13. the days of Enos, (besides all private devotion) a public men, at first, stood towards one another, and the several form of worship was set up; that the people had the qualifications in them, which, in a short time, could not rites of their religion, which God had appointed, fixed, but appear. The first form of government, without all and established; and that, very probably, as Cain built controversy, was patriarchal; but this form was soon cities for his descendants to live in, so Enos might laid aside, when men of superior parts came to distinbuild temples, and places of divine worship, for his to guish themselves ; when the head of any family either resort to. a
outpowered or outwitted his neighbour, and so brought The distinction of clean and unclean animals was him to give up his dominion, either by compulsion or another divine injunction under this dispensation. God resignation. Government, however; at this time, seems refers Noah to it, as a thing well known, when he com- to have been placed in fewer hands, than it is now: not mands him to put into the ark seven pairs of clean, and that the number of people was less, but their communitwo of unclean creatures: and a though, in respect of man's ties were larger, and their kingdoms more extensive, food, this distinction was not before the law of Moses, than since the flood; & insomuch, that it may well be yet some beasts were accounted fit and others unfit for questioned, whether, after the union of the two great sacrifices from the beginning. The former were esteemed families of Seth and Cain, there was any distinction of dean, and the latter unclean: and it seems safer to make civil societies, or diversity of regal governments at all. a positive law of God the foundation of this distinction, It seems more likely, that all mankind then made but than to imagine that men, in such matters as these, were one great nation, living in a kind of anarchy, and left to their own discretion.
divided into several disorderly associations; which, as "The prohibition of marrying with infidels or idolaters, it was almost the natural consequence of their having, in was another article of this dispensation, as appears from all probability, but one language ; so it was a circumGod's angry resentment when the children of Seth en- stance which greatly contributed to that general corruptered into wedlock with the wicked posterity of Cain. tion which otherwise perhaps could not so universally And, to mention no more, under this period were given have prevailed.
And for this reason we may suppose, those six great precepts of Adam' (as they are generally that no sooner was the posterity of Noah sufficiently called) whereof the Jewish doctors make such boast; increased, but a plurality of tongues was miraculously # and of these the 1. was of strange worship, or idolatry; introduced, in order to divide them into distinct societhe 2. of cursing the most holy name, or blasphemy; the ties, and thereby prevent any such total depravation for 3. of uncovering the nakedness, or unlawful copulation; the future. the 4. of bloodshed, or homicide ; the 5. of theft and The enterprising genius of man began to exert itself rapine ; and the 6. of judgment, or the administration very early in music, brass-work, iron-work, and every of justice in the public courts of judicature. So that, science, useful and entertaining, and the undertakers from the very first, ‘God did not leave himself without were not limited by a short life. They had time enough a witness' (as the apostle terms it) but, in one degree or before them to carry things to perfection : but whatever other, made frequent manifestations of his will to man- their skill, learning, or industry performed, all remains kind.
and monuments of it have long since perished. That government of one kind or other, is essential * Josephus indeed gives us this account of Seth's great to the well-being of mankind, seems to be a position knowledge in astronomy, and how industrious he was to founded in the nature of things, the relation wherein have it conveyed to the new world. “Seth, and his
descendants ;" says he, were persons of happy tem" Gen. vii, 2.
* Patrick's Commentary. pers, and lived in peace, employing themselves in the These conjectures are without all foundation. The pious study of astronomy, and in other searches after useful family of Seth undoubtedly worshipped God in public as well as knowledge ; but, being informed by Adam, that the world in private, from the very beginning; though it was not till the should be twice destroyed, first by water, and afterwards of the Lord,” or to assume the denomination of the sons of by fire, they made two pillars, the one of stone, and the God," to distinguish themselves from the profane race of Cain. other of brick, and inscribed their knowledge upon Sea Balei's Analysis, &c., vol. ii. p. 34., Bishop Gleig's Edit. them, supposing that the one or other of them might
6 The commandments given to the sons of Noah are the same remain for the use of posterity.” But how strangely with these. They are an abridgment of the whole law of
improbable is it, that they, who foreknew that the derature; but have one positive precept annexed to them; and are generally placed in this order. 1. '“ Thou shalt serve no other struction of the world should be by a flood, should busy gods, but the Maker only of heaven and earth. 2. Thou shalt thenıselves to write astronomical observations on pillars, remember to serve the true God, the Lord of the world, by for the benefit of those who should live after it? Could setifying his name in the midst of thee. 3. Thou shalt not they think, that their pillars would have some peculiar sted the blood of man created after the image of God. 4. Thou shalt not defile thy body, that thou mayest be fruitful and multi- exemption, above other structures, froin the violence ply, and, with a blessing replenish the earth. 5. Thou shalt be content with that which thine is, and what thou wouldst not have done to thyself, that thou shalt not do to another. 6. Thou
9 Universal History, b. 1. c. 2. * Antiquities, b. 1. c. 2. shakt do right judgment to every one, without respect to persons.
Stillingfleet's Sacred Origins, b. 1. c. 2. 1. Thou shalt not eat the flesh in the blood, nor any thing that “Without government, neither family, nor nation, nor mankind, bath life, with the life thereof." This is the heptalogue of Noah, nor the world, nor the universe, could last." Seneca asserts & the seven words, which, as the Jews tell us, were delivered that, “it (government) is the chain by which the state is held to his sons, and were constantly observed by all the uncircum- together, it is the vital breath which these numerous thousands cised worshippers of the true God.-Bibliotheca Biblica, Occa- of citizens inhale, who would, of their own accord, immediately cional Annotations, 15. vol. 1.
sink into nothing but an inert mass and easy prey, were that c To this purpose Cicero (On Laws, b. 3. c. 1.) tells us, that I spirit of order withdrawn.”
A. M. 1536. A. C. 2468; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 2136. A. C. 3275. GEN. CH. 5. AND 6. TO VER. 13. and outrage of the waters? If they believed that the under his name: but besides that this piece is now gene. food would prove universal, for whose instruction did rally given up for spurious, there is no need for us to they write their observations ? If they did not, to what suppose, that St Jude ever quoted any passage out of end did they write them at all, since the persons who this, or any other book of Enoch. survived, might communicate their inventions to whom 3 Enoch was a prophet, we are told, and as such was they pleased ? The plain truth is, ' Josephus, who fre-invested with authority, to cry aloud, and spare not, quently quotes heathen authors, and Manetho in parti- to reprove the wicked, and denounce God's judgments cular, to this story of Seth's pillars from the pillars of against them; and as he was a good man, it was easy Hermes mentioned in that historian : for, as the Jews for St Jude to imagine, that he would not sit still, and had an ancient tradition concerning Seth’s pillars, Jose- see the impieties of the people grow so very exorbitant, phus, in reading Manetho, might possibly think his without endeavouring to repress them, by setting before account misapplied, and thereupon imagine, that he them the terrors of the Lord.' He could not discharge should probably hit on the truth, if he put the account of the office of a good man, and a prophet, without forethe one and the tradition of the other together; and this warning them of the Lord's coming, with ten thousand very likely might occasion his mistake.
of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to con? The eastern people have preserved several traditions vince all that were ungodly among them: and because of very little certainty concerning Enoch. They be- this was his office and duty, the apostle infers, (as by lieve, that he received from God the gift of wisdom and the Spirit of God he might certainly know,) that he did knowledge to an eminent degree, and that God sent him so, though he might not make that inference from any thirty volumes from heaven, filled with all the secrets of passage in his prophecy; because it is a known obserthe most mysterious science. St Jude, it is certain, vation, that b many things are alluded to in the New seems to cite a passage from a prophecy of his; nor Testament, which were never perhaps in any book at can it be denied, but that in the first ages of Christianity, all. a there was a book, well known to the Jews, that went Of all the strange matters that occur in this period of
time, there is nothing which looks so like a prodigy as Shuckford's Connection, b. 1.
the longevity of those men who at first inhabited the • Calmet's Dictionary on the word Enoch.
earth; nor is any event so apt to affect us with wonder, a Joseph Scaliger, in his annotations upon Eusebius's Chronicon, has given us some considerable fragments of which Heidegger in his History of the Patriarchs, has translated into
Heidegger's History of the Patriarchs. * Jude 14, 15. Latin, which the curious, if they think proper, may consult: but even that he believed that we are the offspring of God in the very the whole seems to be nothing but a fabulous collection of some sense in which that poet probably taught that we are; but he Jew or other, most unworthy the holy patriarch. Tertullian, appealed to him as sufficient authority among the Athenians in however, has defended it with great warmth, and laments much, support of his own doctrine, that all men have sprung from that all the world is not as zealous as himself, in the mainten- one origin. It was an argument ad hominem, such as “our ance of its authenticity. He pretends, that it had been saved Saviour himself often makes use of. You, says he to the Jews, by Noah in the ark, from thence transmitted down to the church, deny certain facts, which must be from prejudice, because you and that the Jews, in his days, rejected it, only because they have them allowed in your own books, and believe them there. thought it was favourable to Christianity.–Miller's History of And a very strong and fair way of arguing it is; but this is by the Church; and Saurin's Dissertations. The great objections no means any allowance that these books are true. In the same against this book are, that neither Philo, nor Josephus, (those manner you, says St Jude, do not believe the coming of Christ diligent searchers into antiquity,) make any mention of it; and and a latter judgment; yet your ancient Enoch, who, you supthat it contains such fabulous stories as are inonstrous and absurd. pose, was the seventh from Adam, tells you this plainly, and in But to this some have answered, that such a book there certainly so many words long ago. And indeed the quotation is word for was, notwithstanding the silence of these Jewish antiquaries: word the same, in the second chapter of the book. All that is and that after the apostle's time, it might be corrupted, and material to say farther concerning the book of Enoch is, that it is many things added to it by succeeding heretics, who might take a Gnostic book, containing the age of the Emims, Anakims, and occasion from the antiquity thereof, and from the passage of Egregores, (descendants of the sons of God, when they fell in Michael's contending with the devil about the body of Moses, to love with the daughters of men), who were giants.” The editor interpolate many fables and inventions of their own.-)
- Raleigh's of Bruce's Travels says, I know not on what sufficient authority, History of the World.—That there is still extant a very ancient that, “the book in question was originally written in Greek by book called The Prophecies of Enoch is a fact which will admit some Alexandrian Jew;" but I suspect that he confounds with of no controversy; but it is not from that work, but from another The Prophecies of Enoch, The Assumption of Moses, of which Jewish book called The Assumption of Moses, which, though fragments may be found perhaps in different authors, and which now lost, was extant in the time of Origen, that the passage was certainly written in Greek. The question, however, is of about Michael's contention with the devil appears to have been no importance; for it appears from the summary of its contents quoted by the apostle St Jude. Of The Prophecies of Enoch given by the editor, that The Prophecies of Enoch, received into Mr Bruce gives us the following account:
the Sacred Canon by the Abyssinian church, are indeed, what he Amongst the articles I consigned to the library at Paris, calls them—an absurd and tedious work.—Bruce's Travels, vol was a very beautiful and magnificent copy of the Prophecies of 2. p. 412. ed. 3.; Bishop Gleig's Edit. Enoch in large quarto; another is amongst the books of Scrip- 6 There are many instances in the New Testament of facts ture, which I brought home, standing immediately before the alluded to, which we do not find in any ancient books. Thus the book of Job, which is its proper place in the Abyssinian Canon; contest between Michael and the devil is mentioned, as if the and a third copy I have presented to the Bodleian Library at Jews had, some where or other, a full account of it. The names Oxford. The more ancient history of that book is well known.” of the Egyptians, Jannes, and Jambres, are set down, though The church at first looked upon it as apocryphal, and it was they are nowhere found in Moses' history. St Paul tells us, never admitted into any ancient canon of Scripture that I have that Moses exceedingly quaked and feared on Mount Sinai; but seen or heard of.
we do not find it so recorded anywhere in the Old Testament. “We may observe that Jude's appealing to the apocryphal | In all these cases, the apostles and holy writers hinted at things, books did by no means import, that either he believed, or war- commonly received as true, by tradition, among the Jews, with ranted, the truth of them." No man ever supposed that St Paul out transcribing them from any real book.–Shuckford's Connecwarranted the truth of all that Aratus the poet had written, or tion, b. 1.
A. M. 15:36. &. C. 2468; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 2136. A. C. 3275. GEN. CH. 5. AND 6. TO VER. 13. as the disproportion between their lives and ours. We stitution, the temperament of the world wherein they think it a great thing, if we chance to arrive at fourscore, lived, or (what is most likely) the particular vouchsafeor an hundred years; whereas they lived to the term of ment of God, to give them this mighty singular advanseren, eight, nine hundred, and upwards, as appears by tage above us. the joint testimony both of sacred and profane history. Some have imputed this extraordinary length of life The only suspicion that can arise in our minds upon this in the antediluvians to the sobriety of their living, and occasion, is, that the computation might possibly be simplicity of their diet; that they eat no flesh, and bad made, not according to solar, but lunar years; but this, no provocations to gluttony, which wit and vice have instead of solving the difficulty, runs us into several since invented. This indeed might have some effect, gross absurdities.
but not possibly to the degree we now speak of; since The space of time, between the creation and the flood, there have been many moderate and abstemious people is usually computed to be 1656 years, which, if we sup- in all ages, who have not surpassed the common period pose to be lunar, and converted into common years, will of life. amount to little more than 127; too short an interval, by Others have ascribed it to the excellency of the fruits, much, to stock the world with a sufficient number of in- and some unknown quality in the herbs and plants of habitants. From one couple we can scarce imagine, those days: but the earth, we know, was cursed immethat there could arise 500 persons in so short a time; diately after the fall, and its fruits, we may suppose, but suppose them a thousand, they would not be so many gradually decreased in their virtue and goodness, until as we sometimes have in a good country village. And the time of the flood; and yet we do not see, that the were the floodgates of heaven opened, and the great length of men's lives decreased at all during that inabyss broken up, to destroy such an handful of people ? terval. were the waters raised fifteen cubits above the highest Others therefore have thought, that the long lives of mountains, throughout the face of the whole earth, to the men of the old world proceeded from the strength of drown a parish or two ? This certainly is more incredi- their stamina, or first principles of their bodily constible than the longest age which the Scriptures ascribe to tution; which, if they were equally strong in us, would the patriarchs ; besides that, this short interval leaves no maintain us, as they think, in being, as long : but though room for ten generations, which we find from Adam to it be granted, that both the strength and stature of their the flood; nor does it allow the patriarchs age enough, bodies were greater than ours, and that a race of strong (some of them, upon this supposition, must not be above men, living long in health, will have children of a profive years old,) when they are said to beget children. portionably strong constitution; yet, that this was not
It is generally allowed, and may indeed be proved by the sole and adequate cause of their longevity, we have the testimony of Scripture, that our first fathers lived one plain instance to convince us, namely, that Sheni, considerably longer, than any of their posterity have who was born before the deluge, and bad in his body all done since; but, according to this hypothesis, (which the virtue of an antediluvian constitution, fell 300 years depresses the lives of the antediluvians, not only below short of the age of his forefathers, because the greatest those who lived next the flood, but even below all fol- part of his life was passed after the food. lowing generations to this day,) Methuselah, who was The ingenious theorist whom I have quoted, for this always accounted the oldest man since the creation, did reason, imagines, that before the flood, the situation of but reach to the age of seventy-five, and Abraham, who the earth to the sun was direct and perpendicular, and is said to have died in a good old age, was not com- not, as it is now, inclined and oblique. From this posipletely fifteen.
tion he infers, that there was a perpetual equinox all the The patrons of this opinion therefore would do well earth over, and one continued spring; and thence conto tell us, when we are to break off this account of lunar cludes, that the equality of the air, and stability of the years in the sacred history. If they will have it extended seasons were the true causes of the then longevity; no farther than the flood, they make the postdiluvian whereas the change, and obliquity of the earth's posture, fathers longer-lived than the antediluvian, but will be occasioned by the deluge, altered the form of the year, puzzled to assign a reason, why the deluge should occa- and brought in an inequality of seasons, which caused a sion longevity. If they will extend it to the postdilu- sensible decay in nature, and a gradual contraction in vians likewise, they will then be entangled in worse human life. difficulties; for they will make their lives miserably short, and their age of getting children altogether in
· Burnet's Theory of the Earth, b. 2. c. 4. congruous and impossible., From the whole, therefore, we may conclude, that the
6 This is a perfectly groundless fancy warranted neither by
Scripture nor by philosophy. years whereby Moses reckons the lives of the antedilu
“At the creation, the two great lights, the sun and the moon, vians, were solar years, much of the same length with were ordained, among other uses, to be for signs, and for seawhat we now use; and that therefore there must be a sons, and for days, and for years, Gen. i. 14. But seasons and reason, either in their manner of life, their bodily con- years are produced by this obliquity. If, then, seasons and years
existed before the deluge, so must the obliquity. But that they
did, is evident from the history; for the duration of time, from a Manetho, who wrote the story of the Egyptians; Berosus, the creation to the deluge, is measured by the years of the genewho wrote the Chaldean history; those authors, who give us an rations of the patriarchs from Adam to Noah, Gen, v. And srcount of the Phoenician antiquities; and among the Greeks, when God promised Noah, that while the earth remained, scedHeriodus, Hecateus, Hellanicus, Ephorus, &c., do unanimously time and harvest, or (spring and autumn), cold and heat, or agree, that in the first ages of the world, men lived 1000 years. (winter and summer), and day and night should not cease,' -Barnet's Theory, b. 2. c. 4.
plainly signifying, that the world should go on after the deluge
A. M. 1656. A. C. 2349; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 2256. A. C. 3155. GEN. vi. 12. TO ix. 20. His reasoning, upon this point, is very elegant. , to send into the world before the consummation of all “ There is no question,” says he, “but every thing upon things, might have a speedier probation. Man's age earth, and especially the animate world, would be much accordingly went on sinking by degrees, until a little more permanent, if the general course of nature was before David's time, it came to be fixed at what has been more steady, and more uniform. A stability in the the common standard ever since. 3. The days of our heavens makes a stability in all things below; and that age are threescore years and ten : and though some men change, and contrariety of qualities which we have in be so strong, that they come to fourscore years, yet is these regions, is the fountain of corruption—the ether their strength then but labour and sorrow, so soon passeth in their little pores, the air in their greater, and the it away, and we are gone.' This is our stated period; vapours and atmosphere that surround them, shake, and and therefore for us, who live in this postdiluvian world, unsettle their texture and continuity; whereas, in a fixed and have the term of our trial so much shortened, the state of nature, where these principles have always the subsequent prayer of the devout Psalmist will always be same constant and uniform motion, a long and lasting necessary, always seasonable ; “So teach us to number peace ensues, without any violence, either within, or our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.' without to discompose them. We see, by daily experience,” continues he, “that bodies are kept better in the same medium, (as we call it,) than when they are sometimes in the air, and sometimes in the water, moist and dry, hot and cold, by turns; because these different
SECT. VI. states weaken the contexture of their parts. But our bodies, in the present state of nature, are put in an hun
CHAP. I.-Of the Deluge. dred different mediums, in the course of a year; the winds are of a different nature, and the air of a different weight and pressure, according as the weather and seasons affect them. All these things are enough to wear God (as we said before) had given mankind a reprival out our bodies soon, very soon, in comparison of what for an hundred and twenty years ; but when he saw they would last, if they were always encompassed with that all his lenity and forbearance tended to no purpose, one and the same medium, and that medium were always except it was to make them more bold and licentious in of one and the same temper.”
their sins, he declared to his servant Noah, that within a This is all very pretty : but the author's grand mistake short time his resolution was to destroy them, and with is, that it was not so in the primitive earth. He has no them all other creatures upon the face of the earth, by a authority to show, that how high soever the waters might flood of waters ; but a assured him, at the same time, that swell at the deluge, the centre of the earth gave way or since he had comported himself better, and approved his the foundations of the round world were shaken.' The fidelity to his Maker, he would take care to preserve him earth, no doubt, had, before, as well as after the flood, and his family, and whatever other creatures were necesan annual as well as diurnal motion. It stood to the sary for the restoration of their species from the general sun in the same oblique posture and situation, and was calamity, consequently subject to the same seasons and vicissi
To this purpose he gave him orders to build a kind of tudes that the present earth is; and if the air was more vessel, not in the form of ships now in use, but rather mild, and the elements more favourable at that time, this we may account the peculiar blessing of God, and not
Ps. xc. 10. the result of the earth's position to the sun, or any a The words in our translation are, With thee will I establish fancied stability in the weather. The truth is, whatever my covenant: but Ist, by the word covenant, we are not here to we may attribute to second causes, why bodies that are understand a mutual compact or agreement, but only a simple naturally mortal and corruptible should subsist so long and gracious promise, as it is likewise used, Numb. xviii
. 19, in the primitive ages of the world; yet the true cause of xxv. 12, and in several other places; which promise, though
only mentioned here, was doubtless made before, as may easily all is to be ascribed to the will of God, who impregnated be gathered from these words, and some foregoing passages, and our first parents with such vigour, and gave their pos- from the necessity that Noah should have some such support and terity for some time such robust constitutions, as de- encouragement during all the time of his ministry. 2d1y. This pended not upon the nature of their diet, the stability of and redemption of mankind by the Messias; and in this sense
covenant of God might relate to his sending the promised seed, the seasons, or the temperature of the air. After the will import, that as the Messias was to come out of Noah's loins, food, God snon made a sensible change in the length of so the divine providence would take care to preserve him alive. man's days. For, perceiving the general iniquity to But, 3dly. A learned and right reverend author is of opinion, increase again, and thereupon designing to make an its primitive fertility in Noah's lifetime. To which purpose he
that this covenant of God relates to his reinstating the earth in alteration in the world's continuance, he hastened the observes, that as soon as the flood was over, God declares, 'I period of human life, that the number of souls he intended will not again curse the ground for man's sake;' from which de
claration it appears, (says he) Ist, That the flood was the effect Sce Keill's Examination of Burnet's Theory.
of that curse which was denounced against the earth for man's
sake; and 2dly, That the old curse was fully executed and acas it had done before, and that the same vicissitude of seasons complished in the flood ; in consequence of which, a new blessing should prevail as of day and night; how is it possible to repre- is immediately pronounced upon the earth, Gen, xiii. 22. While sent, that God found it necessary to forewarn Noah that he must the earth remaineth, seed-time, and harvest, and cold, and heat, expect successive changes of seasons, and vicissitudes of heat and and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease.' cold, such as he had never yet experienced!”—Hales's Analysis, Poole's Annotations, and Bishop Sherlock's Use and Intent of 8vo, vol. 1. p. 324.-ED.