Page images
PDF
EPUB

genown,” held out the most protilizate examples to their inferiors. Noah," echo walked with God," and was stedfast in the profession of his faith, was a preacher of righteousness; and for 120 years, while the ark was building, denounced, but in vain, God's vengeance against a sinful world. Ai length when God saw that they were “flesh,”—“ earthly, sensual, devilish," -Jas, jii. 15.-—that the rcickedness of man was great in the earth, and that erery imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only eril continually,—Gen. si. 5 –He swept away the whole race, with the exception of Noah and his family. eight persons in the whole,- 1 Pet. iii. 20.,—to which small number the visible Church was now contracted.

The name of this restorer of the pure worship (Noah) means repose or consolation, which his father gave him, saying This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed.-Gen. v. 29.-predicting apparently (though perhaps unconsciously) that through him the Church should be restored once more to its original purity.

TABLE I.

Of the Ten Antediluvian Patriarchs, according to the Hebrew

Computation.

BORN Age at the

ApnoBirth of
Mundi. his Son.

No. of
Years he
lived af.
terwards.

DIED
Auno
Mundi.

Years cotempo

rary
With With
Adam. Noah.

Entire
Age.

1 Adam 2 Seth, 8 Enos 4 Cainan 5 Mabalaleel 6 Jared 7 Epoch 8 Methuselah 9 Lamech 10 Noah

1 130 235 325 395 460 622 687 874 1056

130 105 90 70 65 162

65 187 182 500

800 807 815 840 SSO 800 300 782 595 450

930 1042 1140 1235 1290 1422

987 1656 1651 2006

800 695 605 535 470 308 243

84 179 234 366

930 912 905 910 895 962 365 969 777 950

600 595

.

The Flood was in the year 1656 (Anno Mundi) and before Christ 2348; Noah being then 600 years old. He lived afterwards 350 years,

Total number of years of the above lives (excluding Enoch, who was translated) 8210, making on an average 912 years on each life.

(For the Table of the Postdiluvian Patriarchs, see p. ix.)

It is probable that the earth was peopled before the flood with a much greater number of inhabitants, in proportion to the space they occupied, than at any subsequent time, owing necessarily to the great length of their lives-on account of which the number would double itself in a tenth part of the time that is now required—so that there was probably a great number living even in the days of Abel, the second generation only. It has been calculated, that the inhabitants alive at the time of the flood amounted to near 14.000.000.000.000; i.e. fourteen. billions, or millions of millions—whereas the number supposed to be now living is not 1.000.000.000. or one fourteenth part, a disproportion hardly conceivable.

The longevity of the antediluvian inhabitants has been attributed to various causes-to sobriety, and simplicity of manners —to abstinence from flesli—and the superior virtue of the primitive fruits, herbs, and plants—to a greater strength of constitution or stamina—and to a greater salubrity of air.

II. The Patriarchal Church. Noah, on his miraculous deliverance, offered a sacrifice of burnt offerings to God on the altar, which the Lordsmelled as a sweet savour," as Christ's offering was afterwards declared to be,-Eph. v. 2.- and renewed with him and his posterity, the covenant of mercy.Gen, viii. 21.–After the death of Noah Shem succeeded to the patriarchal government of church and state,—a zealous worshipper-for God is calledthe Lord God of Shem,—Gen. ix, 16.—His name means to put in order, as that of his third son Arphaxad, who succeeded him, does to heal, or to sp read abroad the light; and at this period perhaps a clearer intimation may have been given of the appearance of the promised

Redeemer. Of his descendants Salah, whose name is to send forth, and Eber, meaning to pass orer, and from whom the people were afterwards called Hebrews, nothing is known.

Peleg, the son of Eber, whose name means to diride, succeeded his father; and it is said, that“ in his days was the earth divided,” alluding to the great separation and dispersion which took place in consequence of the miraculous confusion of languagesma punishment inflicted on the presumptuous builders of Babel, who desirous of making themselves a nameand of resisting the intention of God to disperse them in order to repeople the earth, proposed to build a city and a tower whose top should reach to heaven.”—Gen. xi. 3.4.-From the name of Reu, which means to break off, or to break the established order, it may be supposed that the visible Church now fell off still more from the worship of the true God, to the time of Terah, who was an actual idolater. Serug the son of Reu succeeded, whose name means to be wreathed, or twisted together, and it is probable that the members of the true Church now united themselves with those who openly professed idolatry.

The name of Nahor, the son of Serug, means dry or barren, and the state of things at this period was becoming similar to that at the conclusion of the Antediluvian Church.-Terah his son, the father of Abraham, is expressly said to have served other gods—Josh. xxiv, 2.-having been, as many suppose, a maker of images; and it is not at all improbable from these circumstances that Abraham was likely to be tinged with the stain of this now prevailing sin, and that he was therefore calledby the mercy of God“ from darkness to light;" for God established his covenant with him, and afterwards declared himself to be his God, and that of his immediate descendants," the God of Abraham,-of Isaac,—and of “ Jacob.Ex. iij. 6.

TABLE II.

Of the first Ten Postdiluvian Patriarchs, according to the

Hebrew Computation.

[blocks in formation]

A comparison of this second Table with the first (ante, p. vi.) will place in a strong point of view, the great, and rapid decrease in the years of man's life. In the thousand years before the flood, nine lives only (not noticing the short life of Enoch) make an amount of 8210 years, being on average 912 years to each life. Within the first thousand years after the flood, the aggregate of ten lives is only 3171 years, and the average only 317 years; and if this latter Table be divided, it will be found, that while the first five lives amount to 2174 years, making an average of 435 years each, the second five make only 997 years, or 199 years each. There is another peculiar circumstance distinguishes the two Tables—in the first, the respective ages rather increase; in the second, they almost uniforınly, and rapidly decreuse.

The appearances in the following Table are very similar, and the age of man is here brought down to its present standard.

TABLE III.

Ages of Ten other Patriarchs, fic, according to Usher, fc.

[blocks in formation]

saac, (Gen. xxxv. 28.)

2108 2 Jacob, (Gen. xlvii. 28)

2168 3 Joseph, (Gen. 1. 26)

2259 4 Levi, (Exod. vi. 16)

2248 5 Moses, (Deut. xxxiv. 7)

2133 6 Joshua, (Josh. xxiv. 29)

2451 7 Eli, (1 Sam. iv. 15)

2790 8 Samuel, (supposed i Sam. i. 20, xxv. 1) 2833

9 David, (sup. 2 Sam. v. 4, 1 Kings ii. 11) 2919 10 Solomon, (sup. 2 S. xii. 24, 1 K. xi. 43) 3071

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

III. On the idolatrous Descendants of Noah. The pure worship of God flourished in the family of Noah, and was transmitted to the posterity of Shem, through Arphaxad; but it declined amongst the descendants of Japhet, and Ham, when carried by them into the distant countries whither they migrated, and was soon absorbed in human“ inventions."

With Shem, though the youngest of the three sons,—Gen. xx.2, 21-ix. 24.—the rights of primogeniture rested, and his immediate descendants possessed themselves of the parts nearest the place of original settlement.—Elam became the father of the Elamites, or Persians-Ashur of the Assyrians -Lud of the Lydians—and Aram of the Syrians.—These all fell into idolatry. Arphaxad, the third son, possessed the banks of the Tigris; but as if to shew in the earliest periods of the Church, that men should be “ pilgrims and strangers upon the earth,and there should be " no continuing city,he and his posterity were driven from thence by Cush, and Nimrod, the descendants of Ham.

« PreviousContinue »