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collateral evidence of the verity of sacred chronology, by an exhibit of the events of general profane history, as coincident therewith. As we have already demonstrated, whenever they claim an antiquity antecedent to that of the Bible, they are fabulous, spurious.
In the department of SACRED chronology, we have the Samaritan, the Septuagint, and the Hebrew versions. Of these, the last, viz., the HEBREW chronology, claims the decided precedence, as will appear from what follows:
1. The Samaritans, originally of the stock of the Cuthites, were the descendants of Cush; transplanted from beyond the Euphrates into Samaria, by Esarhaddan, King of Assyria, who appointed over them an Israelitish priest. But even with this advantage, they succeeded, in a measure, to blend idolatry with the worship of the true God. Upon the Jewish restoration under Cyrus, they attempted, but without success, to effect a union with that people. Exasperated at this result, they imbibed a lasting enmity to the Jews; and, under Sanballat, their governor, with Tobiah and Geshem, after many ineffectual efforts to defeat the reformation under Nehemiah, and having ingratiated themselves into the favor of Darius Nothus, king of Persia, on a visit into Phænicia, obtained a grant to build on Mount Gerizim, a temple like that at Jerusalem. In after ages, as Samaria now became a common refuge for refractory Jews, the Samaritans were made up principally of apostate Jews and their descendants.
1. See on this subject, Introductory Essay.
But the Samaritans still professed the Hebrew reli gion, and retained a ritual service. They, however, retained nothing of the Old Testament Scriptures, but the five books of Moses. Hence the Title of their version, — “the Samaritan Pentateuch," which was copied from the Hebrew original.
2. The Septuagint version of the Scriptures is a Greek translation of the Hebrew of the Old Testament. It was thus translated for the benefit of those Jews who, under Alexander and Ptolemy Soter were brought into Alexandria, for the building and adorning of the city of that name; they having in time lost the knowledge of their own language. The translation was commenced under Ptolemy Philadelphus, about two hundred and eighty years before Christ, the principal editions of which are, the Alexandrian, and those of Philo, Justin Martyr, Epiphaneus, Ori. gen, Lucian, Aldus, Cardinal Zimenes, Pope Sixtus, Thecla, &c.
3. The Hebrew Scriptures, therefore, being the foundation both of the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Septuagint version, has the precedence in point of
But here comes up the question of precedence in point of AUTHORITY, between the chronology of the Greek, and that of the Hebrew versions, the difference from the Creation to the birth of Christ, being about one thousand five hundred years !
Now how is this to be accounted for? We answer,
in two ways,
1. The enlargement of the genealogies of the Patriarch's &c., either by the seventy themselves, or by
some early transcribers; the motive for which, as the learned contend, was, to produce a greater correspondence between the Scriptural antiquity of the origin of the created universe, and that claimed for it by the two Egyptian and Chaldean Annalists, Manetho and Berosus, and this, by way of an off-set against what they considered their high and extravagant pretensions. But, on the other hand,
2. It is generally conceded as incontrovertible, that the Hebrew Chronology has also been corrupted; the motive with the Jew being to furnish a refutation of the claims set up by Christ to be the true Messiah ! Nothing, they well knew, could so effectually prove that he was an impostor, as the pretence that the date of his nativity differed from the time specified by the OLD prophets. Then also, as most favorable to afford opportunities for such corruptions, was the circumstance that, from the age of the Apostles to the days of Origen, a period of two hundred and thirty years, the Hebrew MSS. were in the exclusive custody of the unbelieving Jews.
This is not the place to furnish the available proofs in detail, of these sources of corruption of Sacred Chronology. It must suffice us at present to observe, that while the genuineness of the Hebrew patriarchal chronology can be most clearly substantiated against the corruptions of the Septuagint; the Scriptures, taken as a whole, furnish internal evidence, as a corrective of the corruptions of the later chronology, by carnal Jews.
With the ground therefore thus prepared before us,
and relying on the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as our guide; and, in view of the objections already adverted to, and all other and similar objections to the contrary notwithstanding, we now proceed to a consideration, more directly, of the two propositions at the head of this Lecture.
I. GOD, IN HIS INFINITE WISDOM, HAS ASSIGNED TO THE WORLD WHICH WE INHABIT, BOTH IN RELATION TO ITS PHYSICAL AND MORAL CONSTITUTION, A LIMITED AND DEFINITE DURATION.
II. This limited and definite duration of the world, as comprehended under three successive dispensations, Patriarchal, Jewish, and Christian, is a subject fully revealed to God's people in his word.
And now, are any ready to start up as it were and say, “Can these things be?”. Does the incredulity of any prompt them to denounce the above positions as fanciful, as based upon vain speculations? Yea, more -- do they denounce them as presumptuous and fanatical? I intreat all such to pause — to suspend judgment -- to hold their minds in abeyance - till we can give an answer for the hope that is in us, in the fear of God. ?
In view therefore of this first proposition, we remark, that in Scripture, various forms of speech are used, to designate time; one of which, though (as some may suppose) not immediately connected with the subject, yet deserves a passing remark; and may serve, when properly understood, to disabuse the
1. 1 Pet. iii., 15.
2. 2 Cor. V.; 12.
mind of a needless (though perhaps a harmless) misapprehension of a very interesting portion of sacred history. It is the term “DAY," as denoting the length of the Great Creator's week of labor and repose, as used in the first chapter of Genesis. “The evening and the morning were the FIRST, SECOND, THIRD, &c., day.” The question respecting the term "day" as here used, is, whether it is a natural or solar day of twenty four hours, or a PERIOD of vastly greater length ?
In conducting our inquiries in reference to this interresting subject, we have already remarked, that, reasoning analogically, Nature and Providence are gradual in their operations; not like man, who is always for subitaneous violence, but deliberately proceeding, by gradual evolutions, as illustrated in the physical and intellectual powers of man, to unfold to our view, the properties, first, of matter, and then of mind. We now remark, that having applied this line of argument in our Introductory Essay, a posteriori, to the six days of creation, as furnishing evidence founded upon the physiological and oryctological discoveries of Science, that the six days of creation were periods of stupendous length, thereby showing their analogy with the works of God; we now resume that argument, a priori, with a view to exhibit its entire harmony with what is set forth in the word of God.