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precisely four of the Metonic Cycles; the effect of which was, to give a difference of only one day between the termination of each Calippic and four Metonic Cycles, a period of seventy-six years!
Now, of the two above Cycles, though the learned Dean Prideaux says of the Metonic, that it continued to regulate the Grecian Olympiads down to the time when Christianity gained the ascendancy in the Roman Empire ; 1 yet of the Calippic Cycle he says, that it "was most in reputation among the Greeks, for the bringing of the reckonings of the sun and moon's motions to an agreement,"' only about one hundred years after the Cycle of Meto, the latter being invented four hundred and thirty-two years before Christ — the former three hundred and thirty years before Christ.
Confidence in these deductions, however, increases with the advances of astronomical science in after ages, in the more accurate measurements of solar time. Of these advances, as connected with those which more immediately concern us, it is only necessary that we advert to our account of the Julian and the Juliano-Gregorian solar year, as the universally admitted standard 4 for the measurement of time in chronological science.
One very important question now to be decided is,
1. Prid., Con. vol. ii., p. 188.
3. See pp. 40, 41., &c. 4. I here assume the responsibility to add, since the period of the Flood.
whether sacred time, Ante-diluvian and Post-diluvian, agree the one with the other ? Our solar year, as is evident from the preceding, amounts to nearly three hundred and sixty-five days and a quarter But according to Shuckford, it appears, that "before the Flood, the solar year was three hundred and sixty days; " that it embraced twelve months, each of thirty days; ? that “ in that space of time the sun made one entire revolution ;” and consequently, that "all the time of the Ante-diluvian world, chronology was fixed and easy,” &c.
But, have we scripture evidence of this fact? We answer affirmatively, and that too of the most unquestionable kind. Moses, in his “computation of the duration of the flood," tells us that it began “on the seventeenth day of the second month ; ? prevailed without any sensible abatement for one hundred and fifty days; 3 and that the Ark lodged on mount Ararat on the seventeenth day of the seventh month." So that we see, from the seventeenth of the second month, to the seventeenth of the seventh month, (i. e., for five whole months,) he allows one hundred and and fifty days, which is just thirty days to each month, for five times thirty days are a one hundred and fifty.” 5
Now, this computation of the duration of the Flood, we say, must have been regulated by the Ante-dilu
1. Shuck. Con. Vol. i., p. 11. 2. Gen. vii., 11.
3. Gen. vii.,
24. 4. Gen. viii., 3, 4.
5. Shuck. Con. Vol. i., p. 11, 12.
vian Standard ; and for the simple reason, that no miraculous communication had been made of the difference between a solar Ante-diluvian and a solar Post-diluvian year.
Nor, considering the state of astronomical science at the time Moses wrote his history, is there any ground for surprise at his omission to recognize this difference, the first attempt to correct the Egyptian year by astronomical observations not having been made till near one hundred and fifty years after his death.
These premises admitted, where, we ask, the propriety of measuring sacred ante-diluvian time by the post-diluvian solar year, the necessary result of which is, the addition thereto (i. e., a period of one thousand six hundred and fifty-six years) of above twenty-three
Another question now presents itself, viz. : - Can the sacred or Jewish year (lunar,) historic and prophetic, be made to harmonize with the Julian solar year? On the answer to this question depends the merits of all our subsequent deductions, -as, without this harmony, the difference between the Jewish common year at three hundred and sixty days, and that of the Julian solar year at three hundredand sixty-five days and about a quarter, when applied to a given period, will vary in the proportion of one year plus the former, to every thirty-two years of the latter. Our position therefore in reference to the above, is as follows,
As of the Julian solar year, so of the Jewish lunar year INTERCALARY TIME was a characteristic pe
culiar to both. Hence the harmony of the one with the other.
On this subject however, there is a difference of opinion among the learned, so far at least as relates to the period between the Flood and the captivities. Shuckford, for instance, says, — we do not find that God, by any special appointment, corrected the year for the Jews. And we do not any where read that Moses ever made a correction of it. And speaking of the Jewish intercalary year, he observes that we nowhere in the books of the Old Testament find any mention of such a month; and he quotes Scaliger as being positive, that there was no such intercalary month in the time of Moses, or of the Judges, or of the Kings; and finally, that a year consisted of twelve months in the times of David and Solomon, &c. These declarations to the contrary notwithstanding however, the learned Doctor admits that there was an actual change in solar time, Ante-diluvian and Post-diluvian, to the amount of five days and almost six hours, and that this change took place at the Flood ; also, that as soon as it was observed, philosophers endeavored to set right their chronology by it, inasmuch as the ancient (ante-diluvian solar) measure of a year would not do, &c.
According, then, to the above, it is not singular that Moses never corrected the solar year; nor that the in
1. Comp. 1 Kings iv., 5, with 1 Chron. xxvii. See Shuck. Con. Vol. i., p. 11, 12
2. Ibid. Vol. i., p. 8.
tercalary year was unknown, not only in his time, but in that also of the Judges and Kings. But what does this argue ? Certainly that Divine Providence left the discovery to the province of artificial means, respecting which Moses, &c., had not the sagacity to find out!
Now, though it be conceded that there was no Divine revelation given of the changes in the ante-diluvian and post-diluvian year, between the year of the Flood, A. M., 1656, and the mission of Moses, A. M., 2513, an interval of eight hundred and fifty-seven years;- is it true also as applicable to the time of the Judges and Kings, or even of the entire mission of Moses? This is a point which merits investigation; and as connected with the subject now under discussion, we remark, it is evident that, in the time of David, as recorded in First Chronicles, the twelfth and thirty-second verse, the practice of astronomical observations among the Hebrews, is more than intimated in the words, “and of the children of ISSACHAR, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do." If there be any doubts as to the import of this passage, so far as we can place reliance upon the readings of the Targum, it is as follows:--" They (the children of Issachar) were skilful in the knowledge of times, and wise to fix the beginning of the years; dextrous at setting the new moons, and fixing their feasts at their seasons.” 1 Nor is this all. We are furnished with a nucleus to the
1, J. Bichen, A.M. Signs of the Times, 1808 Flemings Apocal. Key. Appendix, p. 153.