Obrazy na stronie

eight months nearly. In the generation before the extraction of the Mefliah from Abraham was made known, propagation had a flower progress ; for from Terah to Judah the mean standard was 93 ; and thence to David 651.

PROVIDENCE, it may reasonably be presumed, had important ends for appointing, comparatively, few human progenitors to the promised seed, in whom blessings, for all nations, were reserved. One natural reason is obvious. In the line of Terah by Abraham, Ifaac, Jacob, and Judah, the pedigree is counted from the younger sons, in numerous instances. Nor is it improbable that the fathers of the particular tribe, whence the Messiah was intended to spring, should have their faith and patience long tried, by waiting for the aca complishment of the promise, as far as they, in particular, were concerned. Isaac was born of a superannuated mother. Several examples nearly similar, repeated in the series of generations, might, when the. mystery was fully to be revealed, produce a more easy and cordial belief of immense blessings from the son of a virgin. It need not be supposed, that the mean age of procreation, exemplified in the seven descents from Arphaxad to Terah, was, in the subsequent ages, considerably enlarged or anticipated. Had it been enlarged, the case of Abraham's family would not have been singular. The subject now under consideration is the common term of natural life; and it is to be noted,


. 1. The sentence of being cut off in the wilderness, at the end of 40 years, was limited to the generation


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brought out of Egypt, and of them, to such alorie as were 20 years old, or upward, at the time of that ree lease, and had likewise murmured at the report of the cowardly. and lying fpies. To the generation which should be born in the wilderness, or in later times, the threatening did not extend: . . .'

2. Many instances of great longevity oecur, in the interval from the egrefs to David. Aaron, Moses, Eleazar, Caleb, Joshua, belong to the former period. Phinehas, the fon of Eleazar, was certainly born in the wilderness. The year: before the paffage over Jordan he signalized his zeal and heroism in the plains of Moab * . He was then 20 years old at leaft. From the chronology and history of the times, it is probable, that 50 years after the entrance into Canaan, he succeeded his father in the pontificate, which fun&tion' he discharged 45 years." He therefore lived 116 years, if not more.. . .... . .. to · OTHNIEL, the fon of Caleb's brother, 'was a military general in the sixth year of Joshua's government, and" acquired renown in the redu&tion of Debir t. After 60 years he undertook the conduct of the war against Cuhan, which lasted eight years. The land had reft 40 years, and Othniel died. His age muft therefore have exceeded 128.. ; 'work' : .. GIDEON, that mighty man of valour; maintained a war of seven years against Midian, and after a glorious victory, which restored quietness to the country 40

* Num, xxv. 7.7143 mont: Joh. xv. 17. ' [..

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years, died in a good old age. The phraseology of that time. justifies the conclusion, that he lived one. full century.

. . . . . . In the continually decreasing period of longevity, Eli, about 66 years after, died by accident, at the age of 98, an old man; yet nothing is said of his having exceeded the ordinary term of life. Samuel succeeded him in the pontificate. Thirty years, was the age of consecration, and he had ministered in the vocation of a subordinate prielt, before he rose to the primacy, when his age was probably 36. His administration, ac the inauguration of Saul, was a period of 36 years more. Josephus reports that Saul survived him only two years *. Every circumstance in the history confirms this notation; and more particularly Saul's confultation with the woman at Endor. If Samuel's death had not been a recent occurrence, it is not supposable, that the king would have desired an interview with that prophet. All these characters of time evince that Samuel lived 110 years, · UNCERTAIN is the date of Jesse's birth. He went for, an old man in the days of Saul, when his son, David, was but a stripling. In the 36th of that reign, David committed his father and mother to the protection of the king of - Moab; and they most probably were living at the death of Saul. Hence it may be presumed, that Jelle's age filled up one complete century; and shat human life was first reduced to the term of 70

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or 80 years in the time of David. In the 33d of this reign, and at the age of 8o, Barzillai pronounced himself a very old man.

3. RELYING on the certain truth of his postulate, Usher dedu&ts 31 years from the government of Joshua, which, with other mis-arrangements, to be specified in their proper places, abbreviates the chronology from Moses to Othniel.

4. In the Treatise on the Sacred Chronology *, the age of procreation afsigned to the three ancestors of David, after Salmon, contradicts the term of natural life, faid, in the ANNALS, to have been fixed in the year after the Exodus, to 70, or 80. There it is alfumed, that Boaz lived 102, Obed and Jesse each 111, before the birth of their respective sons. The interval from the birth of Boaz to that of David is 324. This sum divided by 3, quotes 108, for the common measure. But is it credible, in a period of the world when very few mortals lived more than 80 years, that the space between three descents, in immediate succession, did exceed a century? To no purpose is it alleged, that a great many examples of persons, who lived from 130 to 150 years, from the days of Vespafian to Thomas Parr, are recorded in history. These examples the Primate has been at great pains to collect. His conclusion is a paralogism. The point to be proved was, that three fathers, in lineal and continuous order, in any period since the time of David, begat sons at

• Part. I. C. 12.


the age of 102, or III; that is 20 or 30 years after the usual and ultimate term of life. Serious reasoning in support of a paradox is ridiculous.

Much easier it is to demolish a tottering, than erect a firm and well proportioned fabric. The scheme. of scripture chronology will derive both firmness and proportion from genealogy. In this directory, for computation, two rules are carefully to be observed. The age of procreation must neither anticipate the course of nature, nor be extended to the utmoft term of life. The birth of a son prior to the 14th of a father's life may, as not vouched by experience or history, be considered as a physical improbability; and in the facred genealogies no example of procreation before 16 occurs, and none ought to be admitted.

From Abraham to David the generations are 14, counting Solomon the first of a new series.

When the long lives of the first three patriarchs are considered, (175, 180, and 147), the birth of Isaac in the 1oodth of Abraham, of Jacob in the both of Ifaac, and of Judah in the 8ift of Jacob, are events in perfect agreement with the course of nature. From the descent into Egypt, with which the birth of Pharez has been connected, to the egress, the years are 215, and the generations four, excluding Nahshon, whose age at the egress is supposed to have been 19. This number taken from 215 leaves 196 for the four intermediate generations, of which the mean quantity for each is precisely 49. The ages of Levi, Joseph, Kohath, and Amram, were severally 137, 110, 133, and 137, and


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