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7. Means of preserving traditional knowledge, prior to the era of written language.
8. GRADUAL preparations for the introduction of the gospel.
ILLUSTRATED with astronomical calculations, and chronological tables. The whole intended for 'an improvement of Archbishop Ulher's Annals, and Sir 1. Newton's Chronology.
By the Rev. ROBERT WALKER, Rector of Shingham, Norfolk.
LONDON to be printed for T. Cadell jun. and W. Davies, (Successors to Mr. Cadell) in the Strand.
CONDITIONS. The work will be printed on a fine paper, and elegant type, in two volumes quarto, price 21. 2 s. to be paid when copies are delivered to SUBSCRIBERS.
SOME readers may pronounce every attempt to erect the fabric of ancient Universal History, on the basis of Aftronomical Chronology, a visionary project, to the execution of which the human faculties are inadequate. In the presumption, that the scheme is practicable, the author proceeded to collect materials, which he found to be various, suitable to the proposed end, and sufficient to enforce conviction. To facilitate the study of, sacred literature, by evincing that the objections, daily
urged against the credibility of the Holy Oracles, rise from ignorance and sophistry, was his prevailing motive to this arduous enterprize.
Of truth in all its modifications God is the original fource, and all his works it pervades. Nature, Providence, and Grace, are distinct departments of one grand and complex, but harmonious scheme, in which are differences of adminiftrations, but the same Lord; and diversities of operations, but the same God, who worketh all in all : that is, whose all powerful energy conducts to admirable and beneficial ends, the separate and combined tendencies of secondary causes, and subordinate means; not to speak of moral agents, contributing their aid, without knowledge, and often beyond their intention.
In the fashionable phraseology, nature is an independent principle, and providence, chance.— Words, as thus applied, are without a meaning. Grace too is exploded by the professed pupils of fatality, as the chimera of superstition and impofture. But if the universe be the result of Essential Perfection, if the events of time be overruled by all-directing Wisdom, and if the discoveries contained in the Bible were indeed vouchsafed by the “ Father of Lights, who appointed the sun, moon, and fars, their circuits in the firmament of the heaven, to divide the day from the night, and to be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years," the obvious inference is, “ That NATURE and PROVIDENCE are subservient to the difpensation of Grace.”
If the three modes of government have one common object,
as they have one common Lord, a perfect har mony of operation is supposable, in the means, causes, and effects, employed during all the intermediate stages.
The Sacred Annals, together with the Prophetical Oracles, define with scientifical precision the interval, in days, weeks, months, and astronomical years, from Adam to the reign of Caligula ; nay foretel such events as are now fulfilling, or yet to be fulfilled, prior to the consummation of things. No where else is a primary fource of computation to be found. This interval issubdivided into diftinct parts, each of a determinate length, and all conducive both to the ease and certainty of reckoning ;-for example,
From Adam to Noah ; hence to Abraham, and from hiin to Mofes, is the patriarchal economy continued, and the several periods circumscribed within limits characterised by defined astronomical quantities.
In like manner is ascertained the space from Moses to Joshua, and from the intermediate judges, to Samuel ; whence the computation proceeds by Kings to the rise of the Chaldean monarchy.
The canonical history of the Jews ends about 440 years before the crucifixion, that is, half a century after the commencement of the famous seventy prophetical weeks : 368 years from the restoration of the Olympiad, 345 from the Varronian era, and 339 from that of Nabonassar. By the seventy prophetical weeks is the chronological chain continued, from the first point in measured time, without the loss of one link; and by these three notable eras of the gentiles, is the A 3
Sacred History brought into astronomical connexion with that of the pagan empires, in continuous fuccession, and co-existent periods.
CHRISTIANITY, or the doctrine of grace, is not quite so ancient as the creation. But it certainly did commence immediately with the apostacy in paradise. Before fin entered into the world, the luminaries had begun their courses, and by their periodical revolutions are measured, with an exactness, which extends to the minutest fractional parts of time, those intermediate ages from the prime source of computation to the very day, when the second Adam rose from the grave, to an endless life and universal dominion.
THOUGH it is not affirmed, that a diftinct knowledge of the chronological characters, in the Bible, is of equat importance and necessity with belief in the doctrines and facts of Revelation ; yet, if the veracity of the sacred writers can be established on the basis of demonstrative science, it must appear, that the objections, ftill urged against the credibility of the holy oracles, are the offspring of ignorance and sophistry.
For evincing the certainty of the Bible History, Genealogy is an essential ingredient. During the first three ages of the world, that is, from the creation to the Exodus, the fum of the intervals in family descents is the past duration of the planetary system. In ascertaining this criterion of chronological truth, one axiom is fundamental : “ The age of procreation must accord with the standard of natural life, in the several ages of the world.” This axiom merits exemplification.
1. “ĄLL 1. “All the days of Jared were 962 years, and he died." This notation harmonises with that other chronological character, which connects the birth of Enoch with the 262d year of the same Jared.
2. From the birth of Arphaxad to that of Nahor the grandfather of Abraham, (seven generations), the usual standard of natural life was between 250 and 300 years, and the common age of procreation 30, plus minus. These arrangements are congruous with the course of nature. But in the generations, after Nahor, the ultimate period of mortality was compressed within less protracted limits; and, at the fame time, the mean proportion of generations was extended to 60 years and upwards, in the line at least of Terah by Abraham. That, in all the other families of Noah's progeny, and even those in the line of Shem by Haran and Nahor, the sons of Terah, procreation made a less rapid progress, during a series of generations, is not credible. But probable reasons may be assigned for a longer space between descents in the families of Isaac and Jacob, than of Ilhmael and Efau. Here a minute specification would be improper.
3. AFTER Terah was the standard of natural life comprised within the space of two centuries ; yet if the reckoning be continued from J udah exclusively to the descent into Egypt, he was the grandfather of two twins, Hezron and Hamul, by Pharez, the youngest of four fons, at the time of that descent: scarcely half . a century. The improbable circumstances are ;