aware of a single statement in Scripture that after. According to our present Hebrew is contradicted by any ascertained fact in either text, the former event took place B.C. 4004, science or history. Let us take a single and the latter, 1656 years afterwards. In instance in point. The Old Testament de- other words, one edition of the Scriptares clares that God 'created man in His own assigns to the human race an antiquity of image' (Gen. i. 27), and the New Testament more than 1400 years greater than the other, calls Adam 'a son of God' (Luke iii. 38), while it makes the period from Adam to the and adds that all men are God's offspring Flood 000 years longer. These discrepancies (Acts xvii. 29). Now, though the findings are enormous, and make it perfectly obvious of geology are not equally distinct, they all that either the one or the other copy, or both, point, as we have seen, in exactly the same have been seriously tampered with. Modern direction. Geology nowhere sanctions the doc scholars are now generally of opinion that the trine of the transmutation of species, or that the serious charge of falsifying the sacred record higher types of organic life have, in the course lies at the door of those intrasted with the of ages, been developed' out of the lower. custody of the Hebrew Scriptures; and that, No trace of such development can be found in in order to refute their Christian opponents as the innumerable pages of her stony records. to the predicted time of the appearance of the Her entire testimony is opposed to the impious Messiah, they committed the fearful crime of theories of the modern infidel, who tries to changing the inspired records. It was an show that man has been developed from the ancient tradition among the Jews that the ape or the baboon, or that he is the lineal world was destined to last for a period of descendant of the gorilla--the most hideous seven millenniums,-the first six correspondand disgusting of all brutes. It is ouly when ing to the six days of creation, and the serenth men are opposed in heart to God, and when, to the Sabbath, or day of rest--and that prein consequence, their moral eye hopelessly vious to the last millennium the Messiah should squints, that they can so read the record of appear in great power and glory. Traces of either Genesis or Geology.

this tradition may be found in the vaticina. The entire space of time intervening be- tions of the Sibylline oracles, and in the tween the creation of man and the birth of writings of the Greek theogonists and cosmoChrist is usually divided by chronologists into gonists; and there can be little doubt that it six periods or ages. The first, extending from found its way to the native country of the Adam to the general Deluge, is called the Magi, and prepared them, at the proper time, Antediluvian age; the second, from the for the appearance of the star in the east. We Deluge to the call of Abraham, the Post- have no doubt that the tradition had ita firm diluvian age; the third, from the call of foundation in the Hebrew and Greek Serip. Abraham to the Exodus, the Patriarchal age; tures, which, at the time of our Lord's adeert, the fourth, from the Exodus to the foundation wero in exact harmony. The date of His of Solomon's Temple, the Critarchal (Judge- birth perfectly agreed with the tradition, and ruling) age; the fifth, from the founding of thus a powerful argument was supplied to the the Temple to the Jewish Captivity, the Christians that the Desire of all nations' Monarchal age; and the sixth, from the had actually come, and that it was He whom Captivity to the birth of Christ, ths Hierarchal the Jewish rulers and priests had maliciously age. Each of these great periods has its own crucified. Seeing they were capable of per chronological difficulties, but those connected petrating that unparalleled crime, they would with the first three greatly exceed in magni. hardly shrink from any other. Having tude those attaching to the others. The date already murdered the Son of God, they now when man first appeared on the earth, and resolved on mutilating His inspired word, in the precise time when, owing to its multiplied order to make the world believe that Jesus of iniquities, almost the entire race was swept Nazareth was not the promised Saviour, but away, are out of sight the hardest to determine an impostor who had appeared fourteen hun. in the entire field of chronology. With the dred years too soon. It is ackuowledged by exceptiou of the Book of Genesis, we possess Biblical critics,' says Professor Wallace, in his no authentic records of these events; and it admirable and exhaustive treatise, The True so happens that even this invaluable document, Age of the World' (Smith, Elder, & Co., full as it is of notes of time, conveys much London, 1844), 'that all the copies of the less satisfactory information regarding the two present Hebrew text were taken froin manggrand events referred to than we could wish. scripts of dates later than the ninth century, That book comes down to us in three distinct and that the striking uniformity which all the forms—the original Hebrew, the Samaritan, printed editions exhibit is to be attributed to and the Greek or Septuagint translation; and the fact that they were all copied from the these three, while closely agreeing in almost same codex.'s Dr Hales also gives citations all other particulars, are amazingly divergent from Eusebius, from the Jewish Targums, and in everything connected with dates. Accord- from other works, in which decided referenca ing to the chronology of the Septuagint, Adam is made to the larger numbers as they anciently was created 5478 years before the Incarnation, existed in the Hebrew. Mr Cunninghame, and the Deluge occurred 2262 years there- also, in bis ‘Dissertation on the Apocalypse,'

proves, on the authority of ancient Jewish tradition, that Adam was 230 years old when he begat Seth (and not 130 as in our Hebrew text). Consequently, by the argument ex uno disce omnes, we conclude that the whole of the antepaidogonian ages are correctly given in the Septuagint, and that the true extent of the Antediluvian age is 2262 years. The changes introduced are, for the most part, curiously systematic, as will be at once perceived by comparing the Hebrew with the Septuagint, in regard to the ages of the Ante. diluvians at the birth of each eldest son :Hebrew, . 130 105 90 70 65 162 65 187 182 Septuagint, 230 205 190 170 163 162 165 187 188

It will be seen that in six cases the differ. ence is exactly 100 years, and the result is that, according to the Hebrew, the Antediluvian age is shorteued by six centuries.

In the second or Postdiluvian age, the result is precisely similar, as will be perceived at a glance by arranging the ten descents, from the Flood to Abraham (Gen. xi. 10-27), in parallel columns. The figures show the age of each patriarch at the birth of his firstbora son-firsi, in the Hebrew, and second, in the Septuagint : Hebrew, . 35 0 30 34 30 32 30 29 70 75 Septuagint, 135 130 130 131 130 132 130 79 70 75

Here, again, there appear clear indications of design; for in six cases out of the ten, the age of each patriarch at the date of his eldest son's birth is, in the Hebrew, precisely 100 .years less than in the Septuagint. What is still more extraordinary, the Hebrew entirely omits the name of Cainan II., thereby shorten. ing the chronology to the extent of 130 years, though the genuineness of the Septuagint is fully attested by St. Luke in his genealogy of our Lord (Luke iii. 36). Lastly, the following table shows the discrepancies of the two texts with regard to the whole lives of the ten Postdiluviau patriarchs :Hebrew, . 438 0 433 464 239 239 230 148 205 175 Septuagint,538 460 433 404 339 339 330 208 205 175

An important consideration in favour of the Septuagint chronology is that, according to it, che decrease in the duration of human life after the Flood is far more natural and progressive than in the Hebrew, which exhibits great leaps between the different terms of the progression. Leibnitz's celebrated rule, natura non agit per sallum, is nowhere more applicable than here. There is a suitable propor. cion, moreover, in the Greek numbers, between che whole lives of the patriarchs (both before and after the Flood), and their ages at the birth of their eldest sons, which is wholly wanting in the Hebrew. In the period before the Flood, the average of the six antepaido. gonian ages is to the average of their entire lives in the ratio of 1 to 5 in the Greek, but vnly as 1 to 9 in the Hebrew. If these ratios be applied to the present average duration of human life, we find that, were the proportions

indicated by the Hebrew text to hold good, fathers would beget children at the age of eight years! but, according to the Greek, not sooner than at the age of fourteen. This argument grows in strength when we come to the Postdiluvian age; for there the Hebrew analogy would allow men now to become fathers at the age of seven, but the Septuagint not before the age of twenty-three ,

Once more, the Hebrew text gives B.C. 2288 as the date of the universal Deluge, but the Septuagint B.C. 3216, or nearly a thousand years earlier. Now we cannot possibly accede the former as the true date, for we have the most indubitable monumental evidence to the contrary. Professor C. P. Smyth has shown, in his recently published 'Antiquity of Intellectual Man,' that the Great Pyramid of Jeezeh, the most ancient and stupendous of all existing monuments, was erected about the year B.C. 2170. Now, such a gigantic structure, on which, according to Herodotus, 100,00) men were engaged for 30 years could not possibly have been erected so early as 118 years after the Deluge, or (according to the same system of chronologyj only 41 years after the dispersion of nations.

This Pyramid, moreover, in its unique and marvellous system of symbology, gives some very remarkable indications of the true date of the Delage. These, as interpreted by the Scottish Astronomer-Royal, clearly point to a year close upon B.c. 2800 as the actual time of that grand catastrophe. The evidence, therefore, which this colossal monument supplies, while it confirms the general testimony of both the Hebrew text and the Septuagint, differs from each by only one-twelfth part of the whole time, either way-yet, precisely speaking, indicates a year that lies almost midway between the dates which they assiga to that great era in the world's history. A doubt is consequently suggested, whether the chronology of the Septuagint has not, to some extent been tampered with, as well as that of the Hebrew, though in an opposite direction ? We need scarcely inform our readers that many able chronologists, including Usher, Petavius, and Clinton, adduce many weighty arguments against the early chronology of the Greek Scriptures, without being in the least swayed by any evidence obtained from the Pyramid. At the same time, the Pyramid date of the Delage approaches that of the Septuagint about a hundred years more closely than it does the date of the Hebrew text. Further investigations will, in all likelihood, confirm the testimony of this 'sign and wonder in the land of Egypt' (Jer. xxxii. 20), and render it more and more manifest that that unparalleled structure was intended from the beginning to be the grand standard for trying and correcting not only the confused metrologies of the nations, but also their equally vitiated chronologies.

Dr Richard Lepsius of Berlin, the most

learned and accomplished of all living Egypt. This result, especially when taken in connecologists, has proved by a rigid comparison of tion with the above dates as they stand in the the existing monuments, that the duration of Septuagint, is of the greatest importance in the Egyptian monarchy prior to the exodus of fixing the chronology of the Old Testament, the Israelites (an event which he places B.C. and in silencing the cavils of influential modera 1314) was 1115 years. According to this objectors. One serious difficulty, however, computation, Memphis was founded B.C. 2429, still remains—a difficulty, indeed, which to a date entirely agreeing with the date of the many is all but insuperable. la Gen. xv. 13, Flood as given by the Septuagint, but wholly God says to Abraham, 'Know of a surety inconsistent with it as given by the Hebrew, that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that by Usher, and by our received text. lo is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they this conclusion our own indefatigable shall afflict them 400 years.

Bedt William Osburn-whose varied learning and in the fourth generation they shall come hitber familiar acquaintance with the ancient monu- again; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not ments are not inferior to those of the illustri- yet full.' The actual time was 430 years ous German, and whose love of truth and (Ex. xii. 40, Gal. iii. 17), but the apparens reverence for the inspired record are im. discrepancy here is easily explained. The measurably superior-substantially agrees (see real difficulty is found in the words fuarth his able and highly satisfactory treatise, entitled, generation. Most expositors assume that this

The Monumental History of Egypt,' 2 means the fourth generation from Jacob; and vols. : London, Trübner & Co., 1854). He they adduce texts to show that, in certain also agrees with Lepsius in believing that the well-known pedigrees, three names only appear first migration into Egypt took place not more during the 215 years of the actual soj pura. tban 120 years prior to the building of Mem- There can be no doubt, howerer, that the phis and the founding of the Egyptian passage quoted speaks of the fourth generatioa monarchy. No great interval can have separ- from Abraham, and not from Jacob. But even ated this migration from the date of the admitting that these generations are to be confusion of tongues, and the consequent dis- counted from Jacob, we ask how it is possible persion of the nations—events which, therefore, that, in three descents, seventy persons could we may safely reckon as having occurred about have expanded into 600,000 tiguting men, BC. 2550. Osburn further shows (i. 377) besides women, children, and old men, that the call of Abraham, or rather his visit Amounting in the aggregate to at least to Egypt, which must have occurred very soon 4,000,000 souls! The thing is utterly ab. thereafter, took place in the reign of Pharaoh sard, and, in short, could not be. Besides, Achthoes, the 24th or 25th king of that it was not the men of the fourth descent fron country, about 566 years after the first Jacob that left Egypt in the days of Moses, peopling of the land, and 446 years after the but those of the twentieth descent, as is evident building of Memphis. This would make the from 1 Chron. vii. 20-27. In this interesting call of Abraham-that grand date at which passage we have the full details of the geneall human history really commences—to have alogy of Joshua, the son of Nun, who belongs occurred about BC. 1984. According to to the nineteenth descent from Epbraim, the Usher, Abraham laft Haran, on his way to youuger son of Joseph, The house of Joseph Canaan, B.C. 1921; Joseph was carried into doubtless enjoyed many facilities for preserving Egypt in 1728; Jacob, with his family, settled their pedigree-facilities that were denied to in Goshen in 1706; and the exodus took place the other tribes—and hence we have all the in 1491. These dates do not differ very widely links of the chain presented to our view; bat from those deduced from the monuments, about the same number of descents most bare which indicate that Abrabam arrived in Egypt belonged to each of the other tribes, though, in the reign of Pharaoh Achthoes, of the 1lih as is usual in such cases, only prominent perdynasty, about B.c. 1934 ; that Joseph was sons are mentioned in their pedigrees when sold as a slave in the reign of Pbaraoh they happen to be cited. This extremely Aphophis, a prince of the 16th dynasty, in important passage, then, enables us at once to 1791; that the immigration of the Israelites see how, in the course of 215 years, so small into the land took place in the reign of the a number could have increased to such a same king, about 1769; and that they finally mighty host. But then, what becomes of the left the land in the reign of Sethos II. of the words, in the fourth generation they shall 19th dynasty, B.C. 1554. It thus appears come hither again '? We shall have no diffithat our received text is in perfect accordance culty in explaining this; for generation with the monuments in assigning 430 years does not always sigoify descent -as, for exas the entire period between the giving of the ample, Num. xxxii. i3, 'And the Lord's promise to Abraham and the exit of his seed anger was kindled against Israel, and be made from the land of bondage. The two records them wander in the wilderness forty years, are also in harmony io indicating that the 430 until all the generation that had done evil is years are divided into two equal parts by the the sight of the Lord was consgmed.' Here arrival of Jacob and his family in the Delta, generation' means simply all the souls each part having a duration of 215 years. then living.' On account of Jehovah's dis

pleasure, the whole of the mighty host that left general history of the world from the earliest Egypt (above the age of twenty) were to perish age, the Jews set the example of constructing in 40 years instead of 100 years, which would therefrom a complete system of chronology. be the time required for all the adalts then Aided, as they believed, by credible tradition, living to die a natural death. Let us take a Ezra and later authorities in Palestine, and simple illustration. In May, 1869, the the Hellenistic Jews of Alexandria, applied Registrar-General of England estimated the themselves to the task. Working in two population of the United Kingdom at distant and unfriendly bodies, these learned 31,015,234. Some of these were infants of men, who employed in their occupation all one hour's age, others were fully 100 years the skill of their day, produced results of a old; but in one hundred years hence, or a dissimilar kind, and so gave a proof that the little more, not one person of those thirty-one materials which lay before them were not millions will be alive; but fifty or sixty millions without difficulties. Hence, however, arose more will have come in their room. These, or the marked difference, in regard to the ante. some of them, will live another 100 years, and diluvian age, between the Palestinian or four such universal displacements will require Hebrew, and the Alexandrine or Greek 100 years, or four generations. The average chronology. The former is found in the life of man was much greater in the days of Bible and the Samaritan Pentateuch; the the patriarchs than now. Abraham lived 175 latter in the Septuagint. On the following years, Isaac 180, Jacob 148, Joseph 110, page will be found the numbers, taken from Aaron 122, and Moses 120, and their mean Bansen. age is 142 years. This is probably greatly The New Testament writers - closely above the general average of the men of their following the example of Moses-give us two respective generativns, for depravity shortens distinct genealogies of our Lord (Matt. j. 1-16; human life; yet we cannot suppose that it Luke iii. 23-38), the one being his lineage was less than 120 years. Four such genera. through Joseph, his supposed father, and the tions would require 480 years. But the people other his real pedigree through Mary. These actually entered Canaan 470 years after genealogies sufficiently determine the order of Abraham left it; and thus the word of the time in which the Desire of all nations' Lord was literally fulfilled. For this splendid appeared, but they do not fix the precise year. result we are again nainly indebted to the As the genealogy given by Matthew was admirable W. Osburn ( Monumental History specially meant for Jewish readers, it begins of Egypt,' ïi. 629), whose pious and learned with Abraham, their renowned ancestor; labours cannot fail, ere long, to assume their while that of Luke, whose main purpose was proper place.

to show that Jesus is the kinsmau of the We cannot be expected here to discuss all entire race, is extended backward to Adam, the difficulties connected with New Testament who is emphatically styled the son of God.' chronology, for, however interesting in them. Matthew appends a very curious summary to selves, they are insignificant when compared his genealogy, apparently for mnemonic pur. with those we encountered under the last chap. poses : So all the generations from Abraham ter. There the discrepancies sometimes amount. to David are fourteen generations; and from ed to several centuries, whereas here they usu David until the carrying away into Babylon ally embrace only a very few years. By far the are fourteen generations; and from the carrymost important is the true date of our Lord's ing away into Babylon unto Christ are four. birth. This is the central point of human teen generations. This remarkable summary, history—the grand era from which all other besides being helpful to the memory, is emievents are counted by Christian nations. nently suggestive ; for here the God of Israel Hence this era— when the Word became is represented as marching gloriously through flesh,' and when the Creator eternally allied the ages in sately, measured steps, disposing Himself to the creature—is significantly termed at pleasure of all events in Israel's history, and,

the fulness of time. But just as we cannot through Israel, of the fortunes of all mankind, determine that point in past eternity when God It will be perceived that the passage does not called the physical universe into existence; or refer to all past time, but simply to Israel's that point in past time when living creatures past ; not to the five thousand years that bad first peopled the earth ; or that greatly more already elapsed of human history, but to the recent date when God created man in His two thousand years that had elapsed since God own image ; or, finally, that other point, still singled out one family from among all the future, when an angel shall swear by Him families of our species to be a peculiar that liveth for ever and ever that time shall people unto Himself. w Here God is seen be no longer ;'-90 also we cannot determine, descending from heaven to earth, and the preat least with undoubted accuracy, the precise cise spot which His feet first touch is UR OF time wben the Word became flesh, and when THE CHALDEES, the native city of him who our ruined species became linked, by indis. is, ere long, honoured with the appellation of soluble bonds, to the Eternal.

the friend of God.' 'Arise,' said God, Proceeding on the assumption that the get thee out of thy country, and from thy scriptures of the Old Testament presented a kindred, unto a land that I will show thee;

and I will make of thee a great nation; and I which is upon the sea-shore ; and thy seed will bless thee, and make thy name great; and shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in in thee and thy seed shall all families of the thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be earth be blessed' (Gen, xii. 1-3). Subse- blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice' quently he greatly enlarges this promise by (Gen. xxii. 15-18). We give these passages Adding, •And I will establish my covenant at length, because they constitute Israel's titlebetween me and thee, and thy seed after thee, deeds to the land out of which he has, for a in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, time, been ejected, and because the time is to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after approaching when the original charter will thee. And I will give unto thee and to thy speak for itself. seed after thee the land wherein thou art a The inspired apostle next sees the Ancient stranger, all the land of Canaan for an ever- of days beginning to walk down, in solemn lasting possession; and I will be their God' tread, athwart the centuries. His feet first (Gen. xvii. 7, 8). These exceeding great and meet the ground at HEBRON—where Abraprecious promises are afterwards solemnly con- ham once purchased a field and a cave in tirmed by an oath, when Abraham by self- which to deposit the sacred remains of his sacrificing obedience has demonstrated the beloved Sarah, thus affording to his posterity vitality of his faith. And the angel of the a new ground of hope that at a future day Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven, the they would obtain possession of the entire land second time, and said, By myself have I --and at the moment that the man after God's sworn, saith the Lord, because thou hast done own heart is being crowned king of the covethis thing, and hast not withheld thy son, nant people. This stupendous step embraces thine only son, that in blessing I will bless a period of 866 years, or, according to the thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy authentic pedigree from which the apostle is seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand quoting, it embraced .fourteen generatioas'

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« VorigeDoorgaan »