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the incarnation of Christ, being near, though not exactly two thousand years distant from each of these extremes. It was also made about the middle space between the flood and the redemption of Israel out of Egypt: And it was something more than four hundred and twenty years distant from each of these events ; being four hundred and twenty-seven years after the flood, a Ad four hundred and twenty-six years since the last time we read of the Church's covenanting with God. The last covenant was executed the year after the flood: From the Hood to the birth of Nahor, in the seventieth year of Terah's life, were two hundred and ninety-two years: From the birth of Nahor to that of Abram sixty years: And from Abram's birth to his call about seventy-four years *.
; - 2. The
* I know some eminent divines express a most sovereign contempt of all chronological disquisitions. I confess I am otherways minded; as chronology serves to manifest the divine veracity by removing various seeming contradictions in the Scriptures; as well as illustrate divine wisdom in providential dispensations, /hewing that every thing takes place in the season fittest for his people's necessities, and most for the bottom* of th£ Divine Governor. Various able chronologers have proceeded on a different plan, in settling the sera of this covenant: They suppose Abram was Terah's first-born; and, of Consequence, place this transaction sixty years at least nearer the flood than 1 have done. Such as Augustine, Luther, Scaliger, Alsted, Christopher Helvicus, Giles Stianchius, Seth Calvisius; and, to mention-no more, Messrs'.Robert Baillie and Robert Millar, two learned Scotsmen. But, in submission to competent judges, and
R. 2 with
2. Th E apostacy which had broke into the Church, from the Hood till this time, rendered
filch a transaction absolutely necessary.
There were notable and glaring defections among thole very persons whom God had taken into covenant with himself. Noah, the most eminent covenanter, had acted a part truly unworthy his privileges and engagements, by falling iuto the lin of drunkenness; and thisf notorious fault of Noah's, afforded scope for Ham's wicked heart to vent itself in a petulant publication of it to his brethren. Shem's conduct,
•with humble deference to such venerable names, the seventieth and fifth year of Abram's life coincided with the two hundred and fifth year of the life of Terah: Of consequence, Abram could not be his first-born, nor born in the seventieth year of his life. That the last year of Tcrah's life was his two hundred and fifth, is expressly aslerted by Moses (Gen. xi. 32.) That Abrain departed from Charran when his father died is equally certain, on the authority of Stephen (Acts vii. 4.) And that Ahram was only seventy-five years old when he left Charrun is manifest from the testimony of the sacred historian, formerly quoted, (Gen. xii. 4.)—Now, if we take seventy-five years from the two hundred and five that Terah lived, the remainder gives us the year of his life in which Abram was born, viz. the hundred and thirtieth year of it. - On this plan the two Testaments accord; and every seeming contradiction is removed: Nor is it without the suffrage of the best critics (if human authority be of any consideration in this cafe), both ancient and modern: Such as Clirysostom, John Calvin, Francis Junius, Peter Martyr, Wolfganus Mustulus, David Pare us, Michael Walthers, John Diodati^ Andrew Rivet, .and Archluihop Usher; also our learned countryman"
duct, however, and Japhet's, is as full of filial reverence, as was Hani's of wantonness and wickedness; and both the former are as much commended by the Spirit of Gpd as the latter is accursed. Noah, enlightened as a prophet, and empowered as a patriarch, pronounced this censure ;—a censure which extended unto Canaan, as well as unto Ham: u Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren *." As Ham was an undutiful son, so was he punished in his son, and the punishment carried on from generation to generation. Nor was this sentence, in any respect, unequal; as it is always just to visit the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, while the children walk in their father's loot-steps, and cleave to their iniquities. This was probably
Scharp (whom King James VI. banished) in liis Sympho
HU PROPHET ARUM ET APO S T O L OR V M>p. 52. And lllS
opinion has been confirmed bv the labouis of John Hen,17 Heidegger, and F. Spanheiin, F. F. beyond any probability of refutation or reply. Hist or. Patriarch, Tom. II. Excrcit. xxiv. Thes. 12. ct sequent. Chronolog. Sac.
p. 226. The only thing nrq;ed agaihst the plan 1 have
laid down is, the Mosaic account of Terah, Gen. xi. 26. "And Terah lived seventy years and begat Abrain, Kahor, and Haran." They imagine thia proves Abrain to have been born in the seventieth'year of Terah; but, if it proves him to'have been bom that year, it proves Isahor and Haran to have been bom the lame vear likeways, which is absurd: And, though Abram be first mentioned, it may justly import piiority in point of dignity, rather than of years; as is fretrucntly the cafe in the holyScriptures.
* Gen. ix, 25.
the the case with Canaan; the little wretch joined, in the derilion of Noah, with his lascivious father. But reproof jits always uneasy on the neck of unrenewed sinners: Hence Ham and his family seem to have taken the same route with Cain, when this sentence 'was intimated to them; like him, they went out from the presence of the Lord.—-—-The greatest part of mankind had joined in wicked device to build the Tower of Babel. Some might be ready to imagine, perhaps, that this was a very harmless amusement; but it contained a complication of evils. The device itself originated in pride, vanity, and atheism; and implied a distrust of God's covenant for their preservation. They deligiud to raise this Tower to heaven; as ,if they meant to rival God in the heavens: And, in the stateliness of it, they trusted for safety from a second deluge, rather than in the promise of the Noachic covenant. Some have denied, indeed, that this Tower was intended as a defence from "a second deluge; for (say they) it was built upon a plain, and not on a hill, whereas a hill would have been a more advantageous situation for such a purpose: But, as they meant to raise it up to heaven, it was certainly all one whether the foot of it stood on a plain or on a hill. To me it appears, that these Babelbuilders did not think God's covenant a sufiieient sectiiitv; but imagined a toWer of their own building greatly preferable. It is always
natural natural for man, in his corrupted date, to prefer his own devices to the inventions of infinite wifdoni. Tkefe builders, like the antediluvian giants, meant to become MEN OF RENOWN: They faid, " Let us make us A Nam E *." Their wicked intention will appear in a ftill clearer point of view, if it is confidcred, that they intended to baffle the purpofe of heaven in their punifhment. Their own conferences dictated to them, that they were egregious linners, anddeferved to be fcattered abroad j but they fell on this expedient, leaft " they mould be fcattered abroad on the face of the
whole earth j"." By this time the world
was almoft univerfally funk into idolatry. At the confufionpf languages, which was inflicted by God to flop the Babel-building, the language which had before obtained in the world, as wtttas the true religion, continued in the family of Heber: "Whereas the builders feem to hare loft their religion with, their language, if not before. But, by this time, idolatry had got in among the lineal defcendents of Hcbcr themfelves, as well as others: Says Joflraa, "Your fathers dwelt on the other fide of the flood in old time, Terah the father of Abraham, and the father of Nahor; and they ferved other gods." Thus, the fire of idolatry was brought into the fanctuary of the Lord: Wherefore it was neceflary to bring the Church out
* Gen. xi. 4. \ Ibid.