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to be Years in the litteral and general Acceptation of the Word.
It is also to be observ'd, that all the Versions that have been made of the Books of Mofes, have all taken the Tears therein mention'd, in the Sense I am now arguing for. For they have all render'd the Word by which Mofes denominates those Portions of Time, whereof the Antediluvian Fathers are said to have lived, seven, eight, and nine hundred, by Words that in the several Languages into which they have been made, denote such a Portion of Time as we call a Year, and is equal to three hundred and sixty, or three hundred and fixty five Days. But to illustrate this by an Example; the Septuagint Version makes use of the Word rös, that in the Greek Language signifies a Year, which among that people consisted of three hundred and sixty Days. " It is therefore most certain, the Authors of that Verfion, whom we may very reasonably suppose were the most learned among the Jews, and understood the Hebrew Language the most perfeAly of any of them, conceiv'd that the Expression made use of by Moses did really signify and denote a like Portion of Time.' The same might be instanced in all the other Versions, i . When I said the Year among the Greeks consisted of three hundred and fixty Days, it must be understood of their common
Years, that were composed of twelve Lunary Months, which the Greeks mistaking to be of thirty Days, in compounding their Year of twelve of them, made it to consist of three hundred and fixty Days ; for they had, besides those common Years, interca, lated ones that reduc'd all to the solar Form; which they were obliged to do, for the sake of their Games and Feafts. But this being foreign to my Purpose, I forbear mention ing any more of it, and return to my Subject. . If therefore it should be objected, that Men have always computed the Time from the Creation to the Flood by this Genealogy, that very Objection it self is a manifest Proof of the universal Agreement of Mankind to allow those Years ftrialy and litterally to be so. And sure if there were any Grounds for fixing those years to a less Portion of Time, some one or other would have been so happy as to have found it out, and would have rectified so great, and at the same time fo universal an Error, as all Mankind appears to have been in, in relation to this Point. Since therefore it has always been allow'd that the Distance of Time, from the Creation to the Flood, was fixteen hundred and fifty fix Years; and fince by this Genealogy we find it to have been the fame Number of Years; we may, I think, conclude, that if it is not a Proof,
it is at teaft a very trong Presumption in favour of the Senie, in which I conceive the Term Tears is to be understood. But, • III. This Genealogy will afford us another and a very convincing Argument of the Neceffity we lie under of taking the Word Pears in its proper and litteral Sense, by fhewing us the Absurdities we muft otherways unavoidably run into.
For we are told, Gen. v. ver. 15. that Mabalehel was but fixty five Years old when he begat Jared. Now I presume no one will pretend to say, that we are here to take the Word Tears in any other than its proper and litteral Sense. For if we should, for example, suppose them to be Months, as our Adverfaries would insinuate them to be, then it will follow that Mabalehel was not fix Years old when he begat Jared, and consequently he was a Father before he was of an Age to beget a Child. Which how abfurd that would be, I leave to any one's Judgment. The same may be faid of Enoch, who was but fixty five Years old neither when he begat Mathuselah ; and of Cainan, Mabalehel's Father, who was but seventy when he begat him ; and indeed of almost all the Patriarchs.
But let our Adversaries reduce the Years of Mahalehet's Life, which we are told were eight hundred and ninety five, to what Portion of Time they please, it will follow
of course that the fixty five Years at the end of which he is said to have begat Jared, must be reduced in the same Proportion, Suppose we should reduce his Life to, or near, our Standard, to an hundred for Example, then it will follow that he was but seven Tears and about two Months old when he begat Jared; which would be absurd. Let us now suppose that Mabalehel was only twenty Years old when he begat Jared, and much less we cannot ; then reducing the eight hundred and ninety five Years he is said to have lived, in the same Proportion we have the sixty five, it will follow that he liv'd above two hundred and seventy five Years; which Supposition, how groundless and extravagant soever it be, will by no means answer their Ends: For a Life of two hundred and seventy five Years will appear almost as improbable and as incredible as one of eight hundred, and will require very near, if not full, as strong an Authority to induce us to the Belief of it ; the one being, with us, as much out of the Course of Nature as the other. If we should reduce those Years to three Months, then Mahalehel will have lived two hundred and twenty odd Years, and have begat Jared at fifteen. If we reduce them to fix Months, then Mahalehel will have lived almost four hundred and fifty Years. All which Suppositions engage those that offer them in
perplexing Difficulties on one side or o: ther. Our Adversaries are therefore brought to this Dilemma; either, by reducing the Lives of the Antediluvian Fathers to, or near, our Standard, to run into the most gross Absurdities ; or by avoiding them, to allow those Lives to have conlisted of such a Portion of Time, as, by their own Arguments, will be full as improbable, and require full as strong an Authority to support the Belief of them, as those we now contend for.
IV. The Uncertainty our Adversaries lye under in the determining the Portion of Time we are to understand by the Term Tears, is an evident Proof of the Insuffici. ency of their Objection. For they can give us no Rule whereby to fix and ascertain it. And there is no more Reason to suppose it a Month, than two, or three, or fix Months; there being nothing in holy Writ, or any where else, that I know of, that can give any Grounds for any such Suppositions. The most reasonable ConjeAure, seemingly, is the fixing it to a Month. For, say they, it being certain that the Chaldeans, the Egyptians, and all the Eaftern Nations, in computing their periods of Time, made use of the Revolutions of the Moon, it may be possible that they called 'one Revolution of the Moon a