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Year, which Word was afterwards mistaken for twelve of these, or a Solar Year. And by that means the Lives of the Antediluvian Fathers have been spun out to such a prodigious length
'I have fewn in the foregoing Article, the Absurdities we must unavoidably give into, if we suppose those Years to be Months, and therefore shall not insist on them here. I shall only observe, that if we suppose those Years to be Months, we shall be very much at a Loss how to ac count for the Months spoken of by Mofes, and which I have thewn consisted of thir. ty Days each. How shall we make an hundred and fifty Days equal to five Months, when they would be then juft so many Years? But I forbear to dwell any longer on such gross Abfurdities, and go on to fhew, i · V. In the fifth Place; that the Context will not allow any Signification to be put upon the Word Pears, but that I have mentioned.
For it is said, Gen. vi. 3. that, Man's Days fall be an hundred and twenty Pears. That the Word Tears is to be taken here in its proper and litteral Sense, is too evident to be denied. For if we should understand by it any less Portion of Time, then we shall reduce Man's Life to
a fhorter Period than it's present one. Now what Reason can be alledged why we must here take the Word Tears in its proper and litteral Sense, and in all the foregoing and subsequent Chapters in a figurative, and, hitherto, indeterminate one, I cannot imagine,
Further in chap. xi. ver. 10, 11, it is faid that Shem was an hundred Years old, and begat Arphaxad two Tears after the Flood, and lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred Years; and ver. 12, 13. that Arphaxad lived. thirty five Years and begat Salah, and lived after he begat Salahfour hundred and three Tears; and ver. 14,.. 15. that Salah lived thirty Tears, and begat Eber, and lived after he beget Eber four hundred and three Tears; and ver. 16, 17., that Eber lived thirty four years and begat Peleg, and lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty Tears. Not to initance any more. Now will it be said that we must take the Word Pears in a proper Sense in one Verse, and in, a figurative one in the other? Shall we say, that in the eleventh Verse, where Shem is faid to have lived five hundred Tears, we must take it in a figurative Sense; and immediately after, in the very next Verse, where Arphaxad is said to have lived thirty five Tears and begat
Salah, in a proper one; and again in the
se Verse, where the same Arphaxad is said to have lived four hundred and three Tears, in a figurative one, and so alternately from Verse to Verse throughout the whole Chapter? That would be such a Paradox, as sure no Man, unless he was void of common Sense, would ever offer to advance. Since therefore it is evident that we must take it in this Chapter in its proper and litteral Sense, what Reason, what Pretence can there be, why we ought not to do the same in all the other Chapters? · Having shewn that the Antediluvian Fathers did really live such a Number of Years, as they are said to have done; I might now, to strengthen the Proofs I have brought of it, shew how highly reasonable it was they should do so. There are many Reasons why it was necessary they should live to that very great Age; as for, the propagating the Species; the bringing up, and the better governing, and préserving their families; the settling, inhabiting and cultivating all Parts of the Earth; the finding out Means to furnish themselves with the necessary Accommodations of Life, all Arts and Sciences being then in their very Infancy; besides a great many others which I forbear to mention, it not
being my Design to enlarge upon the Rea. sonableness of the thing, thinking it fufficient to have evinced the Certainty of it; and shall therefore leave it to the Reader to improve and enlarge those Hints I have just given..
And now having made it most plainly and evidently appear, that the Antediluvian Years were composed of three hundred and fixty Days each, and consequently that the Lives of thofe Patriarchs were in reality of as great a Length and Duration as they are said to have been ; I think I need not add any thing more, that being all I propos'd to sew by this little Tract. But I cannot pass over in Silence one very considerable and unanswerable Argument, that the Affertion I have just now proved will afford us in favour of the Books of Mofes. Fór, since it is demonstrated that the Antediluvian Fathers did really live to that very great Age we'read of; we shall thence be furnish'd with a very strong Proof of the Certainty of Moses's Writings, and their -Authority and Credibility will be thereby firmly establish'd, and we shall be able at. once to overthrow that sophistical ObjeAion made to them, namely, the Distance of Time between the Facts Moses relates, and the Time of his writing his History of them. And as Tradition was the only Law
and Hiltory that people had, at leaft that we know of, till Mofes's Time, it will very much conduce to the Credit of those Tra ditions, reduced into and delivered to us in Writing by Moses, when we shall find how few Hands they had pass'd thro' before they came to his; for a Tradition that has pass'd thro' but five Persons Hands only, is undoubtedly much more to be credited and rely'd upon, than if it had pass'd chro' fifty. And we shall find that the Account of the Creation had pass'd thro': but two Persons Hands before it came to Abraham, and thro' but five before it came from Adam to Mofes himself: For Adam liy'd long enough to deliver it to Lamech, Lamech being fifty Years old when Adam dy'd ; Lamech liv'd till Shem was ninety five Years old ;, and Sbem liv'd till Ifaac was fifty Years old ; and consequently Abraham had the Account of the Creation at the third Hand, and that of the Flood at the first, from Shem, who had been an Eye-witness of it. Ifaac liv'd till Levi, Jacob's Son, was thirty nine Years old ; and Levi lived till within forty eight Years of Mofes, who was his Grandson. So it is plain the Account of the Creation pass'd thro' not above five Hands, and that of the Flood thro' pot 2bove three, before it came to Mofes. For Adam liy'd to instruct Lamech i Lamech,