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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, and four hundred and, twenty-fix 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 food 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 *.
* I know some eminent divines express a most fove. reign contempt of all chronological disquisitions. I confels I am otherway3 minded; as chronology serves to manifeft the divine veracity by removing various feeming contradictions in the Scriptures; as well as illustrate divine wifdoin in providential dispensations, fhewing that every thing takes place in the season fitteft for his people's neceflities, and most for the lonour of the Divine Governor. Various able chronologers have proceeded on a different plan, in settling the æra of this covenant: They suppose Abram was Terah's first-ború ; and, of consequence, place this transaction fixty years at least nearer the food than I have done. Such as Auguftine, Luther, Scaliger, Alfted, Christopher Helvicus, Giles Stranchius, Seth Calvisins; and, to mention no more, Mellis Robert Baillie and Robert Millar, two learned Scorfinen. But, in fubmission to competent judges, and R2
2. Tie apostacy which had broke into the Church, from the food till this time, rendered such a transaction absolutely necessary.There were notable and glaring defections among those very persons whom God had taken into covenant with himself. Noah, the inost eminent covenanter, had acted a part truly unworthy his privileges and engagements, by falling into the fin of drunkenness; and thise, notorious fault of Noah's, afforded scope for Ham's wicked heart to vent itself in a petulan publication of it to his brethren. Shem's con
with humble deference to such venerable names, the feventieth and fifth year of Abrain's life coincided with the two hundred and fifth year of the life of Terah : Of confequence, Abram could not be his firft-born, nor born in the seventieth year of his life. That the last year Terah’s life was his two hundred and fifth, is expressly aflerted by Moses (Gen. xi. 32.) That Abram departcd from Charran when his father died is equally certain, on the authority of Stephen (Acts vii. 4.) And that Abrain was only seventy-five years old when he left Charran is manifest from the teltimony of the sacred hiftorian, formerly quoted, (Gen. xii. 4.)-Now, if we take feventy-five years from the two hundred and five that Terab 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 fuffrage of the best critics (if human authority be of any confideration in this cale), both ancient and modern : Such as Chryfoftom, John Calvin, Francis Junius, Peter Martyr, Wolfganus Mufculus, Davil Pareus, Michael Walthers, John Diodati, Andrew Rivet, and Archbishop Ullier ; also our learned countrymaji
duct, however, and Japhet's, is as full of filial reverence, as was Ham's of wantonness and wickedness; and both the former are as much commended by the Spirit of God as the latter is accurfed. Noah, enlightened as a prophet, and empowered as a patriarch, prononnced this censure ;-a cenfure which extended unto Canaan, as well as unto Ham: “ Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren *.” As Ham was an undutiful fon, so was he punished in his son, and the punil:ment carried on from generation to generation. Nor was this sentence, in
any respect, unequal; as it is always juit to visit the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, while the children walk in their father's foot-steps, and cleave to their iniquities. This was probably
Scharp (whom King James VI. banished) in his SYMPHO. NIA PROPHETARUM ET APOSTOLORUM, p. 52. And his opinion has been confirmed by the labours of John Henry Heidegger, and F. Spanheim, F. F. beyond any probåbility of refutation or reply. Hiftor. Patriarch, Toin. II. Excrcit. xxiv. Thef. 12. et fequent. Chronolog. Sac. p. 226.-The only thing urged against the plan 1 have laid down is, the Mosaic account of Teralı, Gen. xi. 26. "And Terah lived feventy years and begat Abrain, Nahor, and Haran.” They imagine this proves Abrain to have been born in the feventieth year of Teralı ; but, if it preves him to have been born that year, it proves Na. hor and Haran to have been born the fame year likeways, which is absid: And, though Abram be first mentioned, it may juftly import priority in point of Jignity, rather than of years; as is frequently the cafe in the holy Scriptures.
the case with Canaan; the little wreich joined, in the derition of Noah, with his lascivious father. But reproof fits 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 designed 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 tlie 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 sufficient security; but imagined a tower of their own building greatly preferable. It is always
natural for man, in his corrupted state, to prefer his own devices to the inventions of ipfis nite wisdom. These builders, like the antediluvian giants, meant to become MEN OF RENOWN: They said, “Let us make us A NAME*." Their wicked intention will appear in a still clearer point of view, if it is considered, that they intended to baffle the purpose of heaven in their punishment. Their own consciences dictated to them, that they were egregious finners, and deserved to be scattered abroad; but they fell on this expedient, leaft“ they should be scattered abroad on the face of the whole eartht.” -By this time the world was almost universally funk into idolatry. At the confusion of languages, which was inflicted by God to stop the Babel-building, the language which had before obtained in the world, as well as the true religion, continued in the family of Heber : Whereas the builders seem to have lost their religion with their language, if not before. But, by this time, idolatry had got in among the lineal descendents of Heber themselves, as well as others: Says Joshua, " Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the food in old time, Terah tlie: father of Abraham, and the father of Nahor; and they served other gods.” Thus, the fire of idolatry was brought into the fanctuary of the Lord: Wherefore it was necessary to bring the Church out
Gen. xi. 4.