« הקודםהמשך »
in their expositions of prophecy, with the exception of an absolute knowledge of the fact.
“ That it is not for us to fore-know the time when this dispensation will end, or Christ's glorious reign on earth will begin,” he argues
1. “From the analogy to be found in other great events under the government of God, and especially the event of death."
He says, “If it be found that in administering his government over this world, God has often revealed the certainty of great events, yet commonly concealed their dates, we would properly expect to find the same thing true as to the most signal deliverances of his people, or judgments against his enemies, yet to be experienced. Turn, then, to these two classes of events already recorded.” p. 267.
To this we agree; and would also add, that if it be found that the dates of great events have often been revealed, “we would properly expect to find the same thing true as to” future events. We are therefore willing to abide in the decision of this question, by “the analogy found in other great events in the government of God.” The first event to which our aliention is called, is that of the flood; an event, of which our Savior said, “ thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” We are willing to rest the question on the analogy to be found in this event alone. Mr. D. admits that “God revealed to Noah his purpose to deluge the earth, and to save him only with his family, from among mankind; and with this announcement, the patriarch received minute directions for the building of the ark.” The precise time he thinks was not revealed to Noah; or if we suppose it was, that it does not appear to have been made known to others.
He says “ some understand Gen. vi. 3, ‘his days shall be an hundred and twenty vears,' of the interval predicted to the flood ;” and adds,“ but how could that be possible, when Noah's three sons were live ing, and probably married at the time of the prediction, yet were born after he was five hundred years old, and therefore were not over one hundred years old at the flood which was in his six hundredth year?”
That such was the case when the command was given to build the ark as recorded in Gen. vi. 14, is evident; but it is not so clear, that the prediction in Gen. vi. 3, was not given that length of time before the flood. In the connection as it there stands, there is no reference in the whole paragraph to the children of Noah. With the 9th verse of Gen. 6th, evidently begins a new paragraph, which seems to have no connection with the preceeding one, and bears the impress of being a more full prediction of the same event, given at a subsequent period of time, when it had pleased Gud to reveal bis plans and purposes to Noah more fully. In the 5th chape ter is “the book of the generations of Adam” and his geneology is continued till the time is brought 10 the sons of Noah, independently of the history of Other events. When the record of that geneology is completed, down to the time of the flood, then Moses begins the sixth chapter, with," When men
began to multiply,” &c., “and God saw that the wickedness of man was great." If therefore, men Þegan to multiply on the face of the earth, and God saw that the wickedness of man was great in it before the birth of Noah's sons, it may also follow that the prediction in the 3d verse, being in the same connection with the record of the other facts, was also made prior to their birth. We are satisfied that it is so to be understood; and thus all diffi. culty is removed, and the "infidel cavil” is equally set aside, as with the other interpretation.
The other view of this passage, that “refers it to the reduced age of mackind,” is encompassed with still greater obstacles ; for, it cannot be shown to have been thus applicable. Individuals can be re. referred to, whose ages were about or were precisely 120 years, but it does not appear from the Bible and that is the only authentic authority we have on this point that this was ever the average length of the age of man. We find that for a long time after this prediction was made, the age of man was extended far beyond this limit. Shem attained the age of 600 years ; Arphaxed lived 438; Salah lived 433; Eber lived 464; Peleg lived 239; Reu lived 239; Serug lived 230; Nahor lived 148 ; Terah lived 205 ; Abraham lived 175 ; Isaac lived 180; Jacob lived 147; Joseph lived 110; Moses was 120 when he died, and Joshua was 110. Thus it appears that for about 1000 years after this prediction was made, the great majority, of whose age we have any knowledge, attained a much greater longevity. After the flood, the age of man appears to
have gradually decreased, until it reached the limo it of three score years and ten. There appears to have been no sudden cutting short of the age of man, from 900 to 120 years, as we should expect to find, if this prediction could have had such an application. Nor, as we should also expect, do we find any period when this was the usual limit of man's life. From these considerations we can see no propriety in applying this prediction to the reduced age of man; while the evidence to our mind is clear, that it denoted the time that elapsed from the prediction to the flood.
If such is the case, the “analogy" that is to be found in the event of the flood, is most striking. Thus, 1st. we find that at one time God only reveal. ed the time when he would destroy the world, without revealing the manner.
2. Afterwards, the manner of that destruction is given, with a more full revelation of the event.
3. As the time draws nigh, and there are but seven days to the flood, the very day of the event is given.
4. Every individual soul, that is saved, is looking for the event at the very time, otherwise they would not have gone into the ark, and been saved.
5. Many who perished had an opportunity to know that God had purposed to drown the world; for if Noah did not reveal the time, the ark itself must have warned them; and it is in vain to suppose that they were ignorant of Noah's expectations : therefore every plank that was added to the ark was an admonition, that the time of its completion was drawing nigh; and when it was completed, and ready for the reception of its inmates, they then might know that no longer delay was necessary for the accomplishment of God's purpose.
We should therefore expect in the second destruction of the world, that God would not reveal at any one time the whole of his purpose, respecting the time and manner of its accomplishinent; but that it would be revealed a little here, and a little there-in one place the time, and in another the manner-in language so plain, that the way faring man, though a fool. need not err therein; and yet, not in language so direct, and explicit, but that those disposed might have an abundance of plausible reasons on which to predicate their doubts. Even the time itself, we should expect from the analogy, would be given in such a manner, that it might be contended with some show of reason, not to denote the duration of time, but only the defilement of the temple by Antiochus; as the prediction of the time to the flood is also applied to the reduced age of mankind. We should also expect that as the time of the event drew nigh, that all who would be saved would have a more clear conception of the great event; and when the time had about expired, would all be in the attitude of expectation of the eveni; even the day itself might be known seven days previous. On the other hand, we should also expect, that those who will perish, would, many of them, wave an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the time and manner of the end, but would none of them believe in the reality of it