ページの画像
PDF
ePub

thereby? for to speak of any thing superfluous it is not used in God's books; and if Iscah had not belonged to the story, it had been but an idle name to no purpose remembered.

Now if it had been true (as those of the contrary opinion affirm) that Moses had no respect of Nachor and Haran, who were notwithstanding the parents of Bethuel and Rebecca, the mother of Israel and of Christ; what regard then had Moses of Iscah in this place, were she not Sarah, but otherwise an idle name, of whom there is nothing else, first or last?

The age also of Lot disproveth the eldership of Abraham; for Lot was called an old man when Abraham was but eighty-three years; and if Lot were of a greater age than Abraham, and Haran were father to Lot, Sarah, and Milcah, Abraham marrying one of Haran's daughters, and Nahor the other, Sarah also being within ten years as old as Abraham; it may appear to every reasonable man, (not obstinate and prejudicate,) that Haran was the eldest son of Terah, and not Abraham; who also died first, and before his father left Ur in Chaldæa. Also Lyra reasoneth against the opinion of Abraham's eldership, upon the same place of Genesis; drawing argument from the age of Sarah, who was but ten years younger than Abraham himself. Lyra's words are these: Si igitur Haran fuit junior ipso Abraham, sequitur quod non habebat decem annos quando genuit Saram: imo nec octo, &c. and afterwards, et ideo melius videtur dicendum, quod Abraham fuit ultimo natus de tribus filiis Thare, tamen nominatur primo, propter ejus dignitatem, et quia ponendus erat caput stirpis et generationis sequentis, et quia primo facta est ei repromissio expressa de Christo, sicut supra dictum est de Sem, &c. “ If there“ fore,” saith Lyra, “ Haran was younger than Abraham “ himself, it followeth that he was not ten years old when “ he begat Sarah ; and therefore it seemeth better to be 66 said, that Abraham was the last born of the three sons of “ Thare, nevertheless he is named first for his dignity, both " because he was to be ordained head of the stock and

ge

“ neration following, and because the promise of Christ was “ first made unto him, as before it is said of Sem."

SECT. VII. A conclusion of this dispute, noting the authors on both sides ; with

an admonition that they which shorten the times make all ancient stories the more unprobable.

IT therefore agreeth with the scriptures, with nature, time, and reason, that Haran was the eldest son of Terah, and not Abraham; and that Abraham was born in the 130th year of Terah's life, and not in the seventieth year. For Abraham departing Charran after y Terah died, according to St. Stephen, and that journey by Abraham performed when he was ? seventy-five years old, these two numbers added make 205 years, the full age of Terah ; seeing that when Terah died, then Abraham entered Canaan. For myself, I have no other end herein, than to manifest the truth of the world's story; I reverence the judgments of the fathers, but I know they were mistaken in particulars. St. Augustine was doubtful, and could not determine this controversy. For whatsoever is borrowed from him out of his sixteenth book De Civitate Dei, c. 15. the same may

be answered out of himself in his twenty-fifth question upon Genesis. But St. Augustine herein followed Josephus and Isidore ; and Beda followed St. Augustine. And it was out of a foolish pride and vanity, that the Hebrews and Josephus sought to make Abraham the first-born ; as if God had had respect to the eldest in nature. So did Josephus, together with Nicholas Damascenus, (thinking thereby to glorify the Jewish nation,) make Abraham a king, entitling Sarah by the name of

queen
Sarah;

and said that Abraham was followed with 318 captains, of which every one had an infinite multitude under him: trecentos et octodecim præfectos habuit ; quorum singulis infinita multitudo parebat. And that Pharaoh invading him with a great army, took from him his wife Sarah. Such fables argue that Josephus is not to be believed, but with discreet reservations.

y Acts vii. 4.

1 Gen, xii. 4.

This account of times, allowing no more than 292 years from the flood to Abraham, is upheld by many of the Hebrews. But how should we value the opinion of such chronologers, as take Amraphel for Nimrod ? Surely, if their judgment in such matters were worthy to be regarded, it would have appeared in setting down the succession of the Persian kings, under whom they lived, whose history was not so far remote in time, as these antiquities, nor wanting the light of many good writers. Yet grossly have they erred therein, and so familiar are their mistakings in all things of like nature, that we seldom find their opinion rehearsed without the confutation treading on the heels of it. They of the Roman religion are also generally on the same side; it being a thing usual among them, to maintain whatsoever they have been formerly known to hold and believe. Contrariwise, of the more ancient Theodoret, and some following him ; of later times Beroaldus, Codoman, Peucer, Calvin, Junius, Beza, Broughton, Doct. Gibbons, and Moore, with divers of the protestants, hold Abraham to have been born in the 130th year of his father Terah. From these, (as in a case not concerning any point in religion,) divers of the same religion, and those nevertheless good authors, as Bucholcerus, Chytræus, Functius, and others, are very averse herein, especially Josephus Scaliger with his Sethus Calvisius, proclaiming Beroaldus an arch-heretic in chronology, and condemning this opinion of his as poisonous. Contrariwise, Augustinus Torniellus, a priest of the congregation of St. Paul, a judicious, diligent, and free writer, whose annals are newly set forth, very earnestly defends the opinion which I have already delivered; not alleging Beroaldus, nor any protestant writer, as being perhaps unwilling to owe thanks to heretics. For myself, I do neither mislike the contrary opinion, because commonly those of the Romish religion labour to uphold it; nor favour this large account of times, because many notable men of the protestant writers have approved it; but for the truth itself. To strengthen which, after all these former reasons and testimonies of scripture, I will add thus much more to the rest. First, it is apparent to all men of judgment, that the best approved historians, divine and profane, labour to investigate the truth of times, thereby to approve the stories and forepast actions of the world; and not the truth of histories to approve the times by. Let us then make judgment to ourselves, which of these two accounts give the best reputation to the story of the scriptures; teaching the world's new plantation, and the continuance of God's church; either that of Josephus, and those which follow him, who make but 292 years, or thereabouts, between the flood and birth of Abraham; or this other account, which makes 352 years between the one and the other; the one taking Abraham to be the first-born of Thare, in the seventieth year of his life; the other a younger son of Thare, and born when he had lived 130 years. And if we look over all, and do not hastily satisfy our understanding with the first things offered, and thereby being satiated do slothfully and drowsily sit down, we shall find it more agreeable rather to allow the reckoning of the Septuagint, who, according to some editions, make it above 1072 years between the flood and Abraham's birth, than to take away any part of those 352 years given. For if we advisedly consider the state and countenance of the world, such as it was in Abraham's time, yea, before Abraham was born, we shall find that it were very

ill done of us, by following opinion without the guide of reason, to pare the times over-deeply between Abraham and the flood; because in cutting them too near the quick, the reputation of the whole story might perchance bleed thereby, were not the testimony of the scripture supreme, so as no objection can approach it; and that we did not follow withal this precept of St. Augustine, that wheresoever any one place in the scriptures may be conceived disagreeing to the whole, the same is by ignorance of interpretation misunderstood. For in Abraham's time, all the then known parts. of the world were peopled; all regions and countries had their kings. Egypt had many magnificent cities; and so had Palestina, and all the bordering countries ; yea, all that part of the world besides, as far as India ; and those not

built with sticks, but of hewn stones, and defended with walls and rampiers ; which magnificence needed a parent of more antiquity than those other men have supposed. And therefore, where the scriptures are plainest, and best agreeing with reason and nature, to what end should we labour to beget doubts and scruples, or draw all things into wonders and marvels ? giving also strength thereby to common cavillers, and to those men's apish brains, who only bend their wits to find impossibilities and monsters in the story of the world and mankind.

SECT. VIII.

A computation of the times of the Assyrians, and others, grounded

upon the times noted in the story of Abraham. IN this sort therefore, for the reasons before alleged, I conclude, that from the general flood to the birth of a Abraham 352 years were consumed; and taking the Assyrian history with us, the same number of years were spent from the flood to the forty-third year of Ninus; in which fortythird year of Ninus Abraham was born; which happened in the year

of the world 2009. Now of this time of 352 years, we must give one part as well to the increase of those people which came into Shinar, as to those that stayed in the east, to wit, thirty years to Chus, ere he begat Seba; of which though the scriptures are silent, yet because those of the same time had that age when they begat their first sons, we may the more safely give the like allowance to these. For Eber begat Peleg at thirty-four, Peleg Regu at thirty, Regu Serug at thirty

Now after Seba, Chus begat Havila, Sabta, Raama, and Sabtecha; and Raama begat Sheba and Dedan before Nimrod was born, as it appeareth Gen. x. which b St. Augustine approveth. Giving then thirty years more to Raama ere he begat Sheba, and five years to the five elder brothers of Nimrod, it may be gathered that sixty-five years were consumed ere Nimrod himself was born; and that Raama

two.

a An. mundi 2008. dil. 352. natus Abraham. Euseb. August. de Civitate

Dei, 1. 16. c. 17.

Aug. de Civitate Dei,

b

« 前へ次へ »