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others supposing that it resulted from the peculiar excellence of the plants, herbs, and fruits, that were first appointed for the subsistence of the human race-and others asserting that it was the natural consequence of a strong and vigorous constitution.
7. Each of these opinions may be considered as partaking of the truth, though, in reality, they will not bear the test of strict examination; for if we readily admit the idea, that some, or even many, of the antediluvians were remarkable on account of their temperance and simplicity, we must of necessity acknowledge, that the majority of them were strangers to these virtues, and especially at a time when they are said to have been eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, till the flood came and swallowed them up.
8. With respect to the wholesome or nutritious virtues of the vegetable world, it may be justly supposed that they were less degenerated in those days than in the present—yet, it must at the same time be remembered, that sin had entered into the world ; God had inflicted a curse upon the ground for man's sake; and agricultural labor was even then as requisite as it is now. We are not therefore to imagine that the natural world exhibited that brilliancy of beauty, that abundant fertility, and that unspotted purity, at the time to which we advert, that literally glowed upon the whole, and pervaded each constituent part, when first created—when man, the image of his Creator, roved unconscious of sin or shame, amidst the matchless delights of Eden; rejoiced in the friendship of his God; and viewed with guileless raptures the subjugated tribes of inferior animals. Then, indeed, we may naturally suppose, that every pendent fruit which decorated the verdant branches, or swept the embroidered ground, was indeed replete with flavor and nutrition ; that every blade of grass possessed inherent virtues; and that every plant of the earth was, in the language of its Creator, very good. But no sooner had Adam transgressed the divine command, and forfeited his own innocence, than creation began to languish beneath the influence of the curse ; and many of the plants became useless, while others were rendered disgusting
What objection is there to its being owing to their temperance and simplicity -What objection is there to its being caused by the peuliar excellence of their plants, herbs, and fruits ?
and poisonous. Consequently the longevity of the antediluvians cannot be justly attributed to the second cause given.
9. As to the opinion, that the long lives of those men were but natural consequences of the peculiar strength of their - stamina, or first principles of their bodily constitutions, we
are willing to receive it as a concurrent though not an ade
quate cause; for Shem, who received his birth before the - deluge, and possessed all the virtues of the antediluvian conEstitution, fell short of the age of his forefathers by three
hundred years, because the greatest part of his life was passFred after his egression from the ark. - 10. From these considerations, therefore, we are inclined
to impute this longevity rather to the salubrious constitution of the antediluvian air, than to any other cause ; and upon the supposition that this air became contaminated and unwholesome after the flood, it will appear consistent that the "pristine crasis of the human body should have been graduTally broken ; and that the life of man should consequently
have been shortened, in successive ages, to the present common standard. . gi 11. Whether men were permitted to regale on the flesh e 'of animals before the flood, is a question that has been long
and frequently controverted. Those who imagine it was unilawful before that period, found their opinion upon God's as
signing vegetables for food to man and beasts at the creation ; and upon the express permission which Noah received, to eat
flesh after the deluge; --and those who entertain a contrary E opinion, imagine that animal food was included in the genemineral grant of dominion given to Adam, over the fish of the
sea, the fowl of the air, and every living thing that moved upon the earth; and indeed this supposition receives a great degree of strength from the fact, that beasts were divided into clean and unclean before the flood; and that animals twere then also sacrificed to the Deity. Foi 12. With regard to commerce, it was, in all probability, scarried on with greater facility before the flood, than after
What objection to the supposition of its being caused by natural Uvigor of constitution ?- If neither of these can be considered an adequate cause of their longevity, to what more probable cause can we assign it ?-Were men permitted before the flood to feed on the flesh of animals What reason can be given against it ?-What reason can be given in favor of the supposition?
wards ; as there was but one language in the world. Yet il is evident they had no idea of navigation, and of extending their trade to remote parts, by the assistance of any kind of vessels; or otherwise some families might certainly have escaped the flood besides the patriarch Noah. Indeed it is sufficiently obvious, that commerce, however it might be conducted, was not as necessary at that time as it has been since, not only because the wants of men have been greatly in creased, in proportion to the injury which the earth and its | various productions received from the overwhelming flood that was brought upon it; but also because they resided together in greater numbers, and could easily obtain every article they desired, by bartering with their nearest neigh.
THE WORLD CONTEMPLATED AT A
Is it supposed that the antediluvians were acquainted with ship navigation, as we are ?-Can a particular reason be assigned against the supposition, and what is it?"