« 前へ次へ »
tural and acquired, in order to see, whether there be any signs that these are now dispens'd in a less liberal way than formerly; or whether the reverse is not more probable.
: As to the Fruitfulness of the Earth, and Cleo mency of Seasons, the Temperature of the Air, and Influence of Heavenly Bodies, the vulgar mistake of their Decay, and tendency to Diffolu. tion, has, I think, long since been exploded“.
Whatever might have been the employment of Man, had he continued innocent, (which yet we see was not exempted from the Care of dressing, and keeping that spot of Ground in which Adam was placed“;) upon his Fall, a State of Toil and Labour became necessary; in order to secure the Virtue, Health, and Quiet of the Species, in
any tolerable degree : on which account the Earth is represented as lying under an extraordinary Curfe of Barrenness, which has been generally thought to have continued, and received considerable ada. dition at the Deluge ; and very philosophical Reasons were assigned for this Opinion”; till of late a learned Prelated shew'd us, from the Circumstances of the History, that the direct contrary
à Gen. 2.15.
* A sufficient Confutation of it may be seen in Hakewill Apol. paflim. There's a Book wrote on the fame Subject by Jo. Jonstonus, de Naturæ conftantia, Ed. Amstel. 1632.
b See King's Origin of Evil, p. 192. Note 33. 3 Ed. and the Authors there referr'd to. To which add Worthington's Effay on Man's Redemption, who has treated this point more particularly, p. 64, &c.
« See them collected in Univers. Hift. V.1. p. 106, &c.
• Bp. Sherlock, Use and Intent of P. Disc.4. comp. Mr. Worthington on the same Subject, Ef. p. 84, &c,
was fact. For some time after, the Longevity of Mankind was very necessary, for peopling the World, and learning Artse; though I should think it difficult to point out the Natural Causes of this Longevity, and the following Change ; at least, such as can be consistent with the fore-mention'd opinion'. Since, if the Earth was corrupted to such a degree at the universal Deluge, as to lay a foundation for the shortening the Period of Human Life thereby; this effect, one would imagine, Thould have been most evident, while these fame Causes must be fresh, and operate most strongly: not to repeat that this supposed Corruption is a vulgar Error. This great Change therefore, seems to have been owing to a positive Appointment of the Deity, distinct from, and
e See Hakewill, p.42. Joseph. L. 1. c.3. Winder, p.78,79. Le Clerc on Gen. 5.27. Cum pauci effent homines in terris, neceffe erat Parentes diu vivere, ut liberis suis auxilio essent, et se contra feras aliaque vicæ incommoda una tutarentur: alioqui si parentes fæpe liberos impuberes orbos reliquissent, aut ea ætate interiislent, qua liberi rudiores nondum fibi satis prospicere poterant, de multis familiis actum fuiffet. Cum omnia experientia discerentur, neque ea poffet in liberos adolescentes transmitti; ut ea pofteris ufui effet, diu cum illis parentes vivere oportuit.Hæc certe longævitas in rudi ætate et scribendi imperitia, ad Hiftoriæ et annorum certam memoriam fervandam plane necessaria erat ; cum ne fic quidem satis incolumis ad nos pervenerit. Id. ib.
f Some of the supposed ones are set down by the last mentioned Writer, who after all is forced to recur to Providence for the Event. Comp. Buddei Hift. Eccl. Vol. 1. p. 151. Mr. Worthington supposes a decay in the Constitution of Noab's Sons immediately occafion'd by the Rains and Waters of the Deluge, El. p.74, &c. Had such a Cause been adequate to the Effect, would there not have been some appearance of its taking place much fooner? and not by halves, at such a distance ; as in the following Note?
subsequent to that of Noah's Flood, and introduced for Reasons which took place fome Ages after it; and may be conceiv'd as a New Difpensation, necessary for the future Government of the World, in every age 6. However, so early as
& See Taylor on Orig. Sin, p.67. "When God bad de.. termined in himself, and promised to Noah, never to destroy the World again by such an universal Destruction,
till the last and final Judgment, it was necessary by Degrees " to shorten the Lives of Men; which was the most effectual 6 means to make them more governable, and to remove bad ' Examples out of the World; which would hinder the
spreading of the infection, and people and reform the world again by new Examples of Piety and Virtue: for when there are such quick successions of Men, there are few Ages, but have some great and brave Examples, which give a new and better Spirit to the World.' Sherlock on Death. C: 3. S.2. p. 138. Sin brought Death in first, and yet Man
lived almost a thousand years. But he finned more, and then 'Death came nearer to him : for when all the World
was first drowned in Wickedness, and then in Water, God 6 cut him shorter: by one half; and five hundred years was
his ordinary Period. And Man finned ftill, and had strange · Imaginations, and built Towers in the Air ; and then a
bout Peleg's Time, God cut him shorter by one half yet, two hundred and odd years was his determination. And yet the Generations of the World returned not unani·mously to God; and God cut him off another half yet, and reduced him to a hundred and twenty years. And by Moses's Time one half of the final remanent Portion was pared away, reducing him to threescore years and ten. • But if God had gone on still in the same method, and • Thorten'd our Days as we multiplied our Sins, we should • have been but
as an Ephemeron ; Man should have lived the Life of a Fly, or a Gourd. - But God seeing Man's 'Thoughts were only evil continually, he was resolved no lona
ger so to strive with him, nor deltroy the Kind, but punish Individuals only, and fingle Persons; and if they finned, ' or if they did obey, regularly their Life should be proportionable.' Taylor, Life of Chrift, p. 305. 1 fall here add the observation of a learned and ingenious Friend, which is connected with the present Subject. — It is very plain by the
Mofes's days *, we find the Life of Man fix'd to the same length in general that it has at present ; (for his Description of it seems not capable of being wholly restrain’d to the particular Case at that time in the Wilderness ;) and ever since, so far as the Accounts of ancient Times can be rely'd on, we have reason to believe, that the Constitution of Mankind in general, as well as the State of the Earth, and Heavens, whereon that must depend, have at all times been much the same as we now find them h; and may rest satisfied, that the original Promise, has been, and will amply be made unoccupy'd Spaces and superfluous produce of the Earth, that it was intended to be inhabited by many Myriads more than ever exifted upon it, and whose existence has only been prevented or cut short by the unrighteous Inventions of men: this complete replenishing of the Earth would probably have been the consequence of Adam's Obedience; but his Fall having broken in upon this Scheme, it became the wise and good Providence of God to limit the Generations of Men to a certain proportion, and to keep the balance in such fort, that, maugre all the inventions of Men themselves to prolong human Life, or to increase the Species, the Earth should never be ftock'd with Inhabitants beyond such a proportion, till they were duly disposed to apply the Aids and Expedients of Religion to their preservation and Felicity. To multiply Mankind, while Iniquity abounds, and the love of fo large a Majority is waxen cold; or in other words, to replenish the Earth whilst the Appetites of its inhabitants are lo inflamed, would only be to multiply new Generations of Cut-throats and Oppressors, whose engrossing Maw would quickly reduce the Species to [perhaps far below] the ordinary proportion.
* P8.90. Jo. If Mofes be the Author of that Psalm, as its Title sets forth.
See Sir W. Temple's Works, V. 1. p.276, &c. Sir T. P. Blount, Ef.4. p. 188, 192, &c. or Ld. Bacon's Hift. of Life and Death.
That the Stature of Man in this Age is the same as it was near three thousand years ago, appears from Greaves's ac
good, that while the Earth remaineth, Seed-time and Harvest, and Cold and Heat, and Summer and Winter, and Day and Night, shall not cease *; and therefore may conclude, that the Distribution, and Enjoyment of, what I call, the Natural Advantages of Life, is so far from a constant gradual Decline, that these have been at all Times in themselves pretty equal; and rather improving, as they receive ailistance, which they do very much, from the acquired ones; which we are in the next place to consider.
The late Invention of Arts and Sciences is usually insisted on, and very justly, in our Disputes with Atheists, against the Eternity of the World; and their continual Progress, though perhaps seldom attended to, seems to be a Point no less necessary to complete the Argument. For if it can be shewn, either that these which we now have, or others of equal Use and Importance, were discover'd sooner; and dropt again, and subject to their several Revolutions, as has lately been asserted"; count of the Monument in the Egyptian Pyramid. Derbam, Phyf. Theol. B. 5. c.4. N. 4. That we have had several very late instances of Persons, whose Longevity exceeded that of the Patriarchal Age, may be seen in IVorthington's Effay, P.417. comp. Huet. Alnet. Quest. L. 2. C. 12. S.4.
* Gen.8.22. 2. Arts and Sciences grow up, forish, decay, die, and return again under the same or other forms, after Periods ' which appear long to us, however sort they may be, com
pared with the immense duration of the Systems of created · being. These Periods are so disproportionate to all human 'mcans of preserving the memory of things, that when the 'same things return, we take frequently for a new discove
ry, the revival of an Art or Science long before known.' Ld. Bolingbroke, Eff.3. P. 236. See also his Letter occafioned by one of Abp. Tillc:fon’s Sermons, Works-V.3. p. 265, &c.