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nies of Manetho, Berosus, Mochus, Hestaeus, Jerome the Egyptian; the writers of the Phenician antiquities, Hesiod, Hecataeus, Hellanicus, Acusilaus, Ephorus, and Nicholas, who generally agreed that “the ancients lived a thousand “ years.” We have accumulated these names to shew, that these men either were in possession of traditions relating to this fact, upon which their assertions are founded; or that they borrowed them from Moses: and in either case our purpose is answered. For if they received them from prevalent traditions, it will be granted that these traditions had originally some foundation in fact; and they correspond with the sacred history. But if they borrowed them from Moses, two points are gained on our part. It is proved, on this principle, that such a man as Moses did really exist; that his writings were then extant; that they were in substance what they now are; and that they bear an antiquity more remote than these, which are allowed to be the most ancient of the heathen writers. It is proved further, that his history was highly esteemed; and that it was supposed, by these writers, to contain facts. Whether they drew from Moses, or from tradition; and whether their testimony sprang from his narration, or from any other source; either way, the Mosaic account of these early ages, is corroborated by the oldest fragments of antiquity.
* See note 1, at the end of this Lecture.
Various inquiries have been agitated respecting the principles on which we may reasonably account for this longevity; and it will be readily granted that the answers attempted are founded upon opinion only. Some have imputed it to the temperance of the antediluvians, and their simplicity of diet. Others, have imagined that it arose from the superior excellence of their fruits, or some peculiar salubrity in the herbs of those days. A third class of philosophers have stated, that it proceeded from the strength of their stamina, or first principles of bodily constitution; that they had an organization more vigorous, and a frame more robust. This has been admitted, by some, to be a concurrent, but not a sole and adequate cause: since Shem, who was born before the flood, and, it is to be presumed, had therefore all the strength of an antediluvian constitution, fell short of the age of his fathers three hundred years. In addition, therefore, to natural bodily energy, it is probable that there was a temperature of the air, and an adaptation of the general state of the earth, to the production of this extraordinary longevity, which temperature was destroyed by the Deluge. But there is no way of completely answering such inquiries, but by referring immediately to the will and power of him, who is “wonderful in counsel, “ and excellent in working.” Moses relates also an union which took place between the family of Seth and the descendants of Cain: for so we interpret the phrase, “Sons “ of God,” and “daughters of men.” It is generally believed that the sons of Seth had, till that time, preserved the worship of God, with correspondent purity of life, while it is agreed that the posterity of Cain were given over to “vile affections;” and on this supposition the fitness of the terms used, and the propriety of their application to the respective parties, will not be disputed. This fatal union _totally destroyed the principles of holiness which a part of the human race had preserved from extinction; and when from this commerce sprang “mighty men,” and “men of renown, “ the whole “earth was" quickly filled with “violence.” “There were,” also, “giants in “ the earth, in those days.” We understand the term literally, as implying, not merely men of violence, but of extraordinary bulk and stature. And why should this account be disputed, when
confirmed by so many ancient writers? Pausanias, Philostratus, Pliny, and others, speak decidedly of the remains of gigantic bodies discovered in their days.” “Upon the rending of “a mountain in Crete, by an earthquake,” says this last-mentioned natural historian, “there “ was found standing upright a gigantic body.” Josephus speaks of bones seen in his days, of a magnitude that almost exceeded credibility. Even Homer, who wrote three thousand years ago, speaks, from tradition, that, in his “de“generate days,” the human frame was dwindled down into half it's size. It is not necessary to contend, nor is it intimated in the Mosaic account, that the bodies of men in general were of such prodigious dimensions: all that we wish to prove is, that “there were “giants in those days;” that there were, probably, many of them; and that this scriptural revelation is abundantly confirmed by profane shistorians.
* See Doddridge's Lectures, Part VI. Prop. ciz. &c. p. 293, § 5, 4to. edit. Grotius de Verit. Relig. Christ. § Xvi. notes. Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. v. c. 16. Consult also Dr. Geddes' Criticism on Gen. vi. in which he espouses an opposite opinion from that stated above; but, as it appears to the writer of these Lectures, one, which reflects less credit upon the veracity of Moses, as an historian; and destroys his claim to inspiration.
At this time, fraud and injustice, rapine and violence, according to the sacred writer, extended themselves over the face of the earth. Is he singular in this declaration? Who, that has read the records of antiquity, may not gather a confirmation of his statement, from their deposition? Who, that is conversant with the fables of the heathen poets, may not extract this truth from the cumbrous mass of fiction by which it is overwhelmed. A golden age, gradually degenerating into an iron one, has been sung by a thousand bards, whose silent harps have long since mouldered away with the ashes of their masters! Which of the ancient poets, did not celebrate these times? or deplore their extinction? Catullus” has stated this fact nearly in the terms used by Moses; and has amplified his expressions so largely, as to present almost a commentary upon the sixth chapter of Genesis. Ovidf tells the same tale; and represents
* In his Epithalamium of Peleus and Thetis: see note 2, at the end of this Lecture.
t-Victa jacet pietas; et virge caede madentes
Faith flies! and piety in exile mourns; w