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promise that the “ seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent;" that man should regain by the Redeemer, what was lost by the transgression of the first man ; because these essentials of true religion are comprehended in the commands, which God had given to Adam.
It is not necessary here to enter into a discussion concerning the longevity of the Antediluvians : much remains to be said on that subject; but it is proper to remark that the patriarchs, from Adam to Noah, who were supreme heads both in ecclesiastical and civil affairs, gave names to the church for the term of their natural life, during the whole of which term they governed : names signifying its declining state, and which names were changed at the accession of the hereditary successor in the order of primogeniture.
It perhaps may afford pleasure and information to the reader, if I show with what wisdom and effect the venerable patriarchs applied this most significant nomenclature to the different states of the church. I do not know that it has been made known by any author, therefore it may be the more acceptable. It adds a great beauty to the original scriptures, because it shows us how the church gradually fell away to the time of Noah, when no true church existed. And as no nation can possibly have the form of a regular government, to keep man in a state of civil society, unless there be a visible religion, and God be worshipped in sincerity ; it also informs us how necessary it was for God to give a new dispensation, which he did to Noah, the second visible father of all mankind.
Adam, at the birth of Seth, named him according to the state of the church. Seth means to settle, disposeg place, constitute, or reduce to order : which it is natural to suppose was necessary, as much confusion must have i taken place during the time of Cain and Abel.
At the birth of Enos, the patriarch Seth gave him a name consistent with the state of the church, over which he was to preside, directed no doubt by Adam who had all knowledge intuitively in himself, and called him Enos, which signifies a mortal state by sin; significant of the fall of Adam, by which the church was reduced to a state of misery.
A similar state of the church was meant at the birth of Cainan the son of Enos. Cainan means to lament, to mourn, to be in a depressed state of mind; and su was significant of that state, in which it is natural to suppose the mind would experience sorrow by the loss of the blissful, paradisaical state of Eden.
Mahalaleel succeeded, who was so called in conformity to the custom at that day. Mahalaleel signifies a departure from the praise or worship of the true God. The literal sense of which is, that the state of the church at this period was worse, as to doctrines and life, than it was at the beginning of the reign of Cainan, or any ... of the former churches, and that they departed more and more from the true worship of God universally.
This departure continued when Jarad, the next successor, presided over the church and state. Jarad means to decline, to descend, and so was descriptive of that or
der of things in their progress towards the last state of that church.
But Enoch, the son of Jarad, who next succeeded to the supreme government, appears to have attempted to restore the worship of God by setting an example him
Enoch has the following signification, to dedicate, to train up, and the word, which is rendered walked, is in the Hithpael conjugation, which means, he walked himself training up with God, or worshipped God, and instructed or trained up those who were willing to worship the true God. From this expression it appears, that the great mass of the people did not walk with, or worship, God; but were worshippers of idols. Therefore all the attempts of Enoch to establish the true worship of God, seem to have been altogether ineffectual. Methuselah, his son, succeeded him, when a more ruinous state of things commenced, agreeably to the meaning of the word Methuselah, viz. and he sent forth death, which indicates a state of universal idolatry, in scripture termed a spiritual death.
This appears to be confirmed by the next successor, his son Lamech, the import of which is, a total decay or falling away, so complete in its kind as not to leave a single vestige of what this church was in its origin. Love to God and charity to man, which were the actuating principles that constituted this church, appear to have been banished, and the love of self and the world, guided and directed every motion in the heart and soul of the whole human race. This is sufficiently evident, from what is said in the 5th verse of the next chapter, concerning the state of the world at this time, viz. “ and God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of the heart was only evil continually.” A more complete
picture of the universal departure from every principle . and act of virtue and moral rectitude, was never drawn by any pen. The whole man was a lump of evil, for it is emphatically said, only evil, not in word only, but the imagination of the thoughts of his heart was evil-not for a time only, but the imagination of the thoughts of the heart was only evil CONTINUALLY.
We come now to that period of the world when churches and different forms of religion began to be multiplied. Shem and Japhet were worshippers of the true God; but Ham appears to have approved of the popular idolatrous religion of the old world. Accordingly his grandson Nimrod built Babel, and laid the foundation of the Babylonian, or great Assyrian, empire; and established idolatry, for which worship twenty two nations of the east became famous.
This brings us to the end of this first patriarchal church, comprehending the second dispensation God had given to man,
NAMES AND AGES OF THE PATRIARCHS
OF THE FIRST ORDER.
A.M. Died. Aged.
Noah . . . 1056 2006 950 Agreeably to the order of the sacred history, I shall begin with the descendants of Japhet. Gen. x. 2. “ The sons of Japhet, Gomer, and Magog, and Medai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras." There can be no doubt, but that the worship of the true God was' communicated by Japhet to his posterity, who governed fourteen nations. How long they continued in the true worship of God, as given by their progenitor, does not appear. But the records of the Bible inform us, that some of these nations, which were distinguished by the name of their respective founders, were very powerful at the time of the prophet Ezekiel, chap. xxxviii. 2. “Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, ver. 4. I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, ver. 5. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them.” Thus we find that they were of such consequence, as to bring Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them against Israel. We have a certain rule for determining that these nations at length fell away from the true worship of God, and became idolaters ; because it is said, that by these descendants of Japhet, the isles of the Gentiles were divided in their land; and the Gentiles, or nations, for so the original word signifies, were universally idolaters.
Ham is next on record ; and here the sacred historian has been particular, in giving the origin and descent of idolatrous worship, after the flood. It appears to have
* Who was translated.