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before the flood, the text expresseth that Enoch was the shortest liver; who saw but three hundred sixty-five years. But to affirm from hence, none of the rest, whose age is not expressed, did die before that time, is surely an illation. whereto we cannot assent.
Again many persons there were in those days of longevity, of whose age notwithstanding there is no account in Scripture; as of the race of Cain, the wives of the nine patriarchs, with all the sons and daughters that every one begat: whereof perhaps some persons might out-live Methuselah ; the text intending only the masculine line of Seth, conducible unto the genealogy of our Saviour, and the antediluvian chronology. And therefore we must not contract the lives of those which are left in silence by Moses; for neither is the age of Abel expressed in the Scripture, yet is he conceived far elder than commonly opinioned; and if we allow the conclusion of his epitaph as made by Adam, and so set down by Salian, Posuit morens pater, cui à filio justius positum foret, anno ab ortu rerum 130; ab Abele nato 129, we shall not need to doubt. Which notwithstanding Cajetan and others confirm; nor is it improbable, if we conceive that Abel was born in the second year of Adam,3 and Seth a year after the death of Abel; for so it being said, that Adam was an hundred and thirty years old when he begat Seth, Abel must perish the year before, which was one hundred and twenty-nine.
And if the account of Cain1 extend unto the deluge, it may not be improbable that some thereof exceeded any of Seth. Nor is it unlikely in life, riches, power, and temporal blessings, they might surpass them in this world, whose
hee permitted them to prolong till their sinns were fulfild: and therefore tooke away Mathuselah also the yeare that hee sent the flood to take away all (universally) then living, save Noah and his immediate family.-Wr.
3 second year, &c.] Abel's birth is not deducible necessarily from Scripture his death is more probable.-Wr.
* Cain.] Betweene the creation and the flood were 1656 yeares, to which, though Cain's owne accompt did not reach, yet his posteritye did. For upon them was the flood sent, yet not on them onlye, for all the posterityes of the patriarchal familyes, which doubtless were innumerable, did all perish in the flood, excepting only eight persons. -Wr.
lives related unto the next. For so when the seed of Jacob was under affliction and captivity, that of Ishmael and Esau flourished and grew mighty, there proceeding from the one twelve princes, from the other no less than fourteen dukes and eight kings. And whereas the age of Cain and his posterity is not delivered in the text, some do salve it from the secret method of Scripture, which sometimes wholly omits, but seldom or never delivers the entire duration of wicked and faithless persons, as is observable in the history of Esau, and the kings of Israel and Judah. And therefore when mention is made that Ishmael lived 127 years, some conceive he adhered unto the faith of Abraham, for so did others who were not descended from Jacob, for Job is thought to be an Idumean, and of the seed of Esau.
Lastly, although we rely not thereon, we will not omit that conceit urged by learned men, that Adam was elder5 than Methuselah; inasmuch as he was created in the perfect age of man, which was in those days 50 or 60 years, for about that time we read that they begat children; so that if unto 930 we add 60 years, he will exceed Methuselah; and therefore if not in length of days, at least in old age he surpassed others; he was older than all, who was never so young as any. For though he knew old age, he was never acquainted with puberty, youth, or infancy, and so in a strict account he begat children at one year old. And if the usual compute will hold, that men are of the same age which are born within compass of the same year, Eve was as old as her husband and parent Adam, and Cain, their son, coetaneous unto both.
Now that conception, that no man did ever attain unto
5 Adam was elder.] This phrase, as itt is commonly used, signifies elder in time, and then itt sayes nothing, for who denyes itt? But in lengthe of dayes from the birthe Adam was not soe old as Mathuselah by 20 yeares.- Wr.
6 that no man, &c.] This is most true de facto, though the reason bee but symbolical, and concludes nothing necessarilye. For granting that Adam was created in the perfect age of man, as then itt was, which was rather 100 then 60, yet he lived noe more then 930 in all, viz. solar, sydereal, tropick years. To which if you add those hypothecall 60 yeares (for they are not reall but imaginary only), yet soe Adam would not reach to 1000 by 10 yeares, and therefore the saying is most true.-Wr.
a thousand years, because none should ever be one day old in the sight of the Lord, unto whom, according to that of David, "A thousand years are but one day," doth not advantage Methuselah. And being deduced from a popular expression, which will not stand a metaphysical and strict examination, is not of force to divert a serious inquirer. For unto God a thousand years are no more than one moment, and in his sight Methuselah lived no nearer one day than Abel, for all parts of time are alike unto him, unto whom none are referrible, and all things present unto whom nothing is past or to come; and therefore, although we be measured by the zone of time, and the flowing and continued instants thereof do weave at last a line and circle about the eldest, yet can we not thus commensurate the sphere of Trismegistus,7 or sum up the unsuccessive and stable duration of God.
That there was no Rainbow before the Flood.
THAT there shall no rainbow appear forty years before the end of the world, and that the preceding drought unto that great shame shall exhaust the materials of this meteor, was an assertion grounded upon no solid reason; but that there was not any in sixteen hundred years, that is, before the flood, seems deducible from Holy Scripture, Gen. ix., "I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth." From whence notwithstanding we cannot conclude the non-existence of the rainbow, nor is that chronology naturally established, which computeth the antiquity of effects arising from physical and settled causes, by additional impositions from voluntary determinators. Now by the decree of reason and philosophy, the rainbow hath its ground in nature, as caused by the rays of the sun, falling upon a rorid and opposite cloud, whereof some reflected, others refracted, beget that semicircular
7 sphere of Trismegistus.] Trismegistus sayd God was a circle, whose center, that is, his presentiall and immutable essence, from whence all things have their beinge, is every where, but his circumference, that is, his incomprehensible infinity, is noe where.— Wr.
variety we generally call the rainbow, which must succeed upon concurrence of causes and subjects aptly predisposed. And therefore to conceive there was no rainbow before, because God chose this out as a token of the covenant, is to conclude the existence of things from their signalities, or of what is objected unto the sense, a coexistence with that which is internally presented unto the understanding. With equal reason we may infer there was no water before the institution of baptism, nor bread and wine before the Holy Eucharist.
Again, while men deny the antiquity of one rainbow, they anciently concede another. For beside the solary iris which God showed unto Noah, there is a lunary, whose efficient is the moon, visible only in the night, most commonly called at full moon, and some degrees above the horizon. Now the existence hereof men do not controvert, although effected by a different luminary in the same way with the other. And probably it appeared later, as being of rare appearance and rarer observation, and many there are which think there is no such thing in nature; and therefore by casual spectators they are looked upon like prodigies, and significations made, not signified by their natures.
Lastly, we shall not need to conceive God made the rainbow at this time, if we consider that in its created and predisposed nature, it was more proper for this signification, than any other meteor or celestial appearancy whatsoever. Thunder and lightning had too much terror to have been tokens of mercy. Comets or blazing stars appear too seldom to put us in mind of a covenant to be remembered often, and might rather signify the world should be once destroyed by fire, than never again by water. The galaxia or milky circle had been more probable; for beside that unto the latitude of thirty, it becomes their horizon twice in four and twenty hours, and unto such as live under the equator, in that space the whole circle appeareth, part thereof is visible unto any situation; but being only discoverable in the night, and when the air is clear, it becomes of unfrequent and comfortless signification. A fixed star had not been visible unto all the globe, and so of too narrow a signality in a covenant concerning all. But rainbows are seen unto all the world, and every position of sphere. Unto our own elevation they may
appear in the morning, while the sun hath attained about forty-five degrees above the horizon, which is conceived the largest semidiameter of any iris, and so in the afternoon when it hath declined unto that altitude again, which height the sun not attaining in winter, rainbows may happen with us at noon or any time. Unto a right position of sphere they may appear three hours after the rising of the sun, and three before its setting; for the sun ascending fifteen degrees an hour, in three attaineth forty-five of altitude. Even unto a parallel sphere, and such as live under the pole, for half a year some segments may appear at any time and under any quarter, the sun not setting but walking round about them.
But the propriety of its election most properly appeareth in the natural signification and prognostic of itself; as containing a mixed signality of rain and fair weather. For, being in a rorid cloud and ready to drop, it declareth a pluvious disposure in the air; but because, when it appears, the sun must also shine, there can be no universal showers, and consequently no deluge. Thus, when the windows of the great deep were open, in vain men looked for the rainbow; for at that time it could not be seen, which after appeared unto Noah. It might be therefore existent before the flood, and had in nature some ground of its addition. Unto that of nature God superadded an assurance of its promise, that is, never to hinder its appearance or so to replenish the heavens again, as that we should behold it no more. And thus, without disparaging the promise, it might rain at the same time when God showed it unto Noah; thus was there more therein than the heathens understood when they called it the nuncia of the gods, and the laugh of weeping heaven;* and thus may be elegantly said, I put my bow, not my arrow in the clouds, that is, in the menace of rain, the mercy of fair weather.
Cabalistical heads, who from that expression in Isaiah,† do make a book of heaven, and read therein the great concernments of earth, do literally play on this, and from its semicircular figure (resembling the Hebrew letter caph, whereby is signified the uncomfortable number of twenty, at which years Joseph was sold, which Jacob lived under Laban, and
* Risus plorantis Olympi.
Isa. xxxiv. 4.