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kingdoms, the heads of which could muster troops and maintain war. In Canaan, also, he found a sacerdotal monarch, Melchizedek, who recognised and worshipped the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth, and who as of right took tithes of such nomad chiefs as Abraham. (Gen. xiv.) When he entered Canaan, Abraham was rich in products of civilization—in cattle, silver, and gold.' (Gen. xiii. 2.) Lot, also, his brother, who went with Abraham, had flocks, and herds, and tents. (Gen. xiii. 5.) Abraham had left behind him in Mesopotamia monarchical governments of considerable power. There, in his native land, were Amraphel, king of Shinar ; Arioch, king of Ellasar ; Chedorlaomer, king of Elam; and Tidal, king of Nations. So powerful were these monarchs, and so well constituted were their dominions, that not only could they securely leave their thrones and their subjects, but held in subjection the rude and warlike wanderers of the vast desert tracts which lay between the Euphrates and the Jordan, so as to find it easy to fall on the Canaanite kings of the vale of the Salt Sea, and hold them in subjection for a period of twelve years (Gen. xiv. 1, seq.); and when, at the end of that time, the latter revolted, were in a condition to renew their incursions, and to subjugate the whole of southern Palestine, and parts of the pininsula of Sinai; nor were they repelled until Abraham, one of their own race, outraged at the captivity of his brother, put himself at the head of his own servants, and, probably, the native population, and pursuing the invaders, routed and spoiled them near Damascus, on their retreat to the highlands of the two rivers. It is, indeed, probable that in these recorded events we have one scene only of a long and severe migratory conflict which went on for generations between the north-east and the south-west, in the countries which lay between the 500 and 300 of east longitude. In that direction proceeded successive waves of the great stream of population which covered those parts of the earth after the Flood. Those waves, at the time when they dimly rise on the surface of history, belong to the active, the superior races, who have gained the dominion of the world in arts and arms. Already had swarms proceeded from either bank of the Tigris, and peopling the valleys as they went, settled in Palestine and in Egypt. New-comers, urged forward by necessity, or drawn on by hope, assailed their brother settlers in the warm vale of the Jordan, and the prolific vale of the Nile. Wherever they went they bore with them, and sowed the seeds of the comparatively high culture which flourished in and around Mesopotamia. And though the growth of those seeds was much impeded by the disturbances of war, offensive and defensive, yet in Palestine and in Egypt did the immigrants successfully obtain for them a warm and genial bed, where they sprang up and produced the earliest known fruits of a more marked and permanent civilization. This movement of the population of the earth in Western Asia and North-eastern Africa, finds a parallel in its cause, its manner, and its results—in the movements, at distant intervals, of the Celtic and Teutonic tribes from Asia into Europe, and similar migrations made from Norway, Sweden, and the Baltic, into England. In all such advances of the tide of population, considerable
lengths of time are consumed, and many generations pass away; for both the causes of the movements, and the movements themselves, are slow of operation; nor is it soon that there ensues a period of social tranquillity such as we find was consequent in Canaan on the defeat of the Aramæan invaders by the powerful sheik, Abraham.
Now, the book which records and implicates this series of events, of course supposes, in its chronology, the time necessary for their accomplishment. Many ages, then, must have passed between the Deluge and the days of Abraham. The inference rests on biblical evidence, and has, in consequence, biblical authority. Consequently the biblical chronology, by clear implication, runs back farther than is commonly believed; nor could we be charged with groundless conjecture if, on the data now set forth, we were to place 3,000 or 3,500 years between the Flood and the birth of Christ, that is, 1,500 or 2,000 years between the Flood and the days of Moses.
Did space permit, it would be easy to add confirmation to this general conclusion by a careful investigation of what the book of Genesis (x.) teaches respecting the origin and growth of those Mesopotamian monarchies to which we have adverted; the empire, for instance, of Nimrod, the beginning of which were those very ancient and powerful centres of primeval culture, ‘Babel, and Erech, and Arcad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar,' and that of Asshur with Nineveh and Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resen, for the capitals of his dominions. Exactitude of dates and periods in regard to these remote and obscure ages is not to be expected. But we seem justified in declaring, that many centuries must have past from the Deluge before these large and populous cities, and the implied state of society and government, could have come into existence. In reasoning on the new birth of human culture after the Flood, historians have, indeed, allowed too small an influence to the antediluvian civilization. Destructive as that terrible cataclysm was, four chief men, with their dependents, escaped under the shield of Divine Providence. Noah and his family bore with them all the internal, and many of the external results of the antecedent culture, the culture, that is, which was the growth of some two thousand years. They were not barbarians, still less savages. • Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generation, and Noah walked with God.' (Gen. vi. 9.) At the head of his age in religion, he was, of necessity, at the summit of its general culture. He, in consequence, resembled the colonists sent out by Greece, and the colonists in whom we gave to North America our blood and our civilization. Babel, Nineveh, and Thebes, therefore, were the Boston, the Philadelphia, the Washington, and the New Orleans, of those primeval times. Population and culture would, under such circumstances, make rapid strides, and comparatively soon attain great height. The Bible, then, regarded from this point of view, does not carry us back for the age of the Deluge to some point scarcely visible to the imagination in the thickening mists of remotest ages; while, as previously viewed, it gives clear indications of the lapse of many generations. Thus, on the one side, it corrects the errors of speculatists, who, taking their stand on Egyptian chrono
logy, throw back the reconstitution of society indefinitely; it, on the other side, requires theological and system-bound verbalists to lengthen out the remoter times of the period between Noah and Christ. On the whole, the disquisition into which we have now entered, brings us to look favourably on a system of chronology which recognises a longer period than that which Archbishop Usher deduced from the Hebrew text of the older Scriptures. A longer period is presented to our acceptance. The common chronology places from the Deluge to the call of Abraham 427 years. But in the Samaritan text 1077 years, and in the Septuagint translation 1207 years, passed away in the interval. The two numbers, 1077 and 1207, are so near each other, that they may be considered the same. Thus we have two witnesses against one for prolonging the period, and the necessary prolongation is no less than seven or eight hundred years. If the objector alleges that it is an arbitrary proceeding on our part to prefer the Samaritan and the Septuagint testimony to the testimony of the Hebrew, we tell him, in reply, that it is the excess of arbitrariness on his part to give to one witness who suits his purpose the preference over two substantiallyconcurring witnesses who are averse to his hostile designs. However, add to our date for the call of Abraham, namely, 2,200 years, the Septuagint period of 1,207 years between that event and the Deluge, we thus obtain 3,407, or about 3,500 years, as the length of the interval from Noah to Christ.
Enough has been said to show that the biblical chronology, even in length a parte ante, has no reason to fear comparison with the Egyptian. Let it be that the final conclusion of our Egyptologists should be in favour of considerable extension of the ordinary period between the Flood and the Exodus, such an extension is required by the biblical narratives; and the Bible, therefore, instead of deserving the disesteem and scorn of scholars for the shortness of its postdiluvian ages, may serve to add evidence and illustration to the lengthening periods of Egyptian chronology. But unless some extraordinary and not to be expected discovery should clothe with living flesh the dry bones of the lists of Manetho and the Tablet of Abydos, the Bible will retain the very great superiority that must be conceded to it in the precision and personality of those facts and details which involve the chronological prolongation which we here claim. In the biblical narratives and notices of which we have spoken, there is something more than mere names; there is not a mere series of dates, there is a succession of recorded events. In a word, the chronology claimed is in the history narrated. It is through history we must go in order to get to the chronology. Such a chronology has not only vouchers of reality, but attributes of usefulness and features of interest; whereas the decyphered names or titles or epithets of Egyptian Pharaohs are barrenness and confusion, like the sandy deserts where stand the monuments whence they were copied.
Words for the Wise.
• Faithful are the wounds of a friend.'-SOLOMON.
IX. FREE CONTRIBUTIONS. Some of our Religious Societies, like some private gentlemen, are always in difficulties. This, from much reflection on the subject, I now infer to be their normal state; or they may be said to labour under a distemper named atrophy, which cunningly baffles the skill of our wisest physicians, but refuses, nevertheless, to make an end of the patient, choosing rather to become chronic. Or, if you prefer it, they are like the unfortunate stones in the Geysers of Iceland, always ' in hot water,' and always trying to get out. On no other ground, indeed, could we excuse the shifts to which these confederacies are sometimes driven, in order to make up their balance-sheets. But, as one allows some latitude to gentlemen in difficulties,' not exacting of these the severe morality which is felt to become your well-fed citizen, so will the judicious reader apprehend me, whilst I proceed to touch, as lightly as possible, on some of those contrivances by means of which our great societies are enabled to swell the sum-totals of their • Free Contributions.'
Rat, tat! then, at Mrs. Strongman's door, in the good town of Goldborough. What is it, Betty?' 'Quite a parcel, ma'am.' • Good gracious! From “ the Town and Country * * * Society !” and six stamps, too! Where are my scissors ? No, never mind. Mr. S., will you make the tea? Why, this is Dr. Pliable's own writing !
“ Sentiments in unison with our own,”—to be sure they are ;
use your influence,” certainly, — “which is deservedly great," — the dear doctor !—"on behalf of the Society of Town and Country Stars, in its hour of need.” Betty, put on your bonnet and run for Miss Flatman di-rectly.—No! They shall all come to tea.'
Well, it was soon arranged; and if you had seen Mrs. Strongman's tea-table that night, you would never have forgotten it. How the capribbons were shaken, how the lump sugar disappeared, how the tea-urn had to be replenished, and how good Mr. Strongman, coming home to supper, met Betty with the tea-service on the stairs, I must not stop to narrate ; but you will be glad to learn that the strongest possible resolutions were passed, and that Goldborough was to be scowered at once on behalf of the Society of Town and Country Stars, now asking to be extricated from its chronic state of difficulty.
Goldborough slept, at night-fall, the sleep of unsuspecting innocence, little dreaming of the plot which was hatching against her peace; but, before she was well astir next morning, the campaign was opened. Mrs. Nickleby took the Market-place, and Mrs. Gimp the suburbs; Miss Flatman took the High-street, and Mr. Silliman the Low-street; but Mrs. Strongman, strange to say, took no street at all; she went straight to the cage of her parrot, and doubted. Not that this good lady was of the Wouter Van Twiller genus; so far from that, her husband, who ought to know, was wont to give her credit for uncommon decision of character: but her mind was labouring with a great thought; and even Cæsar is said to have paused on the brink of the Rubicon. For some five minutes, then, it may be, did this strongminded woman doubt; but, at the expiration of that period, she betook herself to her work-basket, deliberately affirming that she had it.' Not so fast, Mrs. Gimp !-take your time, Mrs. Nickleby !-compose yourself, Dr. Pliable! for Mrs. Strongman has it. Already is her brow radiant with the coming triumph; whilst her busy fingers are fashioning an irresistible money-box, which she adjusts, from time to time, to the bars of her parrot's cage. Mrs. Strongman has it;' and Poll, apparently, is to have some part in it, too.
Continue the tale for me, Mr. Strongman. Why did the maccaroons rattle in the silver basket when next you entered that room? Why did Poll look at you so significantly, wink her wicked eyes, and exclaim, in her very best manner, * Please to remember poor Poll?' Why was your stately waistcoat convulsed with laughter, until the tears fairly ran down your cheeks? Why did you drop a sovereign through that blue and yellow chink, and then run to kiss your wife, calling her an incomparable woman, nay, an angel? And why, for the next thirty days, did the gold and silver pour into Poll's coffers, until the bars of the cage began to bend ? You know. You could tell us likewise, if you would, of the great tea-table audit, held at the end of the month ; and how Miss Flatman looked blue, and Mrs. Silliman yellow, when the lady of the house produced her shining heap; whilst Miss Pinchbeck drawled out lugubriously, from the bottom of the table, “I wish we had all parrots' tongues to plead with. Well, well. Sic itur ad astra :-thus is the Society of Town and Country Stars kept going. The directors thanked you all; and I should not wonder if Poll were -invited to take her seat at the Board !
With other marvels of a similar kind do these distressed societies astonish all beholders. Sometimes an envelope, ready stamped and addressed, encloses a card slit crossways, in which you are invited to insert a shilling (or a sovereign), and return it; and it would be churlish indeed to refuse. Sometimes a smiling urchin pokes his Christmas card in your face, and you may as well pull out your purse at once, for these children never take any other answer. Or should you attend your wife to Exeter Hall, in the height of the season, you may find that it costs a vast deal more to get away again than the mere cab-hire; for that Secretary, Draw-well, will call on you by name for an I. O. U., and perhaps will mention the sum you ought to give. I am assured, indeed, that at times there is a kind of supererogatory auction carried on in that popular establishment, one gentle . man bidding against another for the top of the list, to the infinite