« PreviousContinue »
Who makes the suppliant his peculiar care,
APOL. RHOD. Arg. 1. iv. v. 698.
16. And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord.
"Contiguous to Tripolis is Theoprosopon (the face of God), where the mountain Libanus terminates."-STRAB. 1. XVI. c. 2.
21. Jubal, the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.
The name Jubal becomes, by a very natural mutation, Apollo, the god of song and music in the Greek mythology. The Greeks ascribed the invention of the pipe to Pan, and of the lyre to Apollo, both of whom were, like the family of Jubal, devoted to a pastoral life.
"Every one knows that in former ages music was not only studied but adored, and its professors were esteemed prophets and sages. Were not Orpheus and Linus (to name no more) believed to be descended from the gods ?"-QUINTIL. I. I. c. 10.
22. Zillah bare Tubal-Cain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron
The name Tubal-cain is said by Vossius to be the same as Vulcan; the initial syllable Tu being cast away and the labial 6 being changed to v, which is a very usual mutation, in the Hebrew orthography.
"Renowned in arts,
The crippled Vulcan."-HES. Theog. v. 945.
"Men used formerly to live in caverns in the mountains, like wild beasts; but now, being taught by the renowned artist, Vulcan, they dwell comfortably in their own houses.' Hoм. Hymn. in Vulcan. v. 4.
"Vulcan, they say, found out the working of iron, brass, silver, and gold, and other metals that require forging by fire; and the general use of fire was shewn by him to artificers and other men. Therefore all cunning workmen offer their sacrifices chiefly to this god, and both they and all others call fire Vulcan."-DIOD. SIc. 1. 5. c. 74.
24. And Enoch walked with God, and he was not: for God took him.
Hesiod says of those who lived during the golden age :—
HES.' Oper. et Dier. v. 120.
"Socrates said that those who while on earth proposed to theinselves as a model the life of the gods, found, after death, the return to those beings from whom they had come, an easy one."-Cic. Tusc. disp. l. 1. c..30
"The spirit of the best man flies away the most easily in death, as from the prisonouse and chains of the body."-Cic. de Amic. c. 4.
"Romulus was thought worthy of being added to the number of the gods,-an nour to which no mortal man ever was able to attain, but by a glorious pre-eminence of irtue.-Cic. de rep. 1. II. c. 10.
7 All the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years.
In the silver age
"A hundred years beheld the boy Beneath the mother's roof, her infant joy,
All tender and unform'd."-HES. Oper. et Dier. v. 129.
"The lives of the Seres (a people of India), exceed the age of two hundred years." STRAB. 1. XV. c. 1
"The Seres are said to live commonly three hundred years. Of the inhabitants of Mount Athos it is related that they extend their lives to one hundred and thirty years."-LUCIAN. Macrob. c. 5.
"Then man was hard, as hard as parent stones;
And built on bigger and on firmer bones:
The nerves that join'd their limbs were firm and strong;
Nature not yet grew weak, nor yet began
To shrink into an inch the larger span."-LUCRET. de rer. nat. 1. v. v. 923.
"When bold Prometheus stole th' enlivening flame,
Of fevers dire a ghastly brood,
Till then unknown, th' unhappy fraud pursu'd;
On earth their horrors baleful spread,
And the pale monarch of the dead,
Till then slow-moving to his prey,
Precipitately rapid swept his way."-HOR. 1. I. carm. 3.
"Isogonus informs us that the Cyrni, a people of India, live to their 400th year; and he is of opinion that the same is the case also with the Ethiopian Macrobii, the Seræ, and the inhabitants of Mount Athos.
"According to Onesicritus, in those parts of India where there is no shadow, the bodies of men attain a height of five cubits and two palms (eight feet); and their life is prolonged to one hundred and thirty years: they die without any symptoms of old age, and just as if they were in the middle period of life.
"Ctesias mentions a tribe known by the name of Pandore, whose locality is in the valleys, and who live to their two-hundredth year; their hair is white in youth, and becomes black in old age."-PLIN. Hist. Nat. 1. vII. c. 2.-See also 1. xv. c. 34.
4. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
The tradition of the existence of giants in the earliest ages of the world is common both to the historians and poets of the ancients. Hesiod, speaking of the offspring of earth and heaven, which signifies, perhaps, "the sons of God and the daughters of men," says:
Were born of earth and heaven; three mighty sons
A vigor strong,
Drew down their father's hate."-HES. Theog. v. 147.
"SOCRATES. All of them were doubtless begotten, either from a god falling in love with a mortal woman, or from a mortal man falling in love with a goddess."
PLAT. Cratyl. c. XVI.
Homer frequently alludes to the "fierce race of giants;" and describes Otys and Ephialtes, of whom see Gen. XI. 6. Herodotus gives the following description, from the lips of a native of Tegea, of the coffin of Orestes:
"Near this place (Tegea), as I was sinking a well, I found a coffin seven cubits long. I never believed that men were formerly of larger dimensions than at present; but when I opened it I discovered a body equal in length to the coffin. I correctly measured it and placed it again where I had found it."-HDт. l. 1. c. 68.
The remark of the Tegean, that he had never believed in the existence of giants, shows that the tradition of a race of greater dimensions than at present was common in those days. The Priest of Jupiter, at Thebes, also—
"Asserted, that in former times immortal beings had reigned in Egypt, and that they had communication with men."-HDт. l. 2. c. 144.
Diodorus says that, at the time to which the Greeks refer the birth of Hercules— "The earth had no longer strength to produce giants; neither were there any in those days, namely, the age next before the Trojan war; but only at the first generation and beginning of mankind, as the Egyptians assert."-DIOD. SIC. 1. 1. c. 24.
Plutarch, in his Life of Theseus, says:
"Those times produced men of strong and indefatigable powers of body, and of extraordinary swiftness and agility; but they applied those powers to nothing just or useful; on the contrary, their genius, their disposition, and their pleasures, tended only to insolence, to violence, and rapine.”—PLUT. Thes. c. 6.
"A mountain of the island of Crete having been burst asunder by the action of an earthquake, a body was found there standing upright, forty-six cubits in height; by some persons it was supposed to have been that of Orion; while others, again, were of opinion that it was that of Otus. It is generally believed, from what is stated in ancient records, that the body of Orestes, which was disinterred by command of an oracle, was seven cubits in height.
"The tallest man that has been seen in our time, was one Gabbaras by name, who was brought from Arabia by the Emperor Claudius, his height was nine feet and as many inches."-PLIN. Hist. Nat. 1. vii. c. 16.
See Gen. XI. 6.
The allusions to the subsequent degeneracy of mankind, their shortened lives, their diminished stature, and their depraved habits, are too frequent to be more than casually noticed here.
"Tydides stoops, and from the fields, Heaved with vast force, a rocky fragment wields; Not two strong men th' enormous weight could raise,
Such men as live in these degenerate days."-Hoм. П. 1. 5. v. 302.
See also 1. XII. v. 447, and 1. xx. v. 285.
"The gods distributed the whole earth, here into larger and there into smaller portions, procuring for themselves temples and public sacrifices, and Poseidon in particular, taking as his lot the Atlantic Islands, begot children by a mortal woman.
"For many generations, as long as the natural power of the gods sufficed them, they remained obedient to the laws and kindly affected towards the divine nature to which they were allied; for they possessed true and altogether lofty ideas, and practical mildness, united with wisdom, in reference to the casual occurrences of life and towards each other.
"But when the divine portion within them became extinct, through much and frequent admixture of the mortal nature, and the manners of men began to hold sway, through inability to bear present events they began to exhibit unbecoming conduct, and to the intelligent beholder appeared base, and filled with avarice and unjust power.
Zeus, however, the god of gods, who rules according to the laws and is able to see into such things, perceiving an honourable race in a condition of wretchedness, and wishing to inflict punishment upon them," &c. [The remainder of this sentence is lost.] PLAT. Crit. c. 7 & 12.
"What an unworthy and degenerate race
"E'en now the world's grown old: the earth that bore
Such mighty bulky animals before,
Now bears a puny insect, and no more."-LUCRET. de rer. nat. 1. II. v. 1149.
"What feels not Time's consuming rage?"
More vicious than their father's age,
Of manners impious, bold, and base;
And yet, with crimes to us unknown,
Our sons shall make the coming age their own."-—HOR. 1. III. carm.6.
"Even in his time, Mæonides could trace
Some diminution of the human race:
Now, earth, grown old and frigid, rears with pain
Juv. Sat. XV. v.69.
6. It repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
"The voice of Jove is heard from heaven.- Stop, friends, and grant to me, who for you, that I may save you!'"-MAX. TYR. Diss. 36.
Envy is in the same sense ascribed to the Deity by Homer, Herodotus, and others. See Exodus xx. 5.
11. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
12. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt: for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
Hesiod, speaking of those who lived during the silver age, says:
"Their frantic follies wrought them pain and woe;
Nor mutual outrage would their hand forego;
That in just cities shed their holy blaze.
The gods their glory and their sacred dues."-HES. Oper. et Dier. v. 126..
Of brazen mould,
Bloody their feasts, with wheaten bread unbless'd;
Of adamant was each unyielding breast."—IBID. v. 143.
"The poets calumniously assert those to have perpetrated and suffered more atrocious things, who are born from gods, than those who were begotten by the most wicked men."-ISOCR. Orat. XI.
"These men soon passed away, and in their place
They first the stubborn ore obedient made,
And forged-unhallowed skill-the murderous blade.
The patient ox, long wont to till the soil,
To tread the corn, and share his master's toil,
Justice was shocked-the blood-stained earth she flies
Jove bids her welcome to her native skies."-ARAT. Phænom. v. 129.
"But when this earth with impious crime was stained,
Their favour justly all the gods withdrew;
Nor let the eye of man their forms profane."-CATUL. Carm. LXIV. v. 398.
"Pure and unmixed the world's first ages rolled:
But soon as brass had stained the flowing gold,
To iron hardened by succeeding crimes,
Jove for the just preserved those happy climes."-HOR. 1. v. carm. 16.
Faith flies, and piety in exile mourns;
And justice, here oppressed, to heaven returns."-Ov. Met. 1. 1. v. 125.
9. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
"The sea gave Nereus life, unerring seer
And true; most ancient of his race, whom all
This account of Nereus, the unerring prophet, the prudent, the just, the merciful, born from the sea, may be compared with Noah, the preacher of righteousness, the just man, who was born as it were from the deluge, into the new world. Ovid says of Deucalion and Pyrrha, who are, in his account, the sole survivors of the flood,
"The most upright of mortal men was he,
The most sincere and holy woman she."-Ov. Metam. I. 1. v. 322. 22. Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
It is said of the ship Argo
"Alector's son, inspir'd by Pallas, wrought,
And fram'd the vessel, as the goddess taught.