Extracts about early history (from Blair’s Outlines of Chronology, Ancient and Modern; Being an Introduction to the Study of History. For the Use of Schools. Hartford, CT: Samuel G. Goodrich, 1825.)
Chronology may be divided into two parts, viz. Ancient and Modern.
Ancient Chronology extends from the Creation of the world to the Nativity of Christ, a period of 4004 years: Modern Chronology extends from the Nativity of Christ to the present time.
The word Chronology means, at large, the science of computing and adjusting periods of time, and treats of its division into certain portions, as days, months, years, and centuries. But it is here used only in its application to History, and as marking certain distinct events, which have occurred on the globe.
extends from the creation of the world, 4004 years Before Christ, to his Nativity.
For the purpose of fixing certain prominent events in the mind, by which we may be able to recollect other events, connected with these, and thus establish an outline of History in the memory, we will divide Ancient Chronology into Ten Periods.
PERIOD I. will extend from the Creation of the world, 4004 years Before Christ, to the Deluge, 2348 years B. C. To this period we give the name of Antediluvian.
PERIOD II. will extend from the Deluge, 2348 years B. C. to the Calling of Abraham, 1921 years B. C. This is the period of Confusion of Languages.
PERIOD III. will extend from the Calling of Abraham, 1921 years B. C. to the Founding of Athens, 1556 years B. C. This is the period of Egyptian Bonding.
PERIOD IV. will extend from the Founding of Athens, 1556 years B. C. to the Dedication of Solomon’s Temple, 1004 years B. C. This is the period of the Trojan War.
PERIOD V. will extend from the Deducation of Solomon’s Temple, 1004 years B. C. to the Founding of Rome, 752 years B. C. This is the period of Homer.
PERIOD VI. will extend from the Founding of Rome, 752 years B. C. to the War between the Greeks and Persians, 496 years B. C. This is the period of Roman Kings.
PERIOD VII. will extend from the War between the Greeks and Persians, 496 years B. C. to the Birth of Alexander, 356 years B. C. This is the period of Grecian Glory.
PERIOD VIII. will extend from the Birth of Alexander, 356 years B. C. to the Destruction of Carthage, 146 B. C. This is the period of Roman Militayr Renown.
PERIOD IX. will extend from the Destruction of Carthate, 146 years B. C. to the First Campaign of Julius Cæsar, 80 years B. C. This is the period of the Civil War between Marius and Sylla.
PERIOD X. will extend from the First Campaign of Julius Cæsar, 80 years B. C. to the Nativity f Jesus Christ, and the Commencement of the Christian era. This is the period of Roman Literature.
THE ANTEDILUVIAN PERIOD,
EXTENDS FROM THE
C R E A T I O N,
4004 years B. C. to the Deluge, 2343 years B. C.
Antediluvian, signifies before the flood, and the period under this name embraces 1656 years.
This period includes four principal events.
First, the Creation:
Second, the Transgression of Adam and Eve:
Third, the Murder of Abel by his brother Cain:
Fourth, the Prediction of the Deluge to Noah.
The only account we have of these events is contained in the Bible, which is extremely brief, though interesting, and in the highest degree authentic.
1. The Creation of this globe, including the creatures that inhabit it, occupied six days. God rested on the seventh day, and set it apart, ever after, as a day on which man is to worship him.
This event transpired 4004 B. C. according to the Hebrew computation.
The particular manner in which the work of Creation proceeded, is left almost wholly to conjecture.—The Scriptural narrative is very concise, and moreover it does not aim at philosophical accuracy the description of events. It speaks according to appearances, and in the language of common men.
It is generally supposed, that the successive parts of the Creation were instantaneously brought into being, on the different days assigned to them. Some learned men, however, have conjectured, and endeavoured to shew, that the work occupied some thousands of years, and that the days of which Moses speaks, as in some other parts of Scripture, mean not days literally, but periods of indefinite length.
This interpretation is supposed to correspond better with certain appearances on the earth’s surface indicating a vast series of ages in its formation. But it may be remarked, that the fact itself on which this interpretation is founded, is extremely doubtful, and that it is taking unwarrantable liberty with the sacred narrative, to construe it in such a manner.
2. The Transgression of Adam and Eve, commonly called the Fall of man, is detailed in the third chapter of Genesis. It took placed probably soon after the Creation, and has been most awful in its consequences.
The sum of the information conveyed to us in this account, taken in connexion with a statement in the preceding chapter, is, that man, being created innocent, with a disposition to do right, and in all cases to comply with the holy will of God, was placed in a state of trial.
In this situation he was at length beset by the Devil, in the form of a serpent, who persuaded him to depart from the path of rectitude, and to violate an express command of his Maker.
In consequence of this departure from duty, he lost the favour of God, his disposition became sinful, and
his whole posterity, partaking of his altered, depraved nature, became involved in all evil.
The Garden of Eden, in which man was originally placed, andin which this transaction occurred, is by some supposed to have been situated in Mesopotamia, now Diarbec, between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates. There is, however, a variety of opinion on the subject, and every quarter of the globe has, in its turn, been conjectured to include this delightful place. It is impossible at the present time to determine its locality with certainty, any farther than that it must have been some where in Asia.
3. The Murder of Abel was one of the first fruits of man’s apostacy, and is supposed to have occurred about thirty years from the Creation. Cain was a husbandman: Abel was a shepherd. Abel had favour shown him by God on account of his piety. This circumstance excited the envy and jealousy of Cain, who accordingly slew his brother.
The particulars of this story may be found in Genesis, chap. iv. They are briefly these. Cain and Abel, at a certain time, both brought an offering to the Lord. Cain’s offering consisted of the fruit of the ground. Abel’s, of the firstlings of his flock. Abel’s offering, being an animal sacrifice, had respect to the atonement of the promised seed. Cain’s had no such respect; and this difference, originating doubtless from different moral feelings, was the reason why Abel was accepted, and Cain rejected.
In consequence of the distinction which God thus made between them, Cain was exasperated, and he wickedly wreaked his resentment on his unoffending brother. Taking an opportunity when they were in the field together, he rose against Abel, and slew him. The consequence to Cain was the awful curse of God.
4. The Prediction of the Deluge to Noah, was of the nature of a warning to him, in order that he might prepare for it. It was communicated to him 120 years before the deluge took place,
and 1536 years from the Creation. This judgment from God was to be sent on the world with a view to cut off the inhabitants, who had become exceedingly wicked.
The scriptural narrative informs us, that such was the warning given to Noah, and that such was the procuring cause of the deluge, and details the manner in which Noah was commanded to provide for the safety of himself and family. Gen. chap. vi. 11-21,—which consult.
1. Adam, the first of the human race.
2. Eve, the first woman.
3. Enoch, translated to heaven on account of his piety.
4. Methuselah, the oldest man that has ever lived, being 969 years old when he died.
1. This period emraces the extended space of 1656 years, ad includes the whole history of the antediluvian world.
It would be very interestng to know more particularly the state of society, the extent of population, the progress in arts and sciences, the condition of political institutions, &c. during this period. But the scriptures give us very little information on these subjects.
2. We are told that “Jabal was the father of such as dwell in tents,” which shews that a rude knowledge of architecture was possessed; and that “Jubal was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ,” which shews that in addition to the mechanic arts, the science of music was not unknown.
We are informed that the posterity of Seth made discoveries in astronomy, which they engraved on two pillars, the one of brick, and the other of stone. The latter, it is affirmed, existed after the deluge, and remained entire in the time of Josephus; that is, nearly a century after Christ.
3. It is highly probable, from the long life of man
during this period—the average age being 6 or 7 hundred years—that very considerable progress was made in most branches of human pursuit.
Some suppose that man was aided by inspiration; but even if left to the ordinary operation of his faculties, the accumulation of individual knowledge and experience, during a life of 6 or 700 years, must have resulted in a successful cultivation of the arts and sciences.
4. Nothing definite can be settled as to the extent of population. Some imagine that it was very great, far exceeding what it is at present. But from various circumstances, the probability is, that it was much smaller, and that mankind were not widely diffused over the earth. If any thing on this subject may be ascertained or fairly conjectured from geological studies, the opinion of Cuvier, that the human race inhabited some narrow districts, is probably correct.
5. The government which existed in antediluvian times, was doubtless patriarchial; that is, the government which was held by the heads of separate families. A number of these might perhaps combine, and place themselves under the direction of some common ancestor.
This is the most natural form of government, and best corresponds with the veneration which must have been paid to persons so very aged, as the early fathers of mankind were; and also with the fact, that there is no mention made in the Bible of kingly authority, until after the deluge. Indeed, succeeding this event, the government was considerably patriarchal down to the time of Moses.
THE PERIOD OF THE CONFUSION OF LANGUAGES,
EXTENDS FROM THE
D E L U G E,
2348 years B. C. to the Calling of Abraham,
1921 years B. C. and embraces 427 years.
IMPORTANT EVENTS IN PERIOD II.
Under this period we may enumerate five principal events.
First, the Deluge.
Second, the Building of the Tower of Babel.
Third, the Foundation of the Assyrian empire.
Fourth, the Establishment of the First Dynasty of Chinese Emperors:
Fifth, the Foundation of the kingdom of Egypt.
The Bible is our principal guide, in regard to the events of this period. The concurring testimony of profane history, though very fabulous, begins now to be of some little use.
1. The Deluge, or flood of waters which entirely covered the earth, destroyed the whole
human race, except eight individuals. It likewise destroyed the whole animal creation, except a pair of each species. This event occurred 2348 years B. C.
The Scriptures give us several particulars of this remarkable occurrence, which was so disastrous to our globe. They are briefly these. Noah, who was righteous amid the general wickedness, was commanded to build an ark, or large ship, in expectation of the deluge.
This structure, which was more than 480 feet in length, 81 in breadth, and 41 in height, was sufficiently capacous to answer the purpose for which it was designed.
It consisted of three stories, and was divided into many small apartments, for its intended inhabitants. At the appointed time the family of Noah, and all kinds of beasts, birds and reptiles, by pairs, entered the ark, and God caused the earth to be so overflowed, by rain from the skies, and by breaking up the fountains of the deep, that every creature without the ark perished.
After floating on the water 150 days, the ark rested on one of the summits of Mount Ararat, though it was several months afterwards that the waters entirely departed from the earth.
According to the computation of time used in Scripture, Noah and his companions continued in the ark one year and ten days.
Traditions respecting a general deluge have been handed down among almost all nations, and the earth bears visible marks of having experienced some great convulsion. …