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and the divine procedure with them; and saving faith itself is but the belief of the traditions found in the New Testament.
Reuben. Did you not say that "saving faith” was practically more than belief of testimony or the assent to tradition ?
Olympas. True: but these traditions respect a person, not a thing. Now the belief of the traditions concerning that person, necessarily imply confidence in him, therefore, when we wish to simplify to the humblest capacity, we say, that saving faith is trust in Jesus; or believing on Jesus as our Saviour; or trusting in God, through him, as the only way to God as the truth and the life. Every one who trusts in God, and rejoices in Jesus Christ, is a saved person.
Reuben. This is, then, the reason why the saints of the ancient Scriptures are so frequently spoken of as trusting in God, and why they are described as “they that trust in him."
Olympas. But we must return to our lesson. Tradition, when properly defined, is, you will perceive, the most useful of all the sources of intelligence to man. The Bible is a volume of traditions; and they that add to it their own traditions as of equal authority, as far as in them lies, make the word of God of no practical valuethey make it void by their traditi as.
Thomas Dilworth. Is there any now-a-days, who, like the old Jews, make the word of God of non-effect by their traditions ?
Olympas. The doctrine of the church of Rome, according to the Council of Trent, is, that "the ruth and discipline of the catholic church are
comprehended both in the ancient books, and in the traditions which have been received from the mouth of Jesus Christ himself, or of his Apostles, and which have been preserved or transmitted by an uninterrupted chain and succession."
Thomas. And what do Protestants say of tradition ?
Olympas. That “the Holy Scriptures contain all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.” This is safe doctrine, if Protestants would not give it up in practice.
But as all religious truth was in the first place a matter of oral tradition, it was kind to have it conveyed through few hands, and carefully written on the memory of those who were entrusted with it. This was accomplished in the best possible manner, by the persons employed in keeping the oracles of God during the first ages of the world. It was stated at the close of our last lesson, that all the experience of the human family was communicated to Abraham and Isaac by two persons—Methuselah and Shem.
How old, Reuben, was Isaac when Shem died ?
Reuben. Isaac was born in the year of the world 2108, and Shem died in the year of the world 2156, or five hundred years after the flood. Isaac was therefore in his fifty-second year when Shem died ?
Olympas. You said, at our last lesson, that the history of two thousand years reached Shem
through two persons. You presume that Methuselah saw and heard Adam two hundred and forty-three years; that Shem saw and heard Methuselah ninety-eight years; and that Isaac saw and heard Shem fifty-two years. We know they might have done so; and what was possible in such a case is the most natural event; because who, in the time of Methuselah, would not wish to have seen and heard the first man? Who of us would not travel across all Asia to see the first man, so late as the close of the seventh century from creation, and to have heard him tell the wondrous story of his most eventful life !
Adam, Noah, and Shem must have related their experience more frequently and with more minuteness, because so often interrogated, and so universally interesting, than ever did any other
Hence its superlative accuracy and safe transmission to Moses.
Every word stereotyped. If Adam after the year 400, related his experience before and since the Fall, only once for every year, he must have told it at least five hundred times. Surely then he must have remembered it well. This is true of Shem, who carried in his memory the records of the antediluvian ages, as well as of ten generations after the flood. But tell me, Reuben, when you say that all the knowledge, that is, all the experience of two thousand years, must have reached Isaac through but two persons-Methuselah and Shem -do you mean these two only, or those two supported by other witnesses ?
Reuben. I presume there were for much of this time, innumerable concurring witnesses; but I
mean in point of descent, it needed to pass but through two persons till it reached the ears of Abraham and Isaac.
Olympas. And through how many from Isaac to Moses?
Reuben. Isaac may have conversed several years with Levi, his grand-son; for Isaac lived contemporary with Levi some fifty-three years.
Olympas. How do you make that appear?
Reuben. Isaac was born in the year of Abraham 100, or in the year of the world 2108; Jacob was born in the year of Isaac 60; and Levi in the year of Jacob 67 ; that is, in the year of the world 2235. Now as Isaac lived one hundred and eighty years, he died in the year 2289, which was the fifty-third year of Levi.
Olympas. How old was Levi when his second son, Kohatb, the grand-father of Moses was born ?
Reuben. I never could find that out from all my readings of the five books. I find, Exod. v., that Levi lived to be one hundred and thirty-seven years old, and Kobath, one hundred and thirtythree, and Amram, Moses' father, one hundred and thirty-seven ; but in what year of Levi Kohath was born, I know not.
Olympas. It is inferred from various circumstances that he was born in the hundredth year of Jacob and thirty-third of Levi. Being thirty years old when Jacob migrated to Egypt, he must have lived in Egypt one hundred and three years, or within thirty years of the birth of Moses. This would leave but thirty years for Amram to occupy in communicating intelligence from Levi to his son Moses.
Olympas. Can you, Thomas, repeat the dates of the deaths from Abraham to the death of Moses?
Thomas. Abraham died in the year of the world 2183; Isaac, in 2288; Jacob, in 2315; Levi, in 2372; Kohath, in 2401; and, allowing Amram to be born in the thirty-fifth year of Kohath, he died in 2340, at which time Moses was about eight years old. But it may have been several years later, as we have no very certain data from which to infer his age at the birth of Moses.
Olympas. It is, then, upon the whole evidence before us, plain—that Methuselah could have communicated to Shem; Shem, to Isaac; Isaac, to Levi; Levi, to Amram; and Amram to Moses, the history of all things from the creation. Moses in the genealogy of historians, is, then, but the sixth fro Adam. am, the first; Methuselah, the second; Shem, the third; Isaac, the fourth ; Amram, the fifth; Moses, the sixth. · Between Adam and Moses there stand but four successive witnesses-sustained, indeed, by an innumerable multitude of concurring voices. When, then, you hear any persons cavil at the narrative of Moses on account of the unwritten traditions of preceding ages, or because of the number of hands through which these documents passed, remember that it may have passed through but four persons from Adam to Moses; and that, from the frequency of the repetitions necessarily called for, all things must have been most accurately retained and delivered over to Moses, who, in addition to all this, had the guidance of the unerring Spirit of God.