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From Eternity Past

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    Length of Adam's Life

    For nearly a thousand years Adam sought to stem the tide of evil. He had been commanded to instruct his posterity in the way of the Lord, and he carefully treasured what God had revealed to him and repeated it to succeeding generations. To the ninth generation he described man's holy and happy estate in Paradise and repeated the history of his fall, telling them of the sufferings by which God had taught him the necessity of strict adherence to His law and explaining to them the merciful provisions for their salvation. Yet often he was met with bitter reproach for the sin that had brought such woe upon his posterity.EP 44.2

    When he left Eden, the thought that he must die thrilled him with horror. Filled with remorse for his own sin and doubly bereaved in the death of Abel and the rejection of Cain, Adam was bowed down with anguish. Though the sentence of death had at first appeared terrible, yet after beholding for nearly a thousand years the results of sin, he felt that it was merciful for God to bring to an end a life of suffering and sorrow.EP 45.1

    The antediluvian age was not, as has often been supposed, an era of ignorance and barbarism. The people possessed great physical and mental strength, and their advantages were unrivaled. Their mental powers were early developed, and those who cherished the fear of God continued to increase in knowledge and wisdom throughout their life. Illustrious scholars of our time would appear as greatly inferior in mental as in physical strength. As the years of man have decreased and his physical strength has diminished, so his mental capacities have lessened.EP 45.2

    It is true that the people of modern times have the benefit of the attainments of their predecessors. Men of masterly minds have left their work for those who follow. But how much greater the advantages of the men of that time! They had among them for hundreds of years him who was formed in God's image. Adam had learned from the Creator the history of creation; he himself witnessed the events of nine centuries. The antediluvians had strong memories to retain that which was communicated to them and to transmit it unimpaired to their posterity. For hundreds of years there were seven generations living upon the earth contemporaneously, profiting by the knowledge and experience of all.EP 45.3

    So far from being an era of religious darkness, that was an age of great light. All the world had opportunity to receive instruction from Adam, and those who feared the Lord had also Christ and angels for their teachers. And they had a silent witness to the truth, in the garden of God, which for many centuries remained among men. Eden stood just in sight, its entrance barred by watching angels. The object of the garden, the history of its two trees, were undisputed facts. And the existence and supreme authority of God were truths which men were slow to question while Adam was among them.EP 46.1

    Notwithstanding the prevailing iniquity, a line of holy men lived as in the companionship of heaven—men of massive intellect, of wonderful attainments. They had a great mission—to develop a character of righteousness, to teach a lesson of godliness, not only to men of their time, but for future generations. Only a few are mentioned in the Scriptures, but all through the ages God had faithful witnesses, true-hearted worshipers.EP 46.2

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