Methuselah and Longevity

Of Methuselah, the son of Enoch and the grandfather of Noah, the Bible has very little to say. The fact which has made him famous is stated in the twenty-seventh verse of the fifth chapter of Genesis where we are informed that "all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years;" but as to what he did during these years we know nothing. His name has stood out amid the host of Scriptural names simply because to him is ascribed the greatest number of years recorded in all the genealogical data of the Bible. In other words, he has represented throughout subsequent history what has been considered a more or less improbable ideal of longevity. This ideal humanity has often thought of with superficial amusement but with inward seriousness. Immortality is, indeed, the fundamental ideal of living; but humanity has too often regarded it merely as a desirable accompaniment of materiality rather as a inherent in Spirit alone.

In one sense, the experience of Enoch, that he "walked with God," has been of more immortal inspiration to the world than all the years of Methuselah, for true walking with God, divine Principle, is actually spiritual living. Likewise Noah, who, as Paul points out, "became heir of the righteousness which is by faith," has exemplified to the world considerable understanding of spiritual immortality. Thus Mrs. Eddy says of him (Science and Health, p. 592): "Noah. A corporeal mortal; knowledge of the nothingness of material things and of the immortality of all that is spiritual." Certainly the ministry of Christ Jesus, that was so brief when reckoned in earthly years, has meant immensely more to the world than all the years of Methuselah or even than the sense of goodness manifest through Enoch or Noah. Each unfoldment of Principle, however, proves just what needs to be proved at the time and in the circumstances.

July 9, 1921

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