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admirable works of many eminent writers, particularly of Archdeacon PALEY, had already exhibited the distinct evidence of the Gospel history in the clearest view; but because I conceive the combination of these two subjects in most preceding works, in which the divine original of the Jewish Law has been defended, has in some measure prevented the distinct evidence for this part of Revelation from being as fully and clearly stated as it ought to be. Where the Law and the Gospel are at once in a writer's contemplation, the immediate and as it were practical importance of the latter must appear so much greater than that of the former, that it is natural this should engross almost the whole of his attention. Besides, the proofs and principles of the Mosaic Law are so distinct from those of the Gospel, and the period of human history with which they are connected so different, that it is not easy to combine them in one system of reasoning with clearness and effect. At the same time, I am fully sensible of the inseparable connexion between these two grand parts of the divine economy of grace; and that to represent either as independent of the other, would be to misrepresent and undermine it. I hope it will be found that this principle has not been neglected in the following Work.†
If it be asked why I have exhibited the internal evidence of the Mosaic Law separate from the external? I answer, because I conceive it a completely distinct topic of argument, to which the external evidence is properly a supplement, which may be resorted to with much more advantage and effect when the internal has been first distinctly considered. Besides, the external testimonies for the truth of the Mosaic history have been lately
In his Evidences of Christianity, and his Hora Paulina; which last I consider as one of the most original, most convincing, and most important illustrations of the truth of the Gospel History, ever published.
† Vide Part III. Lect. V. & VI.
examined and exhibited by many learned and able writers (particularly by Mr FABER, in his Hora Mosaica) so fully, that it would be as unnecessary as it would be arrogant to attempt to supersede their labours, when I can do my reader so much more service by simply referring to them.*
* As this Work may come into the hands of some theological Students desirous to acquaint themselves with the external evidences for the truth of the Old Testament, I annex the following references to some of the chief authors who have treated of them.
JOSEPHUS, in his first book against Apion, quotes many testimonies to the antiquity of the Jewish nation; the circumstances attending their emigration from Egypt, and the later periods of their history, from a number of authors then extant, and whom he appeals to as perfectly known, though only fragments of a few of their works now remain. He appeals also to the public records of the Tyrians, "which (says he) are
kept with great exactness, and include accounts of the facts done among them, and "such as concern their transactions with other nations also." These records state the building of the temple of Solomon, and the time it took place, and various circumstances connected with it.-Josephus also quotes Manatho, Dius the historian of Phoenicia, and Menander of Ephesus, to the same purpose. He also quotes Berosus the Chaldean, "well known (says he) by the learned, on account of his publication of the "Chaldean books of astronomy, and philosophy among the Greeks. This Berosus "therefore, following the most ancient records of that nation, gives us a History of "the Deluge of Waters that then happened, and of the destruction of mankind thereby, "and agrees with Moses's narrative thereof; he also gives an account of the Ark "wherein Noah the origin of our race was preserved, when it was brought down to the "highest part of the Armenian mountains; after which he gives a catalogue of the pos"terity of Noah, and adds the years of their chronology, and at length comes down to "Nabolassar (or Nabopollassar) who was king of Babylon."-I earnestly recommend the entire Book to the perusal of the Student.
The concurrence of the Sacred Records with those of Pagan history, and the probable derivation of much of the ancient philosophy from the Scripture, is confirmed by EUSEBIUS in his Præparatio Evangelica, much more fully than by Josephus-a work of such signal importance that it may be useful to give an Abstract of its Contents, to excite the attention of the Student. In his first book, Eusebius exhibits a view of the Theology of the Ancients, particularly of the Phoenicians and Egyptians, and the progress of idolatry, and the ancient opinions on the origin of the universe; in his second book he carries on his view to the Theology of the Greeks and Romans, the fables of the heroic age, and the Arcana of the mysteries; and also introduces a brief exposition of the absurdities of this theology, and these superstitions. In his third, fourth, and fifth books, he exposes at large the absurdities of the fables and superstitions attending idolatry, especially the fallacy of its divinations and oracles; and though he intermixes opinions of his own in accounting for facts, of which a more enlightened philosophy will not approve, yet the facts themselves, and the original authorities on which they are supported, are most highly important. In his sixth book, he exposes the pagan system of fate, &c. In his seventh and eighth books, he illustrates the superiority of the Jewish religion, in its theology, its moral principles, and its effects. But in his ninth, he adduces what is most directly counected with the object of our
Some Friends, whose judgment I most highly respect, have stated to me, that I ought to have included the book of Genesis in my plan; and that even now I ought to prefix some preliminary Lectures on this important part of Sacred History, before
present enquiry, an accumulation of testimonies from works then extant, but very many of which are now lost, to confirm the sacred history. He here produces the strongest testimonies of Grecian writers to the excellence of the Hebrew principles of theology and morals,* to the vain attempts of the Egyptian magicians in opposition to Moses,† Abydenus's tradition of the deluge,‡ and Tower of Babel,§ Eupolemus's testimony to the history of Abraham,|| and various other confirmations of the Jewish history preserved by Alexander Polyhistor-from Theodotus, to the history of Jacob; from Artapanes, to that of Joseph and of Moses, and a long and accurate testimony to the plagues of Egypt and the passage of the Red Sea;¶ from the tragic poet Ezekiel, to the same facts; and Demetrius, to the same, in an abstract evidently taken from the sacred writings as unquestioned and certain records. I omit the testimonies to later facts in the Jewish history-the entire book is peculiarly worth the Student's attention. In the tenth book, he adduces many facts and arguments to prove the philosophy of the Greeks was borrowed from the Barbarians, and illustrates the superiority of the Jewish theology. In his eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth books, Eusebius considers the system of Plato, and proves its agreement in a variety of particulars with that of the Jews, and its having been probably derived from that source; while at the same time he points out the degrading turpitude of Plato's moral theory in his Republic, and strongly contrasts it with the purity of the Mosaic code. The fourteenth and fifteenth books contain a view of the chief systems of philosophy among the Greeks, comparing them with the Jewish Law, and decidedly establishing the superiority of the latter. In a word, this great Work, though not entirely free from the prejudices and the errors prevalent at the period when its Author lived, yet exhibits a most important monument of the necessity and advantages both of the Jewish and Christian Revelations, the confirmation of the Sacred History by various records and authors extant at that period, though now in a great measure lost, and the probability that the Grecian philosophy derived its only just views, whether in theology or morals, from the lights of Revelation, though broken and obscured by the gross and impure mediums through which they were conveyed.
Amongst modern writers, STILLINGFLEET, in his Origines Sacræ, has with great learning and acuteness "proved the reconcileableness of the account of times in Scrip"ture with that of the learned and ancient heathen nations-the consistency of the "belief of the Scriptures with the principles of reason-and that no clear account can "be given of the origin of things, from the principles of philosophy without Scripture." In his sixth book, this learned Author has proved the uncertainty of ancient history, as opposed to the Scripture accounts:-in Book iii. chap. 4. he has confirmed the Scripture accounts of the Creation, the Deluge, and the peopling of the world, by the testimonies of Heathen traditions and Heathen history: and in Book v. he has traced the origin of Heathen mythology to the corruption of the Scripture accounts.
In the first seven Chapters.
+ Cap. viii.
! Cap. xii.
I submit this Work to the Public. To them I answer, that the history of the four last books of the Pentateuch forms one subject perfectly distinct from the history of the book of Genesis, except so far as it is connected with the account of the fall of man in
GALE, in his Court of the Gentiles, has traced the original of human literature, both philologic and philosophic, from the Scriptures and the Jewish Church, with a great variety of argument, and a great extent of erudition. Vide his First Part, as to the traduction of the Pagan literature and mythology from the Jews; and his second, as to the original of philosophy. In this work, the zeal for carrying his system to a great extent has perhaps led this learned Author too far, but unquestionably he has collected a body of most important evidence, which establishes the truth of the Scripture History.
BOCHART'S Phaleg, tracing the dispersion of mankind; and BRYANT's Analysis of Ancient Mythology; confirm this coincidence. But the Works of Bochart and Bryant are perhaps too voluminous and learned for the generality of students. They will find the testimonies of antiquity to the truth of the Scriptures clearly but briefly exhibited, ny GROTIUS, in his Truth of the Christain Religion, with Le Clerc's valuable notes—— Dy ALLIX, in his Reflections on Genesis xix. and xx., and on the Historical and Prophetical Books, Chap. ii., a work included in Watson's Tracts-by the BISHOP of LINCOLN, in his Elements of Christain Theology, Part I. chap. i.—and especially by the learned Mr FABER, in his Hora Mosaica, Book I. Sect. 1. to whose work I refer, as superseding the necessity of my entering any further into this subject.
It may not be inexpedient to observe here, that another topic from which the authority and credibility of the Pentateuch, and indeed of the entire Old Testament, derives great confirmation, is the agreement of the manners and customs of the East, as they incidentally appear in the Sacred Records, with the manners and customs which history proves prevailed in the East at the period when the events related in Scripture took place; and from the great illustration which the Scriptures have received, by comparing them with the observations of modern travellers, on the productions, the manners, and the feelings prevalent in the East at this day; where, from the peculiar stability of established manners and customs, clear vestiges still remain of that state of society which the Scriptures describe. On this subject, I refer to HARMER'S Observations on Scripture which have been judiciously added to, improved and applied, by Mr BURDER, in his Oriental Customs applied to illustrate the Scriptures.
I will conclude this already too long, but I hope not useless note, by referring the Student desirous at once of extending his knowledge, and confirming his faith to the Rev. Mr MAURICE'S History of Hindostan, and to the accomplished Sir WILLIAM JONES'S Researches into the History and Antiquities of Asia, and those of his learned Colleagues; where he will find multiplied confirmations of the truth of the Scripture history, derived from the most unsuspected sources, and delivered with the greatest clearness and candour.
To limit his search, I would direct the student particularly to consult Mr Maurica's History, Vol. I. chap. i. where he points out the striking circumstances of similairty between the Hindoo, the Hebraic, the Phoenician, the Egyptian, and the Grecian systems of cosmogony! as in their account of the incumbent wind or spirit agitating the abyss of water. being the primæval element. &c. I would also refer to his second
the grand economy of grace. The evidence of the divine original of the Mosaic Law may therefore be clearly exhibited without including the consideration of the facts recorded in the book of Genesis. I add, that in the natural order of reasoning, the
chapter, which shows that the Indian claims to antiquity are fallacious and cannot be opposed to the Mosaic history and the Hebrew chronology: to his tenth chapter, in which he concludes his learned and laborious investigation into the history of astronomy, and proves that the result of the whole survey, so far from subverting, gives a decided support to the Mosaic records. In the eleventh chapter, we find the Mosaic history of Adam and the fall confirmed by the Indian records and traditions-in the twelfth, the Mosaic account of the antedeluvians receives similar illustration; and in the thirteenth, the history of the deluge receives the most full, and I had almost said, irresistible confirmation. In Vol. II. Book ii. chap. ii. the Student will find many solid arguments to prove that ancient Sanscreet writings corroborate the Mosaic records; and in Book iv. he will find it, I think, irrefutably established, that "immemorial traditions diffused over all the East, and derived from a patriarchal source, concerning the fall of man, the original promise, and a future Mediator, had taught the whole gentile world to expect the appearance of a sacred and illustrious personage about the time of Christ's advent." Here also the opinions I have ventured to advance concerning Zoroaster and the Magi, are illustrated and confirmed; and the similitude between the life and conduct of the Messiah and of Creeshna, the great Indian preserver, described and accounted for. And in the fifth chapter of the same book will be found ancient predictions traditionally preserved, respecting the day of judgment, and the destruction of the world by fire.
From the ASIATIC RESEARCHES I will point out some testimonies to the truths of the Sacred History, most directly connected with the subject of this work.-In the first volume, p. 229, we find a dissertation on the Gods of Greece, Italy, and India, in which Sir William gives his reasons for believing that "the fable of the life of Saturn "was raised on the true history of Noah, and translated from the Bhagavat. The "history of Menu or Satyavrata, an Indian king of divine birth, eminent for his piety "and beneficence, whose story seems evidently to be that of Noah disguised by "Asiatic fiction, and of whom we may safely offer a conjecture that he was the same as "Saturn."
On this epitome of the first Indian history which is now extant, Sir William Jones remarks: "it appears to me very curious and important; for the story, though whimsi"cally dressed up in the form of an allegory, seems to prove a primæval tradition in "this country, of the deluge described by Moses, and consequently fixes the time when "the genuine Hindoo chronology actually begins.
In page 244, Sir William tells us, "that water was the primitive element and first "work of the creative power, is the uniform opinion of the Indian philosophers: but as "they gave so particular an account of the general deluge, and of the creation, it can 66 never be admitted that their whole system arose from traditions concerning the flood "alone, and it must appear indubitable that their doctrine is in part borrowed from
* Vide Infra.