Page images

• There is no ancient writer almost, except perhaps Herodotus, whose character has been so variously represented, as Josephus, the great Jewish Historian and Chronologer. By some he is praised for his veracity, by others censured for his fictions. Among the early Christians, his chronology was in the highest repute ; and Theophilus, of Antioch, seems to have made it the basis of his own. But when the shorter Hebrew chronology gained ground, his system, founded on the longer computation, declined in estimation, and fell into disrepute. Very few of the modern Chronologers, Scaliger excepted, do full justice to his merits : he is sometimes followed where he is wrong, and blamed where he is right.

• Much, however, of the censure that he has undeservedly incurred, is owing to the carelessness and fraud of his early editors. His dates especially, have been miserably mangled and perverted, frequently by accident and frequently by design.

• However difficult and hazardous may be the attempt to recover the genuine chronology of Josephus, yet it should not be deemed desperate nor impracticable. Much may be done by careful discrimination and a judicious selection of the genuine dates and nurnbers which still fortunately subsist in the work, though comparatively few, from the many spurious that disgrace and embarrass it. I shall therefore endeavour, by the help of some genuine dates and numbers, first to trace a correct outline of the Chronology of Josephus, and afterwards to confirm it by a detail of the particulars that fill it up, and by their conformity to the general outline.

• Thus have I endeavoured, and I trust not unsuccessfully, to vindicate the character of this illustrious Historian, profound Antiquary, and consummate Chronologer, Josephus, and to retrieve the integrity of his admirable system, by shewing its consistency throughout, both in the whole, and in the parts ; thereby furnishing a solid foundation for a durable system of Ancient Chronology, sacred and profane, built upon the rectified Era of the Creation, B. C. 5411, now first deduced from the writings of two great luminaries of the Jewish and Christian Churches, Josephus and THEOPHILUS.

• It is rather a curious circumstance, that' by a compensation of errors, taking B.C. 5300, the mean, between the extreme opinions of Alphonsus, B. C. 6984, and Rabbi Lipman, B. C. 3616, in the first list of this lntroduction, it differs not much from the corrected Era, B. C. 5411, which, though its critical accuracy, from the nature of the subject, and the omission of the odd months, weeks, and days, of the years of the generations and reigns by which it was computed (according to the remark of Theophilus) cannot be strictly demonstrated, yet that it approximates nearer TO THE TRUTH than any Epoch of the Creation hitherto proposed, may be asserted with confidence.

pp. 95-105. The preparatory matter being thus amply disposed in the introduction,-a most learned and truly interesting performance, the author enters upon the first great division of his work, The Elements of Technical Chronology. The usual points are nere illustrated at great length : the natural and artificial measures of time, among all the known nations of antiquity; the constitution and numerous reformations of the Kalendar ; the doctrines of Cycles and Epacts, with the formulæ for solving the usual problems, amoog which we observe an original and very easy analytical solution of Scaliger's problem by Dr. H. himself ; the application of Eclipses and the Precession of the Equinoxes; a large account of Epochs and Eras, in which the Parian Chronicle is introduced from Dr. Chandler's edition of the Marbles ; an excellent and satisfactory disquisition on the mean length of Generations and Reigns; and an account of the different modes of Arithmetical Notation which have prevailed. It would have made the Table of Months nwre valuable, to have annexed the names of the Grecian, Hebrew, Syrian, and Arabic months in their proper characters, as well as in the Roman, in which alone they are expressed. This was done by Spanheim, to the great advantage of his readers; and it would have been easy for Dr. H. to adopt the method.

The next and concluding part of the present volume is intitled, Elements of Sacred Geography. The author considers the site of paradise, the phænomenon and effects of the deluge, partial deluges, as those of Ogyges and Deucalion, the settlements of the Noachidæ and their posterity, the varieties of the human species, and the descriptive geography of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Palestine, and other countries connected with the scriptural history.

In his opinions on the interesting, but difficult subject, of the colonization of the earth by the descendants of Noah, Dr. H. seems to coincide pretty closely with Wells. He ought, we conceive, to have taken some notice of the very different views of this subject adopted by Sir William Jones. The chapter on the primitive language, and the art of writing, might have received no small improvement from a judicious consideration of Davies's Celtic Researches. The stations of the Israelites, in their wanderiugs in the desert of Arabia, are illustrated carefully, and with many apposite quotations from Shaw, Niebuhr, and other travellers. To prove

that the level of the Mediterranean Sea was, in ancient times, considerably higher than at present,” Dr. H. adduces an argument, which more correct information would, we think, induce him to withdraw. He says that, “in excavating the ground,--for the improvement of the fortifications of Gibraltar,-petrified human bones have been found, in very great numbers, either incased in the rocks, or heaped together in subterraneous caverns. Their petrifaction proves them to be of very ancient date." p. 344. From the examination of some specimens in our possession of

are in a

these congestions of bones, it appears to us that they are not human, but the bones of monkeys, birds, and perhaps other small animals, which lived on the summits of the rock, and whose remains have been washed by the rains into fissures and cavities, where they have been closely compressed, and cemented together by calcareous deposition from the water filtrated through the lime-stone rock. Nor are these bones in the state which is commonly, but improperly, called petrifaction. They are in the natural state of animal phosphate of lime : and, as the cause of their deposition is in constant operation, a large portion of the masses comparatively recent state,

Diodorus relates, that the Argonauts sailed from the Euxine, up the Tanais; and that after a short passage by land, they found rivers which carried them into the North Sea, and thence into the Ocean; from whence they returned, through the straits of Hercules, to Telamon." This story, Dr. H. says, is, no doubt, improbable." p. 345. The subject is highly curious, and merits the closest examination of the learned. In the very ancient poem, the Argonautica (attributed to Orpheus, but probably written about the time of the invasion of Xerxes;) v. 1057—1243, there are vestiges of a navigation up the Dnieper, rather than the Don (Tanais), of a transportation of their vessel, perhaps to the Vistula, or to some river by which they arrived at the British seas, and finally returned to Greece through the straits of Hercules and along the coast of Italy and Sicily. So wondrous a voyage was

a very probable, or rather necessary fund, of the enthusiastic admiration in which the Argonautic adventurers were held for ages, and of the numerous fables which obscured the tradition of their narrative. The question is, as the admirable Jo. Matthias Gesner has remarked, (Prel. I. de Navigationibus extra Col. Herc. $.4.) “ Sitne plane absurdum homines aliquot Græcos, a Phenicibus instructos, per varias ærumnas, ex palude Mæotide, adverso Borysthene, translata humeris, an plaustris, cylindris, rotis, navi una aut pluribus, pervenisse tandem ad flumen cujus secundo agmine in Oceanum, quem hodie Orientalem vocamus, in litora Germaniæ septentrionalia delati sint."

Commending, as we sincerely do, the design, the plan, and the general execution of this elaborate work, we cannot but wish that the style were more correct, that the authorities were uniformly given, and that the Greek passages were printed more carefully and with accents. ance of the book is handsome, and the plates, which are six in number, are well engraved.


The appear

The second volume is to contain the whole body of Sacred Chronology; and the third is to be devoted to all the branches of Profane Chronology. Art. II. Essays on Professional Education, by R. L. Edgeworth, Esq.

F. R. S. M. R. I. A. &c. 4to. pp. 500. Price 1l. 58. Johnson.

1809. IN literary partnership with a female relative, this author

has become sufficiently well known to the public, to enable it to prejudge with tolerable confidence the general qualities of any work he might write, especially on the subject of education. His book will be opened with the expectation of a very good share of valuable instruction, the result of a long and careful exercise of sound sense on the habits of society, on the experience of education, and on a great multitude of books. There will be no hope of convicting the author of enthusiasm for a system, or servility to any distinguished authority. It will be expected that good use will be made of the opinions of the most opposite speculatists, and that most of the opinions that are approved will be supported by some reference to experiments by which they have been verified. It will be expected that, while a philosophic manner and diction are avoided, and all speculations are constantly applied to a practical purpose, full advantage will yet be taken of those explanations which the laws of our nature have received from the best modern philosophers. The reader will reckon on finding it constantly maintained, that the influence of facts has fully as efficient an operation as instruction by words, in forming the human character; and he will not be surprised at a tone of somewhat more positive confidence than himself is happy enough to entertain, of the complete and necessary success of the process, when it unites the proper facts and the proper instructions. As a moralist, it will perhaps raise no wonder if the author should be found so much a man of the world, as to admit various convenient compromises between the pure principles of virtue, and the customs and prejudices of society; and as to religion, no man will expect bigotry, or ascetic and incommodious piety, or any sort of doctrinal theology. There will be an agreeable and confident expectation of a great variety of pertinent anecdotes, supplied from history and observation, at once to relieve and Allustrate the reasouings. The reader will be prepared to accept this mode of infusing both vivacity and instructive force into the composition, instead of brilliance of imagination; comprehensive knowledge instead of argumentative subtilty; and perspicuity of language instead of elegance.

[ocr errors]

The first Essay, or chapter, proposes principles and plans for those stages of education, which, preceding the direct training for a particular profession, admit of a discipline in many points common to the children destined to all the professions. And yet, as parents are urged to fix at a very early period the future profession of each of their sons, they are properly recommended to introduce at an early stage of this general discipline a specific modification of it, prospective to the profession selected. In advising parents to this early choice, the author explodes, in a great measure, the popular notion of a natural inherent determination toward some one pursuit more than another, commonly called peculiar genius,' ' impulse of genius,'" bent of mind,"

natural turn, &c. In attacking this notion, he calls in the powerful aid of Johnson, who always manifested an extreme antipathy to it. “I hate,” said he,“ to hear people ask children whether they will be bishops, or chancellors, or generals, or what profession their genius' leads them to: do not they know, that a boy of seven years old has a genius for nothing but spinning a top and eating apple-pie?"Mr. Edgeworth condemns the folly of waiting in expectation that the supposed natural genius will disclose itself, or be drawn forth by some accident; during all which time the general discipline of education wilĩ probably be very remiss, the specific training preparatory to professional studies will be systematically avoided, and the youth is either growing up to be fit for nothing, or is perhaps determined at last by a casual event, or unfortunate acquaintance, to the very worst selection that he could have made in the whole cata. logue of employments

. It is insisted, that methods which will generally prove effectual may be adopted by parents, to give the child a preference for any department of learning or action they choose, and to make him sedulous to acquire the requisite qualifications. The author notices some of the most remarkable instances recorded of persons being determined by a particular accident to the pursuits in which they afterwards excelled; as Cowley's passion for poetry originated from his meeting with the fairy Queen in his mother's window; and Sir Joshua Reynolds's for painting, from his chancing to open a book by Richardson, on that subject, at a friend's house. Mr. É. observės, that the effect produced by reading these books would not have been less if they had been laid in the way by design; and that, besides, when an impression is to be madě by design, the effect is not left to depend on a single impression, since by a judicious management the child may be subjected to a combination and a series of impres,

« PreviousContinue »