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than any elaborate survey of the subject. He is desirous-not to investigate every circumstance which bears a resemblance to ob jects described in Scripture, or to examine all the channels of intelligence which the heathens possessed, but only to give a general relief to particulars which exemplify the connection between the sacred and profane writings; and by interesting the attention of the classical student, to lead him to prosecute enquiries, which may be carried with advantage far beyond the limits of the present work.

It is to be observed, generally, with respect to many of the circumstances which will be adduced, that where a correspondence is discoverable between the ordinances of divine, and those of apparently human institution, the latter might have been adopted, from their intrinsic utility, and under the influence of that propensity to imitation, which has at all times, generally and strongly prevailed.

The resemblance which existed between many of the accounts recorded in sacred writ and those of profane history, was so strong, that it did not escape the observation of the heathens to whom the Scriptures were made

known. From that predilection of vanity, however, with which all nations have flattered themselves in the notion of high antiquity, and from the influence of that error by which men are naturally led to conceive those reports to be authentic and original, which they have first heard or read, the heathens considered their own fables as the sources from which the sacred writers had borrowed.

This correspondence between many sacred and profane accounts, led Celsus and other adversaries of Christianity, to allege, without reflecting on the acknowledged antiquity of Moses, that he had depraved the heathen reports, particularly in his relations with respect to the tower of Babel, and the confusion of tongues: nor have there been wanting writers in modern times, who, violating all probability and historical truth, have endeavoured to confirm such misrepresentations. We, however, to borrow the remark of Stillingfleet, cannot do better than imitate Thales, who took the height of the pyramids by measuring the length of the shadows, and thus estimate the antiquity of truth by the extent of the fabulous productions.

Enquiries upon this subject, as the same writer has observed, are attended with so

much the greater difficulty, as the truth we pursue, often takes covert under great antiquity, and we are forced to follow its flying steps through the dark and shady regions of ancient history.

A general presumption may be formed in favour of the superior antiquity, and original claims of sacred history, from a consideration of the remarkable reverence which the Jews have ever manifested, both for the books which they believe to be of divine authority, and for the institutions of which those books describe the establishment. It is not probable that, with such sentiments, they should have been disposed to borrow from foreign sources of information: and this conclusion is confirmed by the tenacious adherence which they have always shewn to their own. laws and customs, as well as by their rooted aversion to admit any new rites of religion. In this view of the subject, there can be little doubt, that where any resemblance exists between the sacred writings and the heathen accounts, the former should be considered as the primary and original documents.

It is to be remarked, likewise, that the rise and progress of society, and the derivation and succession of nations in the order of time,

should be attended to, in the examination of all claims to priority, though, in many dissertations upon this subject, a great ignorance, or disregard, of such considerations is too often to be observed.

The Grecian and Roman states, from the writers of which we draw our chief knowledge of the history of heathen nations, and our information with respect to their mythology, opinions and laws, were so much more recent as to all points of competition, that there can be little difficulty in ascertaining where a precedency should be allowed, and imitation or corruption of accounts be imputed, whensoever discussions arise as to the origin and fidelity of the relation and circumstances which are described under different, though similar, representations.

The Assyrians and Egyptians may be allowed to stand upon an equal basis of antiquity with the immediate descendants of Abraham, or even upon a higher foundation as flourishing nations; but considering that men dispersed from the east, and that colonies emigrated from Asia to Europe, we must be led to trace the descent of different people in the line of regular procession, and to place the pretensions of the Grecians below any

ground of contest for equality in point of antiquity, with the Hebrews; while indeed there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate the derivation of much of the knowledge of Greece from Egypt and the East.


That the peculiar economy of the Hebrew dispensation, and the miraculous circumstances by which it was introduced and maintained, were calculated to excite considerable attenamong other nations, and that great facilities were opened to other people for such intercourse and communication as might enable them to borrow information from the Jews and their writings, will appear from the slightest retrospect.

It was impossible that the rise and progress of the Hebrew nation should not have engaged the notice of all, who were within reach of the rumour of the chosen people, or who saw that "the Lord had done great things for them," and many of the neighbouring kingdoms indeed felt "the terrors of the Lord fallen 66 upon Some writers suppose themselves." Job to allude to the Israelites in the twelfth chapter and twenty-fourth verse of his book, describing them as "the chief people of the "earth," with reference possibly to the Divine favour which they experienced.

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