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agrees with that of Abraham, who is said by Josephus to have taught the Egyptians astronomy and arithmetic, of which sciences they were utterly ignorant before his time (a). The account also given by Berosus of the ten generations between the Creation and the Flood, the preservation of Noah or Xisuthrus in the ark, and the catalogue of his posterity, accord with the Mosaic history. Moses Choronensis, the Armenian historian before referred to, mentioned these and many other circumstances, which equally agree with the narration of Moses; and in particular he confirms the account of the Tower of Babel, from the earliest records belonging to the Armenian nation. In the time of Josephus there was a city in Armenia, which he calls ’Aroßarnpuov, or the place of descent; it is called by Ptolemy, Naxuana ; by Moses Choronensis, Idsheuan ; and at the place itself it was called Nach-idsheuan, which signifies the first place of descent. The city was a lasting monument of the preservation of Noah in the ark, upon the top of that mountain at whose foot it was built, as the first city or town after the Flood (6). Moses Choronensis also says, that another town was related by tradition to have been called Seron, or the place of dispersion, on account of the dispersion of the sons of Xisuthrus from thence (c). Nicolaus of Damascus related, in the fourth book of his history, that Abraham reigned at Damascus (d); that he had come thither as a stranger, with an army, from a country above Babylon, called the Land of the Chaldæans; that after a short time, going thence with
(@) Jos. Ant. lib. 1. cap. 8. The recent discovery of the old Chaldæan sphere seems to place this assertion beyond the possibility of doubt. Vide Maurice's History.
(6) Jos. Ant. lib. 1. cap. 3.
(d) Haran, where Abraham first settled, after he left Ur, was a part of Syria, of which Damascus was afterwards the principal city.
his multitude, he fixed his habitation in a country which was then called Canaan, and now Judæa, where his numerous descendants dwelt, whose history he writes in another book (e). To this enumeration of authorities from the remains of early writings, in which the facts, as related by Moses, may be evidently discerned, although in general they are mixed with fable, many others might be added. And whether we consider the information to be found in the later works of learned men, as derived from the Jewish Scriptures, or from other sources, the credit of the Mosaic history will perhaps be equally established, since they quoted from earlier authors. For let it be remembered, that Josephus appeals to the public records of different nations, and to a great number of books extant in his time, but now lost, as indisputable evidence, in the opinion of the heathen world, for the truth of the most remarkable events related in his history, the earlier periods of which he professes to have taken principally from the Pentateuch.
Of the many traditions according with the Mosaic history, which prevailed among the ancient nations, and which still exist in several parts of the world, the following must be considered as singularly striking (f): That the world was formed from rude and shapeless matter by the spirit of God; that the seventh day was a holy day (g); that man was created perfect, and had the dominion given him over all the inferior animals; that there had been a golden age, when man, in a state of innocence, had open intercourse with heaven ; that when his nature became corrupt, the earth itself underwent a change ;
(e) Jos. Ant. lib. 1. cap. 7.
Many ancient testimonies concerning the observance of the seventh day will be found in Whiston's Josephus, vol. 4. Index Ist, and in Archbishop Usher's Letters.
that sacrifice was necessary to appease the offended gods ; that there was an evil spirit continually endeavouring to injure man, and thwart the designs of the good spirit, but that he should at last be finally subdued, and universal happiness restored, through the intercession of a Medi
that the life of man, during the first ages of the world, was of great length; that there were ten generations previous to the General Deluge; that only eight persons were saved out of the flood, in an ark, by the interposition of the Deity; these, and many other similar opinions, are related to have been prevalent in the ancient world by Egyptian, Phænician, Greek, and Roman au
and it is no small satisfaction to the friends of revealed religion, that this argument has lately received great additional strength from the discovery of an almost universal corresponding tradition, traced up among the nations whose records have been the best preserved, to times even prior to the age of Moses. The treasures of oriental learning, which Mr. Maurice has collected with so much industry, and explained with so much judgment, in his History and Antiquities of India, supply abundance, of incontrovertible evidence for the existence of opinions in the early ages of the world, which perfectly agree with the leading articles of our faith, as well as with the principal events related in the Pentateuch. I must confine myself to a single extract from this interesting author :
Whether the reader will allow or not the inspiration of the sacred writer, his mind on the perusal must be struck with the force of one very remarkable fact, viz. that the names which are assigned by Moses to eastern countries and cities, derived to them immediately from the patriarchs, their original founders, are for the most part the very names by which they were anciently known over all the East; many of them were afterwards translated, with little variation, by the Greeks in their systems of geo
graphy. Moses has traced, in one short chapter (h), all the inhabitants of the earth, from the Caspian and Persian seas to the extreme Gades, to their original, and recorded at once the period and occasion of their dispersion (i).” This fact, and the conclusions from it, which are thus incontrovertibly established by the newly acquired knowledge of the Sanscreet language, were contended for and strongly enforced by Bochart and Stillingfleet, who could only refer to oriental opinions and traditions, as they came to them through the medium of Grecian interpretation. To the late excellent and learned President of the Asiatic Society, we are chiefly indebted for the light recently thrown from the East upon this important subject. Avowing himself to be attached to no system, and as much disposed to reject the Mosaic history, if it were proved to be erroneous, as to believe it, if he found it confirmed by sound reasoning and satisfactory evidence, he engaged in those researches to which his talents and situation were equally adapted; and the result of his laborious inquiries into the chronology, history, mythology, and languages of the nations, whence infidels have long derived their most formidable objections, was a full conviction that neither accident nor ingenuity could account for the very numerous instances of similar traditions, and of near coincidence in the names of persons and places, which are to be found in the Bible, and in ancient monuments of eastern literature (k). Whoever, indeed, is acquainted with the writings of Mr. Bryant and Mr. Maurice, and with the Asiatic Researches published at Calcutta, cannot but have observed, that the accounts of the Creation, the Fall, the Deluge, and the Dispersion of Mankind, recorded by
(h) Gen. chap. 10.
the nations upon the vast continent of Asia, bear a strong resemblance to each other, and to the narrative in the sacred history, and evidently contain the fragments of one original truth, which was broken by the dispersion of the patriarchal families, and corrupted by length of time, allegory, and idolatry. From this universal concurrence on this head, one of these things is necessarily true ; either that all these traditions must have been taken from the author of the book of Genesis, or, that the author of the book of Genesis made up his history from some or all such traditions as were already extant; or lastly, that he received his knowledge of past events by revelation. Were, then, all these traditions taken from the Mosaic history? It has been shown by Sir William Jones and Mr. Maurice, that they were received too generally and too early to make this supposition even possible ; for they existed in different parts of the world in the very age when Moses lived. Was the Mosaic history composed from the traditions then existing ? It is certain that the Chaldæans, the Persians, the most ancient inhabitants of India, and the Egyptians, all possessed the same story; but they had, by the time of Moses, wrapped it up in their own mysteries, and disguised it by their own fanciful conceits; and surely no rational mind can believe, that if Moses had been acquainted with all the mystic fables of the East, as well as of Egypt, he could, out of such an endless variety of obscure allegory, by the power of human sagacity alone, have discovered their real origin; much less, that, from a partial knowledge of some of them, he could have been able to discover the facts which suit and explain them all. His plain recital, however, of the Creation, the Fall, the Deluge, and the Dispersion of Mankind, does unquestionably develope that origin, and bring to light those facts; and it therefore follows, not only that the account is the true one, but, there being no human means of his acquiring the