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is of a healthy complexion, and thrives better than panegyric ; and as it has been said of a hog*, that his soul is given him instead of salt, to keep him from stinking, so what is called secret history will preserve even a slovenly performance from decaying, longer than one would imagine : but now this work would be little known, if Bayle, and Le Clerc, and others had not chastised it, in which, perhaps, they did it too much honour. Jurien by treating Grotius as an infidel, went to work like a bungler, for Est ars etiam maledicendi, as Joseph Scaliger said upon a like occasion, and it requires something of a hand to throw dirt. Bossuet, though he did not fight with such weapons as Jurieu, yet attacked Grotins, as a dangerous author and a Socinian, and made remarks upon him which are mere declamation and verbiage. It is one thing to be bishop of Meaux, and another thing to be Hus
go Grotius :
ου και ένα μέσοισι κείται
Τώπιτυχόντι φέρειν ή. Calmet, if I remember right, has also treated Grotius in the same manner. Grotius was inclined to think and to judge rather too favourably than too hardly of the church of Rome ; for which some of the ecclesiastics of that communion have repaid him with the gratitude that was to be expected, and have taught by-standers, that he who endeavours to stroke a tiger into good humour, will at least have his fingers bitten off in the experiment.
Cicero De Nai. Deor. ii. 64.
Ardua dona Musarum
Herodotus is of opinion that divination and oracles bad their rise in Egypt, and thence came into Afric and Greece, and that the oracle at Dodona was the most ancient in Greece. L. ii. The opinion is very 'probable, for Egypt was the nursery of idolatry and superstition. Homer mentions the temple of Jupiter at Dodona, and that of Apollo at Pytlo, or Delphi, as being illustrious in the time of the Trojan war, and represents the latter as immensely rich. 11. 11. 233. I, 404.
Herodotus shews us the great authority of oracles, from ancient times down to his own, by which kingdoms were disposed of, and war and peace were made. He relates that the Heraclidæ, who, before Gyges, reigned in Lydia, at Sardes, obtained the kingdom by an oracle, and that Gyges, who slew his master Candaules, had the kingdom adjudged to him by the Delphic oracle, which favour he rewarded by sending thither large gifts. Herodotus every where speaks of oracles, divination, and prodigies, as one who firmly believed in them, and who was displeased with those that slighted them. See viii. 77. He gives us there an oracle of Bacis, in which there is a remarkable expression, and in the style of the Scriptures,
Δία δίκη σβέσσει κρατερόν κόρον, ύβριος Τόν.
Compescet juvenem meritissima pæna superbum. as Psalm dxxxix, 22.-nor the son of wickedness afflict him. 2 Sam. vii. 10. neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them. Judas is called the son of perdition, John xvii. 12, where see Grotius. · Herodotus also relates prophetic dreams which were said to have been accomplished, as the dream of Cræsus, of Astyages, and of others. Having travetiell, says Prideaux, through Egypt, Syria, and several other
countries, countries, in order to the writing of his history, he did, as travellers used to do, he put down relations upon trust, as he met with them, and no doubt was imposed upon in ma
ny of them.
Van Dale, in his book De Oraculis, observes, that the Oracular temples were usually situated in mountainous places, which abounded with caverns fitted for frauds. That the oracles were delivered only at stated times. That at Delphi, the priestess had priests, prophets, and poets, to take down, and explain, and mend her gibberish ; which served to justify Apollo from the imputation of maķing bad verses, for if they were defective, the fault was laid upon the amanuensis : That the consulters sometimes wrote their requests, and received answers in writing : That the priests had the art of opening letters, and closing them again with: out breaking the seal : That the adyta, whence the oracles were delivered, were shaded with branches, and clouded with incense, to help the fraud : That in the temples sweet smells were suddenly diffused, to shew that the god was in good humour: That there are drugs, herbs, and fumigations which will make a man foam at the mouth, and be delirious, and that the priestess might use such methods : That it might also sometimes be grimace and artifice : Thas the god sonetimes gave answers himself, by a voice, or by the mo: tion of his statue, fc. This is what I had to offer concerning divination, and prophecy in general, the Sibylline oracles excepted, which shall be examined apart.
The prophecies relating to our Saviour, and to Chris, tianity, have some of them a mixture of obscurity, and the interpretations which have been given of them are yarious : but this ought to be matter neither of won,
der, nor of offence, because in the nature of things it cannot be otherwise.
It were indeed to be wondered, if obscurity should not lie
upon some of the prophecies, the latest whereof was written at the distance of above two thousand years ago.
Prophetic writings, besides what is common to them with other writings, to grow dark with age, have something peculiar in their nature to render them less intelligible. Prophecies, remote from the time of their accomplishment, and whose completion depends on the concurrence of free agents, are not wont to be delivered very distinctly at first. The obscurity becomes greater, from the language wherein they are written. The Hebrew, as other Eastern languages, is entirely different from the European. Many things are there left to be supplied by the quickness of the reader's apprehension, which are with us expressed by proper words and repetitions. Particles disjunctive and adversative, significative marks of connexion and of transia tion from one subject to another are often omitted here. Dialogues are carried on, objections answered, comparisons made, without notice in the discourse; and through frequent change of persons, tenses, and numbers, we are left to guess who are the persons spoken of, which gave no difficulty to them whose living language it was.
The prophetic style is of all other the most copious this way. It seems to be a sort of language by itself. It ties itself to no order or method, but passes from one subject to another insensibly, and suddenly resumes it again, and often sallies out to the main thing that was intended in the prophet's thoughts. The prophets used to act part of what they were to foretell: those actions supplying the place of words, and being not expressed in the writing, a sort of chasm is sometimes to be discerned in them; as at other times, different discourses, or addresses, distinguishable in the
speaking, by proper signs and motions, seem now to be connectel, thongh they have no relation to each other.
What increases the difficulty, is the little or no order that the collectors have placed the prophecies in, according to the usage of the ancients, who joined together writings upon different occasions, of the same authors, and sometimes of different authors, as if they made but one continued discourse.
The mistake might have been in some measure prevented, had the books written by the Jews, after their return from the Babylonian captivity, remained to our days—But these helps fail us, and not one book writ in the Hebreo tongue, since prophecy ceased, hath escaped the general calamity that hath befallen the Jewish writings. Bp. Chandler Introd. to Defense of Christian.
Orutio Jesuire sic est constructa, ut de illius arte, elegantia, érepycía, pondere, nihil tam magnificum cogitari ac dici possit, quin sit infra ejus meritum.-Sed idipsum est, quod interpretem multis in locis impedit, ejusque, studiosi etiam et bonis subsidiis instructi, diligentiam ac judicium valde exercet. Imo vero censeo, nullius mortalis, licet in Hebræis literis docte versuti, tantum esse acumen, peritiam, perspicaciam, ut Prophetæ nostro longe pluribus locis reldere potuerit genuinum suum sensum, nisi Lectio antiqua Synagogica per traditionem in Scholis Hebreorum fuisset conservata, ut eum nunc Masoretharum punctulis expressum habemus. Vitringa, Præfat. ad Jesaiam.
Il y a dans les Prophetes beaucoup de mots trèsobscurs, qui pouvoient étre clairs autrefois, que la langue Hebraïque étoit florissante. Il y a encore plus de la construction et la liaison du discours ne sont pas faciles à déveloper, et où l'on ne voit pas bien ce que les Prophetes ont voulu dire. Les allusions fréquentes à des choses, qui nous sont inconnues, soit à l'égard des Juifs, soit