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progenitors of his people, so that we can receive no light from him at all here. Moreover, which is very worthy of attention, even the manuscript copies of the Vulgate version itself do not accord about the number of them who perished on the occasion, if we may credit those who have had access to their inspection. For they finform us, that some of them read, twenty-three thousand, and some, thirty-three thousand; wherefore many eminent divines of the church of Rome, disregard its account thereof altogether, looking upon it as corrupted here, among whom are Arias Montanus, Cajetan, and Vatablus. Nay, in the Complutensian and Paris Polyglotts, which were printed under the direction of the learn, ed in its communion, the Latin text itself exhibits three thousand, as the total amount of those that were destroyed, either from a reverence of the original, supported as the genuineness of its reading is, in the manner already mentioned, or from a preference of the authority of some manuscript of the Vulgate which did read so, but is now lost or unknown. This Bochart Iobferves, who also conjectures, that the old Italic version which Jerome reformed, read three thousand, because Ambrose of Milan, who
+ Pol. Synopsis Criticorum, in locum.
† Hieroz. p. 1. lib. 2 cap. 34. But his opinion about the reading of the Italic version appears very uncertain, since Ambrose might bor. row his account from the septuagint, as it is plain he understood Greek, from his appeal to the Greck copies of the New Testament, against some who pretended that the Latin ones were falsified and vitiated, which the excellent Dr. Lardner hath remarked, Credib. part 2. vol. 9 page 255. And any other Latin writers, whom Bochart quotes for a like reading of the text, lived after Gregory the Great, who read twenty-three thousand,
flourished about the year of Christ 370, in his letter to Regulus, calls the slain for the calf no more, Upon the whole, Voltaire hath no authority for thus swelling the number of the persons that were killed by the Levites, in obedience to Moses's order, but the Vulgate version, in opposition to the Hebrew and Samaritan texts, and * all antient translators, although that is likewise various in its readings here, instead of uniform and consistent, and therefore abandoned by Popish writers themselves, of the greatest name and reputation. And is not this very
dir ingenuous dealing, to cavil at the sacred books upon the credit of this one version, which is modern in comparison of some others, differs in its own representation of the fact in the manuscript copies which are extant of it, and is so undeniably confuted by every critical argument which can have place here? Whether the number of twenty-three thousand was first introduced into this translation by an accidental mistake of some transcriber, or whether it was first
* It may be proper to take notice here, that the authors of the An, tient Universal History, 8vo, vol. 3. page 414. say in a note, ' Some
copies of the Vulgate and Seventy read twenty thousand, and others
thirty. three thousand.' while at the same time they justify the num. ber three thousand, by this among other reasons, that it is hardly probable the Levites could make a greater Naughter in so short a time, viz. before Moses, by his intercession obtained the pardon of the guilty. But as there is a typographical mistake in the number twenty thousand here, which accordingly is in the folio edition twenty three thousand, so I suppose it must be admitted an error in them altogether, to mention the Seventy as reading either of the ways. At least, Bos has marked no different reading in the Greek copies from the received one opoo xiring three thousand, except tpeis Xornadas, which hath the same meaning with that other expression.
foisted in with intention, by some warm zealot, as
Of his making, in chapter forty-third, God direct
Ezekiel to cover his bread with human excrement, and thereafter with the excrement of oxen.
ANOTHER instance of misrepresentation, in which Mr. Voltaire hath, at least feemeth to have, the authority of the Vulgate, occurs in the forty-third chapter of his Philosophy of History. Speaking of Ezekiel, he says, t'He is to eat bread made of wheat,
barley, beans, lentiles, millet, and to cover it with human excrements. Thus, said he, will the chil
dren of Israel eat their bread besmeared with those • nations among whom they shall be driven. But af
ter having eat this bread of sorrow, God allows him
to cover it with only the excrement of oxen.' And he dwells on this again in his Philosophical Dictionary;
so delightful is the subject to him, and so confident is he of the truth of his account! | Several † Page 209.
# Page 163, article Ezekiel,
critics cannot be reconciled to the order given him ! by the Lord, that during 390 days he should eat
barley, wheat, and millet bread besmeared with • man's dung. Then said the prophet, « Ah Lord “ God, behold my soul hath not hitherto been pol“ luted.” And the Lord answered, “ Well, instead “ of man's excrements, I allow thee cow dung, and “ thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith.” As it is $ not customary with us to eat bread with such mar,
malade, these orders to the generality of men appear unworthy of the divine majesty.'
That Ezekiel should be commanded to mix much of the coarser and meaner kinds of grain, with a little of the finer and richer fort, by which means the stock would continue longer unexhausted, to fignify the scarcity which the inhabitants of Jerusalem should labour under, and the unpalatable fare they should be reduced to submit to, during the fiege, we wonder not. But we are shocked at his being bid cover his bread with human excrements, to represent that the children of Israel should eat their bread befineared with those nations
whom they should in their captivity reside; and at his being only indulged, upon his importunity against the use hereof, with the excrements of oxen or cows in their room, after he had ate so abominable and loathsome food, which is Mr. Voltaire's tale, at least in one place.
Is this, however, the necessary or reasonable import of the divine direction at first, and allowance afterward, to the prophet, that he should feed upon bread having either such an ingredient in its composition, or (for the reader mult pardon the offen
siveness of the idea as Voltaire's) such marmalade spread over it? Not at all. The Vulgate * indeed favours it: and it is, perhaps, the most obvious sense even of our English version,t that ordure should be wrought into the mass or dough from which the cakes were to be made: but the original may, nay ought to be interpreted, only to denote, that excrements should be used for fuel, in baking his bread, instead of coals, wood, turf, or like things. For as Jy gnug signifies not to cover, but to bake, whence its derivatives are always rendered, cakes, so it is certain the prefix beth in 5502 begaleli, may be turned upon, as it is with frequency I; in which way the command of God will run, v. 12. 'And as to it, (the cake) thou shalt bake it upon human ex
crements;' the fame being dried, shall be employed to make a fire, over which thou shalt harden thy bread. And this again will agree to verse 152 where the word y gnal occurs, which signifies most commonly upon, || and is fo rendered by our translators themselves, where there is mention of the fuel
• Vulg. verf. Ezek. iv. 12. 'Et stercore-operies illud. -1.15. Et facies
panem tuum in eo.' + It stands thus, iv. 1 2. Thou shalt bake the bread with dung that cometh out of man in their sight.-—. 15. ‘Lo I have given thee cow's dung for man's dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread therewith.'
# In this way it is turned in Gen. xxxvii. 34. 'He put fackcloth upon his loins. Levit. xx. 9. ' His blood shall be
him.' Neh, ii. 12. “The beast upon which I rode.' Psal. cxix. 135. 'Make thy ' face to shine upon thy servant.'
| See Gen. xix. 23. xlvii. 31. Levit. xvi. 21. Num. iv. 11. 1s. Judg. vii. 6. 2 Sam. iv. 7. 2 Kings, iv. 34. Pf. xxix, 3.