« AnteriorContinuar »
SECT. III. - The high antiquity of Egypt proved from scripture :-And from the
ancient Greek historians, supported and confirmed by scripture. In the course of
this inquiry the rise and progress of the art of medicine is treated of and explained, 1 SECT. IV.–The high antiquity of Egypt proved from their hieroglyphics. Their
sature, original, and various kinds, explained. Proved to be the original of the art bí voeirocritic, or interpretation of dreams, and likewise of brute worship. In this irquiry is contained the history of the various modes of information by speech and writing: and of the various modes of ancient idolatry, in the order they arose from coe another,
23 SECT. V.-Sir Isaac Newton's chronology of the Egyptian empire confuted, and
stawn to contradict all sacred and profane antiquity, and even the nature of things.
Greek history and mythology are inquired into and explained,
nelites violently inclined to all their superstitions. That the ritual law was insti-
138 Notes on the Fourth Book,
TTRE STATE PROVED NOT TO BE IN, NOR TO MAKE PART OF, THE MOSAIC DISPENSA
jertions of deists, or from the rabbins,- or from the cabalists, concerning the
ble atrous world-Vindicated from the calumnious falsehoods of the poet Voltaire, . 235 SēCT. II.-Proves the Jewish government to be a theocracy.—This form shown to
te beressary: there being no other, by which opinions could be justly punished by ravil laws: and without such laws against idolatry, the Mosaic religion could not be Hupported. The equity of punishing opinions under a theocracy, explained. Bayle renarred.– Foster confuted. The theocracy easily introduced, as founded on a prerailing notion of tutelary deities.-An objection of Mr Collins to the truth of revelacun examined and confuted.—The easy introduction of the theocracy, it is shown, rasioned as easy a defection from the laws of it. — The inquiry into the reason of this beads to an explanation of the nature of the Jewish idolatry. - Lord Bolingbroke's tikation of the law of Moses examined and exposed,
. 215 SECT. III.-Treats of the duration of the theocracy.-Shown to have continued till
the coming of Christ. The arguments of Spencer and Le Clerc to the contrary eramined. The prophecy of Shiloh explained: the bishop of London's discourse upon it examined and confuted,
280 (T. IV.–The consequences of a theocracy considered. Shown that it must be
administered by an extraordinary providence, equally dispensing temporal rewards sad punishments, both to the community and to particulars.—That scripture gives *bia representation of God's government. And that there are many favourable cirrum tances in the character of the Jewish people, to induce an impartial examiner to believe that representation to be true,
SECT. V.-Shows, that as temporal rewards and punishments were the proper sane-
tion of the Jewish law, so, there were no other; Moses entirely omitting the doc-
-Proved from the books of the Old Testament,
APPENDIX and Notes to the Fifth Book,
CONTAINS AN EXAMINATION OF ALL THE TEXTS BROUGHT FROM THE OLD AND NEW
TESTAMENTS TO PROVE A FUTURE STATE OF REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS DID MAKE
PART OF THE MOSAIC DISPENSATION,
SECT. I.–States the question,-shows the adversaries of this work to have much
mistaken it.-And that the true state of the question alone is a sufficient answer to
—first from the book of Joh_which is proved to be an allegoric poem, written on
signify, in their literal sense, the hopes of a temporal deliverance only,
ment, in which the nature of the apostolic reasonings against the errors of Jewish
converts is explained and illustrated,
sation, with the Seventh Article of the church of England evinced.—That the old
the infidel objections against the truth of this part of Abraham's history,
of typical rites and secondary senses in prophecies are inquired into, -In the course
APPENDIX and Notes on the Sixth Book,
BEING AN ATTEMPT TO EXPLAIN THE TRUE NATURE AND GENIUS OF THE CHRISTIAN
DIVINE LEGATION OF MOSES
BOOK IV. CONTINUED.-SECT. III.
The first proposition is, that the Egyptian learning, celebrated in scripture, and the Egyptian superstition there condemned, were the very learning and superstition represented by the Greek writers as the honour and opprobrium of that kingdom.
To prove this, I shall in the first place show, both by external and internal evidence, the just pretensions which Egypt had to a superior antiquity: and then examine the new hypothesis of Sir Isaac NEWTON against that antiquity.
It is confessed on all hands, that the Greek writers concur in representing Egypt as one of the most ancient and powerful monarchies in the world. In support of what they deliver, we may observe, that they have given a very particular account of the civil and religious customs in use from the most early times of memory: customs of such a kind, as show the followers of them to have been most polite and powerful.Thus stands the Grecian evidence.
But to this it may be replied, that the Greeks are, in all respects, incompetent witnesses, and carry with them such imperfections as are suffcient to discredit any evidence; being, indeed, very ignorant, and very prejudiced. As this made them liable to imposition: so, falling, as we shall see, into ill hands, they actually were imposed on.
Their ignorance may be fairly collected from their age; and from the authors of their intelligence. They all lived long after the times in question; and, though they received indeed their information from Egypt itself; yet, for the most part, it was not till after the entire destruction of that ancient empire, and when it was now become a province, in succession, to Asiatic and European conquerors: when their ancient and public records were destroyed; and their very learning and genius changed to a conformity with their Grecian masters: who would needs, at this time of day, seek wisdom from Egypt, which could but furnishi them with their own; though, because they would have it so, disguised under the stately obscurity of an Eastern cover.*
See Div. Leg. book iii. Sect. 4. VOL. II.
Nor were their prejudices less notorious. They thought themselves Autocthones, the original inhabitants of the earth, and indebted to none for their advantages. But when knowledge and acquaintance with foreign nations had convinced them of their mistake; and that, so far from owing nothing to others, they owed almost every thing to Egypt; their writers, still true to their natural vanity, now gave the post of honour to these, which they could no longer keep to themselves; and complimented their new instructors with the most extravagant antiquity. What the Greeks conceived out of vain-glory, the Egyptians cherished—to promote a trade. This country was long the mart of knowledge for the eastern and western world: and as nothing so much recommends this kind of commodity as its age, they set it off by forged records, which extended their history to a most unreasonable length of time: accounts of these have been conveyed to us by ancient authors, and fully confuted by the modern. Thus stands the objection to the Grecian evidence. And, though I have no business to determine in this question, as the use I make of the Greek authority is not at all affected by it; yet I must needs confess that, were there no writings of higher antiquity to confirm the Grecian, their testimony would be very doubtful : but, could writings of much higher antiquity be found to contradict it, they would deserve to have no credit at all.
Whatever therefore they say of the high antiquity of Egypt, unsupported by the reason of the thing, or the testimony of holy scripture, shall never be employed in this inquiry: but whatever reason and scripture seem to contradict, whether it serve the one or other purpose, I shall always totally reject.
The unanimous agreement of the Greek writers in representing Egypt as the most ancient and best policied empire in the world, is, as we say, generally known and acknowledged.
1. Let us see then, in the first place, what REASON says on this matter.
There is, if I be not much mistaken, one circumstance in the situation of Egypt, which seems to assert its claim to a priority amongst the civilized nations; and consequently to its eldership in arts and arms.
There is no soil on the face of the globe so fertile, but what, in a little time, becomes naturally effete by pasturage and tillage. This, in the early ages of the world, forced the unsettled tribes of men to be perpetually shifting their abode. For the world lying all before them, they saw a speedier and easier relief in removing to fresh ground, than in turning their thoughts to the recovery* of the fertility of that already spent by occupation: for it is necessity alone to which we are indebted for all the artificial methods of supplying our wants.
Now the plain of Egypt having its fertility annually restored by the periodic overflowings of the Nile, they, whom chance or choice had once directed to sit down upon its banks, had never after an occasion to
* See note E, at the end of this book.