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to be the true one, and consequently most reasonable to be admitted. .
As to the Particulars contained in the ensuing Volume, I must submit them to the Reader: I hope they may be received with the Candour that has been shewed to my former Volumes: What is now published might have been more various and entertaining, had it reached down to an Age that could have afforded more matter of prophane History to be interspersed in it: But divers of the Scripture Occurrences herein treated of, were not to be passed over cursorily, and the entring into these more largely . obliged me to conclude this Volume something short of the Period at which I proposed to my self to end it. I am abundantly sensible of the Obligations I am under to many of my Superiors for the Reputation they give me by their Favour. The truly Great find a real Pleasure in. cherishing any well-intended Endeavours of their. Inferiors : And if my Abilities, as an Author, were equal to the Gratitude and Inclination of my Mind, I should well deserve the Countinuance of that good Opinion which many Persons, who are in Sations above my being otherwise known to them, are pleased to conceive of me themselves, and to create of me in others : But I am afraid I should appear guilty of an Act of Vanity rather than of Gratitude, If I were to proceed in Intiinations of this Nature, or to say, how much the Right Honourable Mr. O ŇS LOW, the Speaker of the House of COMMONS, has been a Patron of my Studies in this manner.
My Thanks are acknowledged to be due to a learned Divine of a foreign University, Mr. Wolle of Leipfick, and also to Mr. Arnold Professor of the English and French Tongues there, for my
Reputation in their Country. I am sorry I am not able to read the Translation of my Books, which the one of them has some Years ago published in the German Tongue, and the very learned Dissertation prefixed to that Translation by the other. Hopes were at one time given me of seeing this Dissertation in English, and from the short Extract of it in our Republick of Letters (0), I cannot but think I should have Satisfaction in every part of it, except in that which relates to my own Character. I have not those Abilities, which this learned Divine ascribes to me: I may have been happy in the Choice of a Subject, which, if I could manage fuitably, might' afford a Work very useful even to the learned World. I can only endeavour to go thro' it with as much Attention as my Situation in Life will allow me ; but am able to perform no Part of it without many Imperfections. My Procedure in it must be by now Steps ; being obliged many times to lay aside my Studies upon account of Avocations, which in my Circumstances must be attended to, and of. tentimes to defer, or intirely to drop Subjects that might be considered, as I can or cannot get a Sight of Books that would conduct my Enquiries. However, If I find my Endeavours continue acceptable to the Publick, I shall, as soon as I can, in one Volume more, offer the remaining Part of this Undertaking.
fo) Republick of Letters for September, 1731.
· The Sacred and PROPHANE HISTORY 4. Of the WORLD Conne£ted.
nos ES and the Israelites joined in a N AS Song of Thanksgiving for their DeVA liverance from the Egyptians (a),
after which they moved from the Red-Sea into the Wilderness of Shur (6): They wandered three Days in the Wilderness and could find no Water (c): at Marab they found Water, but could not drink it, for it was bitter (d); And the People murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Lord, and the Lord bewed bim a Tree, which when he had cast into the Waters, the Wac
(a) Exodus xv. (6) Ver. 22. (c) Syncell. Chron. p. 128.
ters were made fweet (e). We are informed (f) that God at this Time gave Moses fome particular Command, and proved him, or made trial of his Obedience; for this must be the Sense of the Place: Our English Translators have evidently mistaken the Words of MoJes: They render the Passage, There He made for THEM a Statute, and an Ordinance, and there be proved THEM. This Translation seems to hint, that some Laws were here given to the Israelites, and that they were the Persons here proved; but the Commentators are at a loss to ascertain any Laws given at this Time (g): If we attend to the Hebrew Text, the
Affix used by Moses does not signify THEM, but HIM, and Mofes himself was the Person here applied to, and not the Israelites, and the Statute and Ordinance here given was to him, and not to them; and this agrees with the 26 Verse, where the Text is justly translated, not, If Yé will hearken; but, If THOU wilt diligently bearken, &c. When the Ifraelites were got over the Red-Sea, We do not read, that The Pillar of the Cloud and of Fire wene before them into the Wilderness of Shur: Moses very probably led them thither, without any special Direction from God; They travelled here three Days without Water ; and when they found. Water, ic was bitter, and they could not drink it : In their Distress they murmured, and Mofes prayed to God for Affiltance: God accepted his Prayer, and gave him
(2) Exodus xv. 25. (f) Ver. 26. (8) See Pool's Synops, in loc:
[chok ve Misspat], a special Order and Appointment what to do ; namely, to take a Bough from a Tree which he was directed to, and to put it into the Waters, and by this He proved or tried him (b); He gave him an Opportunity to thew his Readiness strictly to perform whatever Orders should be injoined him ; and hereupon God promised him, that if He would thus punctually observe all his Appointments, that then He would continually extricate him out of every Difficulty.
We read of no Place called Marah in the Prophane Authors; for indeed the Ifraelites gave the Place this Name, because the Waters they found here were bitter, the Word Marah in their Language signifying to be bitter; but the best Heathen Writers agree, that there were Lakes of bitter Waters, in the Parts where the Ifraelites were now travelling: Diodorus informs us, that chere were such Waters at some little Distance from the City Arfinoe (i), Strabo says the same Thing (k), and Pliny carries on Trajan's River from the Nile
(b) We meet many Instances in the Scriptures of God's appointing Perfons applying to him for Favours, to do some Aet as a Proof of their intire submission and obedience to him. Jacob was ordered to use peeled Rods, Gen. xxx. Naaman to wash in the River Jordan, 2 Kings y. And in Exodus xvi. the Israelites were proved in this manner. They were ordered to gather of the Manna a certain Rate every Day, that God might prove them, whether they would walk in his Law or no: Thus was Moses here proved, he was ordered to put a Bough into the Water; a Thing in it self infiga nificant, but his doing it teftified bis Readiness to observe any Injunction which God foould think fit to give him. (i) Diodor. Sic. 1. 3. p. 120. (k) Strabo, Geog. 1. 17. p. 804.
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