페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

is this that presumes to judge the Almighty, and darkens Counsel by Words without Knowledge ?

Besides, as Man's falling into Sin brought Death into the World, it is evident that not Longevity, but Immortality had been the Portion of Mati, if his Fall had not prevented it; and when he was fall’n, it had been no Reflection upon the Wildom of God if he had died immediately, and the whole Race had been extinct, according to his Threatning : We know that he was driven out of Eden, and if God had had the same regard for the rest of the Earth, I am apt to believe Pbilo-Hiftoricus had never lived in it. What then was the Design of God in delaying to execute his jutt deserved Sentence so long ? I believe that he spared Man that he might have a fifficient Time to make his Peace with him, and lay hold upon that second Corenant which he had been graciously pleased to make with him; and perhaps he spared him so long, that he might feel in his own Body the Miseries that his Sins had brought upon himn; in both which we may behold the Goodness and Severity of God, in all whose Ways Wisdom shines ineffably bright; but we, foort-ligbted Mortals, who cannot comprehend the ALMIGHTY, nor his Works, ought not to say, that this he did for this Reason only, or he was not Wise.

But that Philo may see his own Weakness, I would have him look into his own reasonable, moderate Arithmetical Progreffion, there he will find, if he strikes out the last 400 Years, and takes the sum of all the Souls thac might have been brought into the World before ; I say, there he will find, according to his own Computation, that there might be but 2,222,222 Souls in the World, A. M. 1200, even suppofing that never a Soul had departed out of it. Now, was it consistent with the Wisdom of God, that there might not be two Millions and a quarter of Souls in the World in the Year 1200, and yet is it inconsistent with the same Wiļdom, that there should be no more than near fix times as many in but 456 Years after? Who but this Gentleman can think so ?

Your Correspondent's Observation, what a prodigious Progeny Jacob might have seen, if he had lived 900 Years, is nothing at all to the Purpose, because Experience has assured us, that there is but about 3a Years, at a moderate Reckoning, between one Generation and another, in the Ages since the Flood; and by comparing the several Instances that Moses gives us of the Times preceding it

, we Tall find that there was above 100 Years difference before : So that Jacob might have lived 900 Years before the Flood, and yet not have seen but 8 9

Generations ; but if he had lived 900 Years after, he must have seen, at least, 30, in many particular Branches of his own Family.

He says, The reason of the great increase of the Israelites, in Egypt, was their living in Peace and Quiet, and free from Wars and other Calamities. -- Yes, witness God himself, I have jurely seen the Affliction of my People which aro in Egypt, and have heard their Cry, for I know their Sorrows. The Cry of the Children of Israel is come unto me, and I have aljo seen the Oppressions wherewith the Egyptians oppress themii,

Witness likewise the Command of Pharaob to the Hebrew Midwives, Kill every Son, Exod. i. 16. and to all his People, Cast every Son into the River, Exod. i. 22. If he says that their great Multiplication was before this, let Mofes answer him; The more obey afflicted them the more they multiplied and grew, Exodus i. 12.

He

or

Exodus ii. 7.9.

vid 14.

He that can contradict all this Evidence, will certainly carp at any thing.

He says, the Reason why the Children of Israel were decreased in the Wilderness was, because they were entered into a new ji ate of Life, and were cut off by War and Famine, &c. Moses, who gives us a particular Account of the Travels of the Israelites thro' the Desert, lets us know, that there were very few Nain in War, and not one died by Famine: They were indeed deitroyed by sundry Plagues, for their Rebellion against God; and

yet if we consider, that there were but two Men in their Camp above 40 Years old, when they entered into Canaan, and that there were at least 100000 above that Age at their coming out of Egypt; I say, if we cousidet this, we shall find there had been a valt Increase of Persons, under 40 Years of Age, in the Camp of I/rael in the Wilderness.

As the Examples he talks of (p. 266. E.) are but Chimeras, fo his Observation from thence must needs be as Impertinent, and therefore not worth notice. But he has discovered a great Mistake in me, in that I have said, there was just the same Number of Generations from Adam to the Flood, as there was from Abraham to David: Where, says he, 'tis evident he has not examined the Scriptures well; because the Generatis ers from Adam to the Flood were but 10, and those from Abraham to Da.

-One would have thought a Person, who had charged another with a Miftake, had taken special Care not to be Mistaken himself in the very fame Article. But so it is ; for Noah was the tenth from Adam, and his Sons, Shem, Ham and Japhet, werc torn near 100 Years before the Flood, Gen. v. 32. and vii

. i1. so that there was in the Line of Noah eleven Generations before the Flood, and not ten as he supposes: And considering that Noah had none of these Sons till he was 500 Years old, might not I very well, by comparing the several Instances given by Moses, and taking the mean length of the Antediluvian Generations : I say, might not I compute that there were three Generations between the Birih ef Noah and his three Sons, and this would make just 14 Generations ; so that, perhaps, fome People will think I had examined this Scripture better than Philo-Hiftoricus. And a Computation from Abraham to David is certainly the best way to find out what Number the Inhabitants before the Flood could not poslibly exceed; provided it be granted (which I am sure cannot reasonably be denied) that the Fathers before the Flood had not more Children than they have had fince. I don't know what the Gentleman means by saying, I am partial in my Calcälatior ; I am sure it is wholly my own, and how a Man can properly be said to be partial where no body is concerned but himself, is quite beyond my Comprehcnfion.

He says, that the Generations before the Flood evere not subject to be waffed and diminished by Wars, &c. like the Family of Abraham. Mojes bas assured us, that the Earth coas filled evith Violence, and as there were then no Civil Magistrates ordained to punish Evil-doers, it is highly probable that the Giants did more Mischief in the World, till the Flood overwhelmed them, than all the Wars, &c. in which the House of Abrabam had been concerned, till the Days of David.

After he had rambled away from his Subjcê, to Egypt, Canaan, and I know not whither, he returns to it, and quotes Mr. Derham, in the same maaner as I thould do a place of Scripture, without giving so much as one

Realon

[ocr errors]

But as

[ocr errors]

Reason for his Opinion ; and indeed I think he ought to have chosen this
Quotation for his Text, since 'tis plain he has gathered his first Head
from it, tho'I must confess I can't but think him an indifferent
Preacher.

I have, by several Instances from Scripture, supported my Opinion, that the Fathers before the Flood had not more Children than Mankind have had since : Of these your Correspondent has taken no notice, nor shall I of his Observation, at what Age those fame Fathers begat their first Children, because it is of no Service to his Cause : Only seeing he tells us from josephus, that Lamech of the House of Cain had 77 Children, I'll tell him a stranger Story: In Captain Gulliver's Travels 'tis reported, that there is a certain Iand called Lilliput, where the People are not so big as his Thumb, and that there is another Country called Brobdingnag, where the Inhabitants are as tall as our Spire-Steeples, and that there is a flying Isand called Laputa, &c. If he has not a weak Head, he will allow that the Authority of Dean Swift, is every whit as good as that of Jofephus, in the Instance he has given us.

I now come to examine your Friend's reasonable, moderate, arithmetical Progression. It is founded on this Supposition, viz. That the Fathers before the Flood had their first Children at 65 or 70 Years of Age, and had afterwards one in seven Years, till they were 200, and consequently 20 Children apiece. It is evident therefore, that there was, according to this Suppofition, a second Generation begun in the eldest Children at the Year 65 or 70 of their Fathers Age; yet notwithstanding this, the Computation proceeds upon this Suppolition, viz. That there was 200 Years between one Generation and another, and consequently that all the 20 Children were born at a Slap at the End of 200 Years ; then it allows 65 or 70 Years to the Birth of their first Children, and so proceeds to contradi& it self as before. What can be gathered from such Itupid inconsistent Stuff as this? I would have him to take notice, that there has lately appeared in the Magazine, a certain ingenious Gentleman who lives in Crown-Court, Long-Alley near Upper-Moorfields, to whom if he will please to resort, I make no doubt but he will soon put him into a better Method of Computing, before he attacks

Your bumble Servant

R. Y.

SIR,

1 Perceive your ingenious Correspondent (p.28.) differs from me chiefly

concerning Ojarsiphus, and the Destruction of Sennacherib's Army. Of these therefore in their Order.

He observes, that one Hypothesis is as good as another, where no prevailing Reasons can be align'd' to determine the Judgment cither way. I agree with him, but then he is greatly mistaken, in thinking my chief Reajon for taking Afa for Ojarsiphus, is from the Similitude of the Names ; if he will pleale to turn to Gent. Mag. Vol. VII. p. 140, 141. he will find it proved (I think beyond Contradiction) that the Pofterity of Abraham were the Shepherds, and not the Canaanites and Philistines, as Sir I.N. had asserted.' This being premised, it will follow, that a King of these

F

Shepherds

[ocr errors]

Shepherds must be one of the Posterity of Abraham; and seeing Ofarfiphaes was Contemporary with Ajn, who, we are sure, did, at that very Time, conquer Part of the lower Egypt, who fo likely to be Olarsiphus as Aja himself, whose Names (I said) are as near as Sefoftris and Selac? Thus, Sir, I defend my Hypothesis, and, before your Friend can overturn it, he must prove (which I am sure he never can) that the Hebrews were not the Shepherds, but the Philistines and Canaanites.

But how then can I clear up that of Manetho, who says that Ofarsiphus was an Egyptian Priet. I hope your Friend will not insist on a clear Light in the midst of so much Obscurity ; but seeing the Scripture has informed us that Aja entirely defeated the Ethiopians, that they could not recover themselves, and that he smote all the Cities round about Gerar, 2 Chrox, xiv. 13, 14. I take it for granted that Asa was the Conqueror of the Lower Egypt; and therefore, I think ’tis as clear as any thing of this nature can be, that Manetho has made Ofarsiphus an Egyptian Priest, purely to hide the Dishonour of his Country, that it might not be thought that the Jerus subdued it: So that I conclude still that Ojarsipbus must be Asa, or one of his Subjects, as his Vice-Roy : If it was one of his Subjects and Vice-Roy, then it might be the Sopher or Secretary who had this Honour conferred upon him; for the Sopher we find to be a Person of the highest Dignity in the Court of Jerusalem, and supposing such a Person settled in Egypi, he must have been called by the Jews there, Saulipher, the Prince Secretary, and by the Egyptians, Ofarsipher, or Ofarsiphus. Perhaps the Jews might sometimes call the same honourable Person, The Sar, i. e. The Prince, or President: And hence he might be called in the Greek Tongue Proteus, (for Proteus was in Egypt at the very same time) and this might be the Reason why Proteus is said so often to alter his Shape, because tho’ the Persons were often changed, yet the Name was the same : Perhaps too he might be said to be of common Extraction, because Subjects were advanced to this Dignity. - Be this Conjecture right or wrong, I think still that Ofarsiphus must be Aja, or one of his Subjects.

In opposing my Account of the Philistine Army, your Friend seems to have made three or four Mistakes; he seems to have mistaken the Manner of raising their Armies in Palestine : Their Armies did not confift, like ours, of a few Men listed, or pressed, into the Service ; but every Man in the Kingdom, upward of 20 Years old, was reputed a Soldier. Hence it was that Abijab, King of Judah, was able to bring 500000 Men into the field against Jeroboam, King of lfrael, who had an Army of 800000. Who then can ink, that the Philistine Nation had not abo 65000 Men in it able to bear Arms, when he reads that they were at War with Saul all his Reign, and afterwards fought out David three times to fight with him, tho' as often routed, and tho they knew he was King of all Israel and a great Warrior? I think whoever considers this must conclude, that the Philistines were able to bring, at least, 4 or 500000 Men into the Field.

I think your Friend also mistakes with regard to the Midianites, whose Army, he lays, did not consist of above 135000 Men. The grand Army to be sure did not; but who can think that the Midianites were all in one Body, when the Land was intirely subdued by them? Or that an Army of

135000 Men, living at Discretion in the Enemy's Country, had not a good Number of Forces fent abroad to keep the Country in Subjection, and lay it under Contribution ? Nay, the very History makes it plain, that besides this Army, the Midianites were spread all over the Kingdom ; hence it was, that those who would save any 'Thing from them were forced to hide it, Judg. vi. 11. hence it was, that those who dwelt in the remoteit Parts of the Kingdom, as in Asher and Napthali, when they heard of the Defeat by Gideon, pursu'd after the Midianites, Judg. vii. 23. which otherwise they could not possibly have done : Nay, had it not been thus, it must have been quite too late for Gideon to have sent Melsengers all over Mount Ephraim; or for the Ephramites to have gather'd themselves into one Body, and then to have smitten Oreb and Zeeb with their Armies : These therefore, could not possibly be a Part of the Army pursued by Gideon. For my part I can't doubt but Gideor himself, with his Company, lay upon Jordan, for some time after the grand Army of the Midianites was passed over, to cut off some of thole lesser Bodies that were ftill behind; otherwise how could Zeba and Zalmunna have got beyond the Boder of Israel, before he crossid that River ? There Remarks are enough to satisfy a Person of your Friend's Penetration, and Skill in Geography, that all the Midianites that were then in the Land of Prael were not in one Body. So that tho' the main Army under Zebra and Zalmunna did not exceed 135000, yet those under Orib and Zeeb, and others, might amount to several Hundred Thousands more.

Your Friend also mistakes in saying, that all the Chariots of Israel, in the flourishing Reign of Solomon, did not exceed 1400. The Text speaks of Chariots that were the King's own Property, and not belonging to any of his Subjects ; so that he might as well assert, that because the Scripture says that Solomon kad but 12000 Horsemen, therefore there were but 12000 Hories in his Dominions. Whoever will but reflect upon the Grandeur of this Prince, and that but some of the Nations over which he reigned, were able to send to the Allistance of the Amonites, against his Father, 32000 Chariots, 1 Chron. xix. 7. can't doubt but Solomon was able to raise as many more. What, was Hadare, Zer able to bring into the Field 40000 Horsemen, and could Salomos bring but 12000? The Thing speaks itself. Solomon was certainly a very great King, that could keep 1400 Chariots and 12000 Horsemen at his ozon Expence; but considering the belt of Chariots were bought for the King at about 40 Pounds apiece of our Money, and Horses at 10 Pounds, 2 Cbron. i. 17. we can't doubt but great Numbers of the Ifraelites, in that flourishing Reign, when Silver and Gold was so plentiful, would have them as well as he. And if they were called out to the Wars, and knew how to manage them, no doubt, but they would bring them along with them.

Your Friend says, That Amalek fighting with Ifrael for a whole Days svill do nothing to prove the Number of their Forcesco There might have been something in this, if Israel had fought out Amalek: to fight with him ; but seeing Analek came up to fight against Irael, when he might as well have avoided a Battle, can we think he would have been so foolhardy as to do it, if he had not thought himself able to cope with him. And how could he think himself able to cope with an Army of 600000 Men, unless his own Army was proportionable; and if proportionable, it must have at least

F 2

4 OR,

« 이전계속 »