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most excellent Revelation which Christ has brought to Light by the
I am, Sir, Yours,
Upon PRESCIENCE. Mr. Urban,
June 16. 1738 I
says, in the Magazine for April lalt, p. 185. with regard to the Difpute about Prescience, “ That the Queition which ought to be debated is, “ whether there is such a thing in Nature as absolute Uncertainty;" Buts on the other hand, I must be of Opinion, that he has chosen the wrong side of it, and therefore was in hopes of finding, in your last Magazine, the other side defended by some of your Ingenious Correspondents ; but since it was not, I have ventured, for once, to undertake that Task, if it be not taken off my hands by some abler Person, to whom I am very ready to resign it.
It must be acknowledged that this Gentleman has made the most of his Argument; but yet I think it inconclusive, because tho' some things are uncertain to us, it does not follow they are so to God; which I think is all that can be concluded from the two well-chosen Instances which he has produc'd : Two Tickets are thrown into a Bag, the Person who draws, 'tis true, knows not which to chuse, but he who made and difposes of the Tickets does; he knows likewise which he would have him to chase, and privately directs his Choice accordingly; which does not therefore cease to be Choice still, he insensibly guides his Hand to the Ticket, or brings the Ticket to his Hand. So for the other Instance : The Gamelter knows not which Side of the Piece of Money is uppermost, because his Sight is intercepted by the Candlestick; but does the Gentleman conceive so grofly of God, as to think bis Sight cannot pierce thro* such an Obstacle? As it surely does, He may influence him to call which Side he pleases. Nothing in Nature can be uncertain to the Author of Nature ; Chance is, in some measure, the Object of human Science. Rules have been form’d concerning it, and it has been reduc'd to certain Laws: And can we suppose that the Creator has no Laws to govern it by, as well as the reit of Nature ? If we can, we may as well go a Step farther, and imagine that the World was made by Chance, that it sublists by Chance, and that by Chance it may, we know not how soon, be overturn'd.
Is this Gentleman willing to submit to the Decision of Scripture? If he be, this Dispute will be brought to a short Issue. Solomon tells us, Prov. xvi. 33. thit The Lot is cal into the Lap, but that the whole dispofing thereof is of the Lord. And this Doctrine is confirm'd by several Initances in Scripture, particularly those of Jonah and Matthias.
But if he will not abide by the Determination of Scripture, if Ingenious Gentlemen will not come to that reasonable Resolution which Niro RY. recommends to them in the last Magazine, p. 263. if they will induige themselves in an unbounded liberty of difputing upon Subjects beyond their Fathom, there is no knowing where they will fop, nor to
what Extravagancies their so much boasted Reason will carry them. In
which the Light of Nature forms against the Doctrine of absolute Prede-
bave Mercy, and whom he will be hardeneth, Rom. ix.18. This is St. Paul's “ Doctrine, and the Difficulty which he starts upon it is this: Thou wilt "say then unto me, why doth be yet find fault? for who hath rehfed his “ Will?. ver. 19.
This Objection cannot be push'd farther, twenty “ Pages of the subtillelt Molinist could add nothing to it : What more “ could they inferr, than that, upon Calvin's Hypothesis, God wills Men “ to commit Sin? Now this is what St. Paul knew might be objected againit him. But what does he reply? Does he seek for Distinations 4 and Qualifications ? Does he deny the Fact ? Does he grant it in Part
only? Does he enter into Particulars ? Does he remove any Ambiguity
in the Words? Nothing of all this. He only alledges the sovereign * Power of God, and the fupreme Right which the Creator has to dil“pose of his Creatures as it seems good to him : Nay, båt, 0 Man, who “art thou that repliest against God? Shall the Tbing formed Jay unto him " that formed it, why haft thou made me thus? ver. 20. He acknow" ledges an Incomprehensibility in the thing, which ought to put a stop
to all Disputes, and impose a profound Silence on our Reason. He
out! ch. xi. ver. 33. Christians ought to find here a definitive Sentence,
are only broken against them. And if ever we think proper to exercise
our Wit on Points of this nature, we ought at lealt to found a Retreat " betimes, and retire behind the Bank I have just mentioned,” The length of this Quotation will, I hope, be justified by the Applicableness of it to the present Dispute, in order to put an end to it, which was ihe only Motive of my engaging in it. I am, Yours, &c.
A Gurate of Salop.
Concerning the Peopling of the EARTH,
ago, on R. Y.'s Account of the first Peopling of the Earth after the Deluge (See Vol. VI. p. 601, 665,731. and Vol. VII. p. 23,75, 141, and 196.) have been delay'd thro' a hurry of other Affairs, and are now set down just as they occurrd to me, and iwherein they seem'd principally to recede from the Chronology of Sir Isaac Newton, without fufficient Warrant for so doing, because one Hypothesis is as good as another, where no prevailing Reasons can be aflign'd to determine the Judgment either way.
R. Y. thinks Afa King of Judah to be Ofarliphus, I think chiefly from the similitude of the two firit Syllables of the lait to the first. This will hardly be allow'd of any weight at all, for he shou'd have clear'd up the Paslage first of Manetho apad JoJep.contra App. where he says, that "Ofar“siphus was a Priest of Egypt, that he was callid Ujorthon, or Hercules
Egyptius, that he oblig'd the Ethiopians to retire to Memphis; but that “ Memnon King of Egypt, and his son Rameses, after 13 Years, having
augmented their Forces from Ethiopia, compellid Ofarsiphus, tho' “ strengthen'd by the Jews and Phænicians, to fly from Egypi." (This Ofarsiphus the Egyptian Writers fally take for Moses.) Now Asa was not a Prieit of Egypt, he only pursu'd the Ethiopians to Gerar, a City in the South Confines of Judea, and smete some Cities thereabouts, and returnd to Jerufalem, 2 Chron. xiv. 14, 15. neither of which agree with the Character of Ofarsiphus, who to me seems only some Native, who took the Advantage of the Distractions in Egypt, on the Defeat of Zerah, to establish the Liberty of that Kingdom in opposition to the Ethiopians, who had usurp'd the Government of it; and might probably call in to his Aid some of Ala's Army, and other neighbouring Nations.
I agree with R. Y according to Sir Ijaae's Scheme, that Sesac is Sefoftris; and the Opposers of this Opinion had better consider the following Arguments : Either that Conqueror's Expedition, so remarkable in Heathen History, happen'd soon before the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt, or after it ; if before, how came it to pass that those Nations thro' which Sejoftris must neceffarily march, and consequently reduce (such as Ammon, Paleftine, Canaan, &c.) were so powerful and opulent at the arrival of Jolhua? The Account of them in facred History will by no means quadrate with the Circumstances of a conquer'd People, being in a Capacity, not only to oppose, but even overcome the whole Holt of Israel for some Centuries after. But if this Expedition happen'd after the Exodus, Selo firis must disturb the Hebrew Republick in his March, there being no other Way to pass from Egypt in the course of his Conquests. The Sacred History adinits of no such Conqueror from Egypt but Sefac, consequently Se fac and Sefoftris are one and the same Hero; which makes Jolephus rightly afirm, that the Greek Hiftcries defcribd the Expedition of Sesac under that of Sejefiris, crring, says he, only in the Name of the Person.
R. Y. endeavours to solve the Account of the vast Army which the Philistines brought into the field against Saul, by making the Amalekites Auxiliaries, and probably the Phænicians; and adds, that the Army of Midianites was as great. Herein I think he errs, for tho' the same
Hyper*Hyperbole is made use of, viz. as Grasboppers, or the Sand on the Semo Jhore for multitude, yet 'tis plainly, in the Case of the Midianites, only an oriental form of Expression, and that their whole Army did not exceed 135000, tho' compos'd of at least four very powerful and warlike Nations, siz. the Amalekites, the Midianites, the Children of the East (probably as far as Euphrates, or beyond,) and the lshmaelites ; Vide Judges vi. 3. viii. 24. and for their Number, ver. 10. Now it seems not probable that Amalek could compose one half of the Philistines vaft Army, as R. 7. alledges, yet with the other three warlike Nations ( no doubt exerting their utmost ) he might bring in 135000. and the Philistines themselves 65000, (which however I think too many for such a small compass of Ground as Palestine) yet'the whole will not exceed 200000; and that Army seems disproportion'd to the number of their Chariots, which we are inform'dwere 30000, besides People like the Sand,&c. The Army of Amalek and Canaanites together, under Sisera, did not exceed goo Chariots ; all the Chariots of Israel, in the prosperous Reign of Solomon, did not exceed 1400, and these mention'd as a considerable Part of his Grandeur: Se that R. Y seems not to have accounted so well for the Philistine Army, as Sir Isaac did, by the accession of the Shepherds from Egypt. Amalek's fighting with Israel for a whole Day in the Wilderness will do nothing to prove the Number of their Forces, unless we knew what Strength was deputed under Joshua to cope with him, which might not be a tenth Part of Israel.
R. r. finds Fault with Sir Isaac's attributing the Overthrow of the Asyrian Army to a Defeat from the united Forces of Sethon and Tirhakal, Kings of Egypt and Ethiopia, by a Nocturnal Surprise. The Scripture itself is not filent of Tirhakah's Expedition, and it is evident he was in full March against Sennacherib, 2 Kings xix. 8. and probably either Tirbakah fought him, or hearing of the disaster of his Army had no occasion. I think, from the whole, that Sir Isaac has given us a very consistent Account of it: He says, in the fourteenth Year of King Hezekiab, Sennacherib invaded Phænicia, took several Cities in Judah, and attempted Egypt; but Sethon King of Egypt, with Tirbakah King of Ethiopia, coming against him, he loft in one Night 135000 Men, as some say by a Plague, or perhaps by Lightning, or a fiery Wind, which blows sometimes in the neighbouring Desarts, or rather by being surpris'd by Sethon and Tirhakah. The two firit of these R. Y. will allow to be MiracuJous, and the other two at least highly Providential; for I see no reason, without invalidating Scripture Evidence, why these two united Kings might not be deltroying Angels in the hand of God.
As to what R. Vi fays concerning the Babylonians sending Messengers to enquire of the Wonder wrought in the Land, I think this Circumstance relates to the Retrocession of the Shade on the Dial' of Abaz, which being effected from a like in the Sun, excited the Curiosity of that Learned Nation to look farther into the Matter, and send to Judab to give them a satisfactory Answer. The Subject was fit for Astronomers, who wou'd look on the Overthrow of an Army only as casual.
The Amount of these few Observations on the Ingenious R. Y.'s Account of the first Peopling of the Earth, is far from being done out of disrespect to his Writings in general : He seems to deserve well of
the Learned World in most Things; and the only Fault that I found (as I mention'd before ) was his departing from Sir Ijaac's System, without feeming to have a Superiority of Realons on his Side, the only Method of determining the Judgment in so remote Antiquiry:
On the Same Subject.
the Number of the Inhabitants which might be upon the Earth at the Time of the Flyod, (See Gent. Ming. Vol. VI. p. 601, 665, 731. and Pol. VII. p. 23, 75, 144, 196.) I fully intended to let it pass without an Answer, as not seeing any thing in it that deserved one; but afterwards, when I considered that many of your Readers might not see the Weakness of this Attempt, lo plain as myself, and that perhaps your Correipondents might imagine that I was not able to reply, I determind to send you this as the first and the Lal which I shall make to such a Writer.
First he argues against my Opinion from the Wisdom and Providence of God, according to the Rcason and Nature of Things.
When God, fays he, fors made and formed the Universe, he replenished the Earth with all Things necessary for the Life and Pleasure of Mankind, whom he intended foould be the rational Inhabitants thereof. Now it is natural to think, that GOD would, wben be bad jo replenished the Earth, appoint (take, I fuppofe he means) the properest Methods for the speedy Peopling and Plant: ing it with such 'n Number of Persons, as was absolutely necessary for the keeping and preserving it, in some measure, in the Siate and Condition be at first made it : And therefore we find, that as joon as he had made and formed the first Man Adam, he put him in the Garden of Eden, to dress it and keep it in Order : And may we not reasonably suppose, that he could have the same regard for the ret of the Earth, as well as that (as be bad for ibat, I suppose he means ] Spot of Ground? I think there is no room to d'oubt of it. - The Longevity of Men, no doubt, was designed by the Wifdom and Providence of God (was designed by the Allwije God, and brought about by bis Providence, I suppose he means, as the propereff, Melbod for the peely Peopling and Planting of the Earth. -Icave to tell this Critick, that Argument that proves too much, proves nothing at all; but his Reason taken from the Earth’s being created with Veielaries and Converiencies for Millions of Men, proves as plainly, That tbere must be Miilions of people created along with it, as it does, That Therefore it mull be quickly supplied with Millions : But the firit of these Conclusions he knows to be false in fact, and therefore the fecond does noi sightly follow from the Premises. What! has he never heard of uninhabited hands discovered, abounding with all Things neceffary for the Life and Pleasure of Man? Did not the Hiroynian Wood, in the Time of Julius Cesar, take up the greatest Part of the North of Europe, where Anillions of People now inhabit? And is it any Reflection upon the Wil dom of God in his Works of Providence, that he did not send Men into the World Socner, to cut down the one, and inhabit the other?