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Others have been so blind in deducing the original of things, or delivering their own beginnings, that when it hath fallen into controversy, they have not recurred unto chronology or the records of time; but betaken themselves unto probabilities, and the conjecturalities of philosophy.* Thus when the two ancient nations, Egyptians and Scythians, contended for antiquity, the Egyptians pleaded their antiquity from the fertility of their soil, inferring that men there first inhabited, where they were with most facility sustained ; and such a land did they conceive was Egypt.
The Scythians, although a cold and heavier nation, urged more acutely, deducing their arguments from the two active elements and principles of all things, fire and water. For if of all things there was first an union, and that fire over-ruled the rest, surely that part of earth which was coldest would first get free, and afford a place of habitation: but if all the earth were first involved in water, those parts would surely first appear, which were most high, and of most elevated situation, and such was theirs. These reasons carried indeed the antiquity from the Egyptians, but confirmed it not in the Scythians : for, as Herodotus relateth, from Pargitaus their first king unto Darius, they accounted but two thousand years.
As for the Egyptians, they invented another way of trial; for as the same author relateth, Psammitichus their king attempted this decision by a new and unknown experiment; bringing up two infants with goats, and where they never heard the voice of man; concluding that to be the ancientest nation, whose language they should first deliver.3 But herein he forgot, that speech was by instruction not instinct; by imitation, not by nature; that men do speak in some kind but like parrots, and as they are instructed, that is, in simple terms and words, expressing the open notions of things; which the second act of reason compoundeth into propositions, and the last into syllogisms and forms of ratiocination. And howsoever the account of Manethon the Egyptian priest run very high, and it be evident that Mizraim peopled that country (whose name with the Hebrews it beareth unto this day), and there be many things of great antiquity related in Holy Scripture, yet was their exact account not very ancient ; for Ptolemy their countryman beginneth his astronomical compute no higher than Nabonasser, who is conceived by some the same with Salmanasser. As for the argument deduced from the fertility of the soil, duly enquired it rather overthroweth than promoteth their antiquity; if that country whose fertility they so advance, was in ancient times no firm or open land, but some vast lake or part of the sea, and became a gained ground by the mud and limous matter brought down by the river Nilus, which settled by degrees into a firm land,-according as is expressed by Strabo, and more at large by Herodotus, both from the Egyptian tradition and probable inducements from reason; called therefore fluviż donum, an accession of earth, or tract of land acquired by the river.
* Diodor. Justin. 3 As for the Egyptians, &c.] “ It is said that after they were two years old, one of the boys cried becchus, which in the Phrygian language signifyeth 'bread,' whence it was conjectured that the Phrygians were the first people."-Jeff.
Lastly, some indeed there are, who have kept records of time, and a considerable duration, yet do the exactest thereof afford no satisfaction concerning the beginning of the world, or any way point out the time of its creation. The most authentick records and best approved antiquity are those of the Chaldeans; yet in the time of Alexander the Great they attained not so high as the flood. For as Simplicius relateth, Aristotle required of Calisthenes, who accompanied that worthy in his expedition, that at his arrival at Babylon, he would enquire of the antiquity of their records ; and those upon compute he found to amount unto 1903 years, which account notwithstanding ariseth no higher than ninety-five years after the flood. The Arca
dians, I confess, were esteemed of great antiquity, and it · was usually said they were before the moon; according unto that of Seneca; sidus post veteres Arcades editum, and that of Ovid, lunâ gens prior illa fuit. But this, as Censorinus observeth, must not be taken grossly, as though they were existent before that luminary; but were so esteemed, because they observed a set course of year, before the Greeks conformed their year unto the course and motion of the moon.
• Thus the heathens affording no satisfaction herein, they are most likely to manifest this truth, who have been acquainted with Holy Scripture, and the sacred chronology delivered by Moses, who distinctly sets down this account, computing by certain intervals, by memorable æras, epochs or terms of time : as, from the creation unto the flood, from hence unto Abraham, from Abraham unto the departure from Egypt, &c. Now in this number have only been Samaritans, Jews, and Christians. • For the Jews; they agree not in their accounts, as
Bodine in his method of history hath observed, out of Baal Seder, Rabbi Nassom, Ġersom, and others; in whose compute the age of the world is not yet 5400 years. The same is more evidently observable from two most learned Jews, Philo and Josephus; who very much differ in the accounts of time, and variously sum up these intervals assented unto by all. Thus Philo, from the departure out of Egypt unto the building of the temple, accounts but 920 years; but Josephus sets down 1062: Philo, from the building of the temple, to its destruction, 440 ; Josephus, 470: Philo, from the creation to the destruction of the temple, 3373; but Josephus, 3513 : Philo, from the deluge to the destruction of the temple, 1718; but Josephus, 1913. In which computes there are manifest disparities, and such as much divide the concordance and harmony of times.
For the Samaritans; their account is different from these or any others; for they account from the creation to the deluge but 1302 years; which cometh to pass upon the different account of the ages of the patriarchs set down when they begat children. For whereas the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin texts account Jared 162 when he begat Enoch, they account but sixty-two: and so in others. Now the Samaritans were no incompetent judges of times and the chronology thereof; for they embrace the five books of Moses, and as it seemeth, preserve the text with far more integrity than the Jews : who, as Tertullian, Chrysostom, and others observe, did several ways corrupt the same, especially in passages concerning the prophecies of Christ. So that, as Jerome professeth, in his translation · he was fain sometime to relieve himself by the Samaritan
Pentateuch ; as amongst others in that text, Deuteronomy xxvii. 26; Maledictus omnis qui non permanserit in omnibus quæ scripta sunt in libro legis. From hence Saint Paul (Gal. iii. 10) inferreth there is no justification by the law, and urgeth the text according to the Septuagint. Now the Jews, to afford a latitude unto themselves, in their copies expunged the word 5 or syncategorematical term omnis : wherein lieth the strength of the law, and of the apostle's argument; but the Samaritan Bible retained it right, and answerable unto what the apostle had urged.4
. As for Christians, from whom we should expect the exactest and most concurring account, there is also in them a manifest disagreement, and such as is not easily reconciled. For first, the Latins accord not in their account; to omit the calculation of the ancients, of Austin, Bede, and others, the chronology of the moderns doth manifestly dissent. Josephus Scaliger, whom Helvicus seems to fol. low, accounts the creation in 765 of the Julian period; and from thence unto the nativity of our Saviour alloweth 3947 years; but Dionysius Petavius, a learned chronologer, dissenteth from this compute almost forty years ; placing the creation in the 730th of the Julian period, and from thence unto the incarnation accounteth 3983 years. For the Greeks; their accounts are more anomalous : for if we recur unto ancient computes, we shall find that Clemens Alexandrinus, an ancient father and preceptor unto Origen, accounted from the creation unto our Saviour, 5664 years ; for in the first of his Stromaticks, he collecteth the time from Adam unto the death of Commodus to be 5858 years; now the death of Commodus he placeth in the year after Christ 194, which number deducted from the former, there remaineth 5664. Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, accounteth unto the nativity of Christ 5515, deducible from the like way of compute; for in his first book ad Autolychum, he accounteth from Adam unto Aurelius Verus 5695 years; now that emperor died in the year of our Lord 180, which deducted from the former sum, there remaineth 5515. Julius Afri
4 the Samaritan, dc.] It is also preserved in six MSS. in the collec• tions of Dr. Kennicott, and De Rossi, in several copies of the Chaldee
Targum, and in the LXX.-Jeff.
canus, an ancient chronologer, accounteth somewhat less, that is, 5500. Eusebius, Orosius, and others dissent not much from this, but all exceed five thousand.
The latter compute of the Greeks, as Petavius observeth, hath been reduced unto two or three accounts. The first accounts unto our Saviour 5501, and this hath been observed by Nicephorus, Theophanes,' and Maximus. The other accounts 5509; and this of all at present is generally received by the church of Constantinople, observed also by the Moscovite, as I have seen in the date of the emperor's letters; wherein this year of ours, 1645, is from the year of the world 7154, which doth exactly agree unto this last account 5509: for if unto that sum be added 1645, the product will be 7154; by this chronology are many Greek authors to be understood : and thus is Martinus Crusius to be made out, when in his Turco-grecian history he delivers, the city of Constantinople was taken by the Turks in the year ordea that is, 6961. Now according unto these chronologists, the prophecy of Elias the rabbin, so much in request with the Jews, and in some credit also with Christians, that the world should last but six thousand years ; unto these I say, it hath been long and out of memory disproved; for the sabbatical and 7000th year wherein the world should end as did the creation on the seventh day) unto them is long ago expired; they are proceeding in the eighth thousandth year, and numbers exceeding those days which men have made the types and shadows of these. But certainly what Marcus Leo the Jew conceiveth of the end of the heavens, exceedeth the account of all that ever shall be; for though he conceiveth the elemental frame shall end in the seventh or sabbatical millenary, yet cannot he opinion the heavens and more durable part of the creation shall perish before seven times seven or forty-nine, that is, the quadrant of the other seven, and perfect jubilee of thousands.
5 Marcus Leo the Jew.] The text convinceth this dotage of the Jew : St. Paule sayd 1500 years agoe, that the ends of the world were then coming, which was spoken not of hundreds of yeares but of thousands. Yf then Christ were borne in the 4000th yeare of the world, as the late learned Armachanus (Abp. Usher) opines (not without excellent and undeniable reasons easie to bee made good), wee must divide the age of