« PoprzedniaDalej »
bears witness to the prophetical character of the first historian. As without a divine impulse he could not predict the events of a remote futurity, it cannot be incongruous to suppose, that, in composing the history of 25 past centuries, he was under the influence of supernatural direction.
DURING the late century, the patrons of sacred literature signified their wish to have all the existing manuscripts of the original Hebrew and Greek texts of both Testaments carefully compared, that some one copy, worthy to be admitted as the standard of textual purity, might be compiled from many, and retain the verity which pervades all. By the laudable industry and skill of several accomplished masters in sacred criticism, have the sanguine hopes of the Protestant churches been amply gratified, and not without the concurrence of the learned in the Romish communion.
SOME of the reasons urged for collating manuscript and printed copies, versions, (ancient and modern), quotations, &c. merited immediate regard, and liberal encouragement. Others specious, but nugatory, captivated the attention of the public ; and by a kind of disastrous fatality, " the worse appeared the better reason, to perplex and dah matureit counsels.” For the preference of the amplified Greek chronology to the very moderate Hebrew notations, the arguments are, “ as the drop from a bucket, small dust in the balance, and less than nothing." Of a minute scrutiny, the refult was a perfect harmony between all the chronological characters from Adain to Terah. Yet, as if the Hebrew numbers had, as uniformly contradictory and merito. rious of reprobation, forfeited every claim to probability; the report of the Greek translators, vague as it generally is, and, in its chronology, convicted of deliberate and wilful forgery, is set forth by Whiston, Brett, Hay, Jackson, Kennicott, and Geddes, as the primary model of chronological precision.
EvęRY friend to the human race, and to christianity, which comprehends the interest of the whole fpecies, must derive pure complacence from the continually multiplying editions of the English Bible from the British press. Many of them, as specimens of elaborate mechanism, fuperfine paper, elegant types, superb binding, exquisite sculptures, and other exterior decorations, folicit and obtain extensive and liberal encouragement.
It is with deference submitted to the judgement of an impartial and discerning Public, what regard may be due to Proposals, of which the ultimate object is to accomplish Sir Isaac Newton's arduous enterprize, so as to make Sacred History suit with itself, with the Annals of Paganism, with the natural measures of time, with national eras, . with the course of natura in the generations of men, and with civil magiftracies.
SUBSCRIPTIONS to be transmitted to any of the Booksellers in Great Britain ; or to the author, No. 6, Crown Court, Little Pultney Street, Westminster. The papers, now ready for publication, will be sent to press, as soon as a competent subscription shall be notified.
N an age when the natural measures of time are
reduced to systematical precision, it may seem a paradox, that these arts have never been applied to those meafures, with a degree of success which infallibly determines the past duration of the world.
CHRONOLOGY can be carried no farther back than the most remote point in historical time. All beyond is the region of pute astronomical operations, which mark imaginary limits in antemundan duration.
The vulgar Christian Era, with respect to which all dates are denominated prior or subsequent, is, by immemorial prescription, accounted the center of astronomical calculations. For example, from the first of January X. D. 1795, count back 1794 solar tropical years, the reckoning is carried up to January ist in the number of the Julian period 4714, where the era begins with unity. Hence continue the retrograde series of natural years up to that first point, which Moses calls the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth;THERE measured Time begins.
Computation may proceed farther, if the existence of the planetary fyftem be supposed: but beyond the primary source of measured duration, divided into distinct portions, by the revolving luminasies, neither chronology nor history can proceed.
How is the quantity of this retrograde feries defined? By fixed periods, extending progressively from the origin of things, to the time of the crucifixion. The bihorical records of the Hebrews, it is true, leave a void space of more than four centuries, prior to the annals of the New Teftament. But this apparent deficiency is abuna dantly compensated by the infallible oracles of prophecy, which specify an interval of 490 years, to commence with a certain date, subsequent to the return of the captives from Babylon, and to end wish the cutting off of the Messiah. The series in the retrograde order, is thus completed :
From the Crucifixion,
4040 It is to be noted, that the computation begins with the time of the vernal equinox in the year of our Lord's . passion; and therefore ends with the same cardinal point in the first year of the world, though six months 7
after the creation; for at the Exodus was introduced a change of stile, by which the seventh month of the primitive year, as anciently computed, became the firft, as then altered : “ This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the
By the Julian calendar, every Hebrew year, counted from one autumnal equinox to another, falls in with two numbers of the Julian period. The first year of the world therefore expired the 31st December 706; and the second began January 707. By this rule, the time of the crucifixion coincided with the seventh month of the year 4041 from the creation. Hience deduct 37, the current year of Christ's life, the time of his nativity is connected with 4004.
The presumed uncertainty of an infallible standard in computation has long perplexed chronologers. In the Hebrew Annals the notations of time have every reasonable claim to preference. That those which define the interval from Adam to Abraham have been egregiously corrupted, by' mutilation or accident, hath often been affirmed, but never ved. The numbers in the 'vth and with chapters of Genesis, as exhibited in the Greek version, exceed those in the Hebrew original by about 1500 years.
But the translators; in compliance with that epidemical affectation of a remote origin, which then had become prevalent among the Gentile nations, enlarged, (by one century each), the age of fifteen patriarchs at the birth of their specified fons. Impelled by the fame vanity, Josephus, having the Hebrew text full in his view, preferred the