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Egyptian Empire, entirely forgot the Hebrew. For this reason the scriptures, according to the Greek verfion, were universally read in that temple, in all the synagogues, and in all the private families, of the land.
WHEN the gospel was first preached in Egypt, Syria, and other provinces where the Greek language was spoken, the apostles, and other Christian missionaries, went into the synagogues, and preached the doctrine of the cross. Wherever they found disciples, appeals were made to those Greek scriptures which teftified of Chrift; because their hearers understood no other. Hence easy it is to account for the quick reception of the Septuagint Bible, and its universal use, both in the Jewish and Christian assemblies, dispersed over the kingdom of the Greeks.
It is, however to be observed, that neither the one party, nor the other knew the distinction between the chronology of the Hebrew original, and of the Greek version. Without the least suspicion of an attachment, in the translators, to the exorbitant computations of the gentiles, they implicitly received the notations of years expressed in that version.
The Jews, who continued in Palestine from the reign of Cyrus to the Christian era, natural it is to suppose, retained for a much longer space of time the use of their mother-tongue, and the reading of their original Scriptures ; nor does it appear that they generally preferred the enlarged chronology of the Hellenists, before the time of their total dispersion.
10. After the overthrow of Jerusalem, Rome became the mother church. Before the end of the first
century nearly the whole of the scriptures was published in Latin *, which, under the title of the ITALIC VERsion, taken from the LXX. was most probably read in the Roman church from the Apostolical age for several centuries. Hence is inferred the almost uni. versal predilection of the Christian Fathers, in favour of the Greek chronology. In the fourth century Jerom, dissatisfied on this account, (perhaps, among others), with that version, prepared an entire new translation from the Hebrew, and consequently restored the primitive Mosaical computation. Thus was the ITALIC VERSION superseded by a substitute, which the synod at Trent pronounced CANONICAL.
« THE whole Christian church, eastern and western, and all the ancient celebrated writers of the church, neglected the Hebrew computations, and adhered to the Greek; till in the late century, some, but not all of the Roman writers, in regard to the decree of the council of Trent about the vulgar Latin, took to the Hebrew computations, not because they were the Hebrew, but because the vulgar Latin agreed with them. Baronius observes, that the church used anciently to compute the years from the creation, not according to the Hebrew, but according to the Septuagint, and cites many authors to confirm it. He might justly have cited every ancient writer, except St. Jerom and St. Austin. Among the moderns, Beza was the first that had any doubts about the Greek chronology; I say, had doubts, for he never absolutely rejected it, though he seemed more the other way
• Gregory's Church History, vol. i. p. 70. b
inclined to the Hebrew. A few followed his opinion ; and they are but a few, in comparison of the many that have
gone In times more liberal, and consequently less perilous, Usher brought the subject to the test of cool dispas. fionate.criticism, and decided in favour of the Hebrew notations. This conclusion, the result of proofs judiciously chosen, and fairly stated, was happily satisfactory to the learned of every denomination : the protestant churches having concurred with the popish, in the article of a truly scriptural chronology, without the least suspicion of swerving from the principles of the reformation, which seems to account for the timid caution of Theodore Beza.
ABOUT the middle of the past century was the reformed chronology exemplified, in the worthy Primate's ANNALS of the Old and NEW TESTAMENT. But after a few years Isaac Vossius revived the controversy, and by the injudicious zeal of several learned and eminently good men, during the passing century, is the erroneous system restored.
As an antidote to the permanent and general prevalence of a scheme, so incompatible with the integrity of the Hebrew Pentateuch, the author of the RESEARCHES undertakes to produce direct historical evidence that the protracted chronology was first fabricated in the very formation of the Greek version ;-and to eyince, that the concise reckoning of Moses allows sufficient time for the population requisite
Sbuckfuru, vol. i. p. 61.
to construct the tower of Babel, if the dispersion be referred to the later years of Peleg's life, as the words of the sacred historian naturally admit this sense, and not to the time of his birth. On this principle too it will appear evident, that, in the 75th of Abraham's age, 427 years after the Flood, the account of great kingdoms, magnificent cities, &c. then said to exist, is perfectly consistent with the course of nature, and improvement in arts.-If these positions can be verified, no plausible pretext will remain for the utility of the expanded computation.
In the following sheets a subject coeval with time, and wide as the planetary system, is exhibited in miniature. It is an attempt to erect Ancient History on a firm and permanent basis, - an original epoch in reckoning, and to ascertain the lengths of those fixed terms in computation, of which the fum defines the
of the world, at any given period. Thus are events, prior, co-existent, or fucceffive, disposed in their natural order. For these ends the Hebrew books, the most ancient and best attested in the world, are presumed to afford the most certain intelligence.
From the gradual improvements in natural knowledge, these oracles of inspiration derive an accession of evidence in every age. By critical skill in ancient tongues and usages, the sacred phraseology acquires precision and significance. Reason is congenial with faith, and even science gives her fanction to revealed truth. Astronomy and Chronology, applied to the Sacred History are, happily subservient to establish the
belief of a wise, merciful, and just Providence superintending the Universe. If at any time, emergent perplexities occur, to surmount which these useful arts are inadequate, Genealogy suggests such arrangements, as correspond to the term of natural life, in the various periods of time.
By several authors of eminent abilities and learning, have the genealogies from the first to the second Adam been examined, but successfully adjusted by none. From Jacob to the dissolution of the Hebrew monarchy numerous are the sources of uncertainty : and as far as the writer's knowledge extends, the period from Solomon to Josiah has been overlooked by all the critics and expositors. In this ANALYSIS the principal difficulties have been obviated, and, it is hoped, consistently with the course of nature.
REVEALED religion is not now to be considered as a matter of doubtful disputation ;-an institution which needs the benefit of an APOLOGY. This word implies, imperfection, if not demerit. It has stood the test of TIME, which, aided by the increase of knowledge, never fails to expose the fallacies of imposture, and set forth the lufre of truth. If several parts of the historical scriptures be not yet clearly understood, certain it is, that nature, providence, and grace, have one origin and Lord; and though mysteries occur wherever we direet our thoughts or eyes, we may trust, that TIME will yet unfold many secrets of unsearchable wisdom, long before the final result of things, when order and harmony shall crown all the works of God.