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suppose this mystical sacrifice of the Phenicians, to have contained the typical allusion contended for, we must then admit, that among that most idolatrous and abandoned people, (as we learn from the Scripture history the people of Canaan or Phenicia were,) a more exact delineation of the great future sacrifice was handed down by tradition, than was at the same early age vouchsafed to the favoured nation of the Jews. The prophetic tradition, giving birth to the institution, had probably, Bryant observes, been preserved in the family of Esau, and so transmitted through his
posterity to the people of Canaan. But was it not at least as likely that such a tradition would have been preserved in the family of Isaac, and so transmitted through his posterity to the people of the Jews? I am upon the whole therefore rather disposed to think, that this sacrifice of the Phenicians, grew out of the intended sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, to which the circumstances of the history seem to correspond in many particulars.
First, it is remarkable, that the very name, by which God describes Isaac, when he issues his order to Abraham to offer him in sacrifice, is TIT,* Jehid, agreeing with the Phenician name Jeud given to the son of Kronus. Again, if Anobret has been justly explained by Bochart, as sig
* " Take now thy son, (77'7') thine only son." Gen. xxii. 2.
nifying ex gratiâ concipiens," no epithet could be with greater propriety applied to Sara, the wife of Abraham; of whom the apostle says, “ Through faith Sara received strength to conceive,--when she was past age.” Again, that Abraham should be spoken of by the Phenicians, as a king, who reigned in those parts, is not unlikely, considering his great possessions and rank* amongst the surrounding people: and if the name assigned by the history be actually Israel, or is, as the abbreviation of Israel, little doubt can then remain as to its application, there being nothing unreasonable, (notwithstanding Vossius's remark noticed in p. 383,) in supposing him called by the title of the famous Patriarch whose progenitor he was, and from whom a whole people took its
If even we should suppose the true reading to be Il, as equivalent to the El of the Hebrews, and so consider him as ranked amongst the divinities of the Phenicians, as the other parts of the history undoubtedly describe Kronus to have been, there is nothing in this so very surprizing: especially when it is remembered, that Kronus is related to have been advanced from a mortal to the heavens. There is also an expression used of Abraham in Gen. xxiii. 6, which, by a slight variation of the rendering, would actually represent him as a supreme God, in perfect correspondence
* See Gen. xxiji. 6. where Abraham is addressed as a king: “ Thou art a mighty prince among us.”
with all that we have seen applied to Kronus. The expression I allude to is om , which is strictly rendered a prince of God, a known Hebraism for a MIGHTY prince, as it is accordingly given in the .common bible, the literal English being placed in the margin. Now this might with equal accuracy, (Onths being a plural word) be rendered, a prince of Gods, and would accordingly by those who held a plurality of Gods, as the Canaanites did, be so rendered : and thence he would come to be considered as supreme, or chief among the gods. And accordingly we find
the Elohim, described as the associates of Kronus : • Συμμαχοι Ιλα τα Κρονα Eλωειμ επεκλήθησαν.
(Euseb. Præp. Evang. p. 37.) But yet farther, another circumstance remains to be noticed, which seems to give confirmation to the idea, that Abraham was the Kronus of Sanchoniatho. We are told of Kronus by this writer, (Præp. Ev. p. 38.) that he was the author of the rite of circumcision. Και τα αιδοια περιτεμνεται, ταυτο ποιησαι και τες αμ’ αυτω συμμαχες καταναγκασας και Etiam pudenda sibi ipse circumcidit, sociosque omnes ad simile factum per vim adigit. This ex. actly corresponds to what is said of Abraham, in Gen. xvii. 27.--See Stilling. Orig. Sacr, pp. 571, 372. Shuckford's Connexion, i, pp. 326, 327, and particularly Bochart Phaleg. tom. i. pp. 711, 712.
Thus, upon the whole, it appears to me, that the reference of the mystical sacrifice of the Phenicians, to the intended sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, is natural* and striking. Nor perhaps, after all, do I, in holding this opinion, differ stantially from the learned Mr. Bryant: inasmuch as that intended sacrifice is acknowledged to have been typical of a great sacrifice to come ; and it may reasonably be supposed, that a tradi
* This application of the history of Sanchoniatho, (as reported by Eusebius,) to the circumstances of the birth and intended sacrifice of Isaac recorded by Moses, will appear yet more satisfactory to him who will take the trouble of consulting either Stilling fleet, or Bochart, on the whole of the Phenician Theogony, as derived from Sanchoniatho. Those writers abundantly prove, that the particulars of that Theogony are borrowed from the facts referred to in the Mosaic history, and its various fables founded upon the mistake or perversion of the language of the Hebrew records. -Stilling. Orig. Sacr. p. 368-372. Boch. Phal. Opera tom. i. p. 704–712. See also Banier's Myth. vol. i. p. 88—101, and Goguet's Origin of Laws, &c. vol. i. p. 370—384. President Kirwan likewise, in a learned paper on the Origin of Polytheism, &c.(in the with. volume of the Trans, of the Royal Irish Acad.) has treated of this subject. Some of these wri. ters indeed, particularly Gognet, have doubted whether Sanchoniatho was acquainted with the sacred books. But to the main point with which we are concerned, it seems to be of little consequence, whether the facts as they are reported by Moses, or the general tradition of those facts, formed the ground-work of the Phenician mythology.
It should be noted, that Bishop Cumberland, in his Sanchoniatho p. 134–150, maintains an opinion, directly repugnant to that which has been advanced in this Number, on the subject of the Pheniciun sacrifice. But it must be ob. served, that the learned Bishop's arguments are founded on the want of a perfect agreement between the particulars of Abraham's history, and those of Kronus as detailed by Sanchoniatho : whereas nothing more ought to be expected in very sub
such a case, than that vague and general resemblance, which commonly obtains between truth and the fabulous represen, tation of it. Of such resemblance, the features will be found, in the instance before ' us, to bc marked with peculiar strength. But the fear of tracing the idolatrous practices of the Phenicians, especially that most horrid practice of human sacrifice, to the origin of a divine command, rendered this excellent prelate the less quick-sighted in discovering such similitude. Indeed, the professed object for which he entered upon his Review of Sanchoniatho's history, must in a great degree detract from the value of his researches upon that subject. The account given by his biographer and panegyrist Mr. Payne, states of him, that “ he detested nothing so much as Popery, was affected with the apprehensions of it to the last degree, and was jealous almost to an excess of every thing that he suspected to favour it: that this depravation of Christianity ran much in this thoughts, and the enquiry how religion came at first to degenerate into idolatry, put him upon the searches that produced the work in question; inas. much as the oldest account of idolatry he believed was to be found in Sanchoniatho's fragment; and as leading to the discovery of the original of Idolatry he accordingly made it the subject of his study.” Preface to Cumb. Sanch. pp. x. xxviii. With a pre-conceived system, and a predominant terror, even the mind of Cumberland was not likely to pursue a steady and unbiassed course. The melancholy prospect of affairs in the reign of James the 2nd, his biographer remarks, had inspired him rith extraordinary horrors.