Abbildungen der Seite

months,* the Assyrian for days; and then the account will not seem so formidable.

Again, for the calculation of eclipses, as it may be made for many thousand years to come, and be exactly true, and yet the World may end to-morrow; because the calculation must be made with this tacit condition, if the bodies of the earth, and sun, and moon, do continue in their substance and constant motion so long : so may it also be made for many millions of years past, and all be true, if the World have been so old; which the calculating doth not prove, but suppose. He then who should in the Egyptian temples see the description of so many eclipses of the sun and moon, could not be assured that they were all taken from real observation, when they might be as well described out of proleptical supposition.

Besides, the motions of the sun, which they mention together and with authority equal to that of their other observations, are so incredible and palpably fabulous, that they take off all credit and esteem from the rest of their narrations. For with this wild account of years, and seemingly accurate observations of the heavens, they left it written to posterity, that the whole course of the celestial motions were four times changed: so that † the sun hath twice risen in the east and set in the west, as it now does; and, on the contrary, twice risen in the west and set in the east. And thus these prodigious antiquaries confute themselves. I

Ει δε και ο φησιν Εύδοξος αληθές, Νam quod aiunt quadringenta et seότι Αιγύπτιοι τον μήνα ενιαυτόν εκάλουν, ptuaginta millia annorum in pericliουκ άν ή των πολλών τούτων ενιαυτών tandis experiundisque pueris, quicunå tapi@unois ē you to Davuaotóv. Proclus que nati essent, Babylonios posuisse, in T'imæum, 1. i. p. 31. 50.

fallunt: si enim esset factum, non † 'Ev Toivuv TOUTW xpóvų terpákig esset desitum. Neminem autem haέλεγον έξ ήθέων τον ήλιον ανατείλαι bemus auctorem qui aut fieri dicat, , {vda vữv karadúeral, {vOkūTEV dis aut factum sciat. Cicero, 1. ii. de DiįravateThai kai žvdev võv åvaréllel, tv- vinat. c.97. And if the last be false, Daðra dis karadīvai. Herod. Euterp. we have no reason to believe the first c. 142. “Mandatumque literis servant, is true; but rather to deny their astrodum Ægyptii sunt, quater cursus suos nomical observations by their vain vertisse sidera, ac Solem bis jam occi- ambition in astrological predictions. disse ubi nunc oritur.'Pompon. Mela, I. And indeed those observations of the i. c. 10. Whereas Aristotle more sober- Chaldees being curiously searched ly: 'Έν άπαντι γαρ παρεληλυθότι χρόνο into by Callisthenes, appointed by κατά την παραδεδομένην αλλήλοις μνή- Aristotle for that purpose, were found μην ουδέν φαίνεται μεταβεβληκός, ούτε really to go no farther than one thouκαθ' όλον τον έσχατον ουρανόν, ούτε κατά Sand nine hundred and three years μόριον αυτού των οικείων ουδέν. De before Alexander, as Porphyrius hath Coelo, 1. i. c. 3. t. 22. Vide Simplic. declared, who was no friend to the ad loc,

account of Moses. Διά το μήπω τας 1 As the Chaldees did affirm that υπό Καλλισθένους εκ Βαβυλώνος πεμthey had taken observations of the ce- φθείσας παρατηρήσεις αφικέσθαι εις την lestial motions for four hundred and “Ελλάδα του Αριστοτέλους τούτο επισκήseventy thousand years; and withal ψαντος αυτω άς τινας διηγείται ο Πορthey also affirmed, that for the same φύριος χιλίων ετών είναι και εννεακοσίων space of time they had calculated the τριών μέχρι τών χρόνων 'Αλεξάνδρου του nativity of all the children who were Makedóvos owSouévas. Simplic. ad 2. born. Which last is certainly false. Aristot. de Cælo, p. 123.

What then are these feigned observations and fabulous descriptions for the World's antiquity, in respect not only of the infallible annals of the Spirit of God, but even of the constant testimonies of more sober men, and the real appearances and face of things, which speak them of a far shorter date?

If we look into the historians which give account of ancient times, nay, if we peruse the fictions of the poets, we shall find the first to have no footsteps, the last to feign no actions of so great antiquity. * If the race of men had been eternal, or as old as the Egyptians and the Chaldees fancy it, how should it come to pass that the poetical inventions should find no actions worthy their heroic verse before the Trojan or the Theban war, or that great adventure of the Argonauts? For whatsoever all the Muses, the daughters of Memory, could rehearse before those times, is nothing but the creation of the World, and the nativity of their gods.

If we consider the necessaries of life,† the ways of freedom and commerce amongst men, and the inventions of all arts and sciences, the letters which we use, and languages which we speak, they have all known originals, and may be traced to their first authors. The first beginnings were then so known and acknowledged by all, that the inventors and authors of them were reckoned amongst their gods, and worshipped by those to whom they had been so highly beneficial: which honour and adoration they could not have obtained, but from such as were really sensible of their former want, and had experience of a present advantage by their means.

If we search into the nations themselves, we shall see none without some original: and were those fauthors extant who

This argument is therefore to me our religion, because he was a countethe stronger, because made by him nancer of none, Epicurus, whose mind who cannot be thought a favourer of is thus delivered by Lucretius, l.v. 325.

* Præterea, si nulla fuit genitalis origo
Terrarum et Coeli, semperque æterna fuere ;
Cur supra bellum Thebanum et funera Troja,
Non alias alii quoque res cecinere Poetæ ?
Quo tot facta virum toties cecidere? neque usquam

Æternis famæ monumentis insita florent? † Pliny gives a large account of makes use of this argument, 1. v. these, 1. vii. c. 56. and Lucretius 333.

• Quare etiam quædam nunc artes expoliuntur,
Nunc etiam augescunt, nunc addita navigiis sunt
Multa; modo organici melicos peperere sonores:
Denique natura hæc rerum ratioque reperta est
Nuper, et hanc primus cum primis ipse repertus

Nunc ego sum in patrias qui possim vertere voces.' 1 I mean, not only such as wrote Polemo Krioelg TÓNEWV £v Qwridi, Chathe building of particular cities, as ron IIólewv krigels, Callimachus KriApollonius Rhodius Καύνου κτίσιν, σεις νήσων και πόλεων, Hellanicus ΚτίXenophanes Κολοφώνος κτίσιν, Crito σεις εθνών και πόλεων, and the indefiEvpakovoūv ktioiv, and Philochorus nite Krigets written by Dercyllus, Dio. Lałajivos tioiv: but those more ge- nysius, Hippys, Clitophon, Trisimaperal, as Aristotle Krioeuf kai oletelas, chus, and others.

have written of the first plantations and migrations of people, the foundations and inbabiting of cities and countries, the first rudiments would appear as evident as their later growth and present condition. We know what ways within two thousand years people have made through vast and thick woods for their habitations, now as fertile, as populous, as any. The Hercynian trees, in the time of the Cæsars, occupying so great a space as to take up a journey of sixty days,* were thought even then coeval with the World.t We read without any show of contradiction, how this western part of the World hath been peopled from the east: and all the pretence of the Babylonian antiquity is nothing else, but that we all came from thence. Those eight persons saved in the Ark, descending from the Gordiæan mountains and multiplying to a large collection in the plain of Sinaar, made their first division at that place; and that dispersion, or rather dissemination, hath peopled all other parts of the World, either never before inhabited, or dispeopled by the flood.

These arguments have always seemed so clear and undeniable, that they have put not only those who make the World eternal, but those also who confess it made (but far more ancient than we believe it), to a strange answer, to themselves uncertain, to us irrational.

For to this they replied, that this WorldI hath suffered many

**Silvarum, Hercynia, dicrum sex- de Universo, ibid. Thus Plato, who aginta iter occupans, ut major aliis, asserted the creation of the World, but ita et notior.' Pompon. Mela, l. iii. c. 3. either from eternity, or such antiquity

+ Hercyniæ silvæ roborum vasti, as does not much differ from it, brings tas intacta ævis et congenita mundo, in Solon inquiring the age of the prope immortali sorte miracula ex- Greek histories, as of Phoroneus, and cedit.' Plin. l. xvi. c. 2.

Niobe, Deucalion and Pyrrha; and | Thus Ocellus, who' maintained an Egyptian priest answering, that the World was never made, answers all the Greeks were boys, and not an the argument brought from the Greek old man amongst them, that is, they histories wbich began with Inachus, had no ancient monuments, or history as the first subject, not author of his- of any antiquity, but rested contented tory, (as Negarola in bis Annotations with the knowledge of the time, since mistakes (cellus): Ald kai rois déyovou the last great mutation of their own την Ελληνικής ιστορίας άρχήν από Ίνά- country: Πολλαί γάρ κατά πολλά φθοχου είναι του Αργείου, προσεκτέον ούτως, ραι γεγόνασιν ανθρώπων και έσονται, ούχ ως από τινος αρχής πρώτης, αλλά πυρί μεν και ύδατι μέγισται, μυρίοις δε της γενομένης μεταβολής κατ' αυτήν. άλλοις έτεραι βραχύτεραι. In Timeo, c. iii. §. 5. So that he will have Ina- p. 291. Origen of Celsus: mollès chus to be the first not absolutely, but εκ παντός αιώνος πυρώσεις γεγονέναι, since the last great alteration made πολλάς δ' επικλύσεις, και νεώτερον είναι in Greece; and then he concludes τον επί Δευκαλίωνος κατακλυσμόν έναγthat Greece hath often been, and will χος γεγενημένον, σαφώς τοϊς ακούειν αυoften be, barbarous, and lose the me- toữ duvauévous tapiornoi to kar' aŭtov mory of all their actions: dollácıs toũ koouov åyévvntov. I. 1. §. 19. And γαρ και γέγονε και έσται βάρβαρος ή Lucretius the Epicurean, who thought Ελλάς, ουχ υπ' ανθρώπων μόνον γινο- the World but few thousand years old, μένη μετάστατος, αλλά και υπ' αυτής της as we believe, and that it should at φύσεως ου μείζονος ουδε μείονος αυτής last be consumed, as we also are perγινομένης, αλλά γαρ νεωτέρας αεί και suaded, thinks this answer of theirs προς ημάς άρχήν λαμβανούσης. Οcellus so far from being a refutation of the

alterations, by the utter destructions of nations and depopu-
lations of countries, by which all monuments of antiquity
were defaced, all arts and sciences utterly lost, all fair and
stately fabrics ruined, and so mankind reduced to paucity,
and the World often again returned into its infancy. This
they conceived to have been done oftentimes in several ages,
sometimes by a deluge of water, sometimes by a torrent of
fire; and, lest any of the elements might be thought not to
conspire to the destruction of mankind, the air must sweep
away whole empires at once with infectious plagues, and
earthquakes swallow up all ancient cities, and bury even the
very ruins of them. By which answer of theirs they plainly
afford two great advantages to the Christian faith. First,
Because they manifestly shew that they had a universal tra-
dition of Noah's flood, and the overthrow of the old World:
Secondly, Because it was evident to them, that there was no
way to salve the eternity or antiquity of the World, or to an-
swer this argument drawn from history and the appearances
of things themselves, but by supposing innumerable deluges
and deflagrations. Which being merely feigned in themselves,
not proved (and that first* by them who, say they, are not
subject themselves unto them, as the Egyptians did, who by
the advantaget of their peculiar situation feared neither pe-
rishing by fire nor water), serve only for a confirmation of
Noah's flood so many ages past, and the surer expectation of
St. Peter's fire, we know not how soon to come.
former, that he admits it as a confir- nion. De Rerum Natura, 1. v. 339.
mation of the latter part of his opi-

Quod si forte fuisse antehac eadem omnia credis,
Sed periisse hominum torrenti sæcla vapore,
Aut cecidisse urbes magno vexamine mundi,
Aut ex imbribus assiduis exisse rapaces
Per terras amnes atque oppida cooperuisse :
Tanto quippe magis victus fateare necesse est,

Exitium quoque terras coelique futurum.' "Έστωσαν δε τω Κέλσω του περί των other parts a deluge happened, then εκπυρώσεων και εξυδατώσεων μύθου δι- all their cities were swept away into δάσκαλοι οι κατ' αυτόν σοφώτατοι Αιγύ- the sea: Κατά δε τήνδε την χώραν, says TITIOL. Orig. adv. Celsum, 1. i. §. 20. the priest, ούτε τότε, ούτε άλλοτε άνω

+ So that Egyptian priest in Plato's θεν επί τας αρούρας ύδωρ επιρρεί το δ' Τimaeus tells Solon that the fable of εναντίον, κάτωθεν επανιέναι πέφυκεν. Phaethon did signify a real conflagra- όθεν και δι' ας αιτίας τάνθάδε σωζόμενα tion of the World; but so as all they léyeral Talaiórara. p. 292. So Egypt which lived in mountains or dry parts receiving not their waters from above of the earth were scorched and con- by clouds, but from below by springs sumed, but of those who lived near filling the river Nile, was out of danthe seas or rivers in the valleys, some ger in a deluge, and thereby preserved were preserved : fuiy dè, saith he, ó the most ancient monuments and reNeikos eis të rällä owTrip, cai Tóre łk cords. But, alas! this is a poor shift ταύτης της απορίας σώζει λυόμενος. p. to them who believe that in the great 291. Thus the Egyptians pretend and universal flood,“ all the fountains Nilas saved them from the flames of of the great deep were broken up, Phaethon. Nor were they only safe and the windows of heaven were from conflagrations, but from inunda- opened." Gen. vii. 11. tions also. For when in Greece or



It remaineth then that we steadfastly believe, not only that the “heavens and earth, and all the host of them” (Gen. ii. 1.) were made, and so acknowledge a creation, or an actual and immediate dependence of all things on God; but also that all things were created by the hand of God, in the same manner, and at the same time, which are delivered unto us in the books of Moses by the Spirit of God, and so acknowledge a novity, or no long existence of the creature.

Neither will the novity of the World appear more plainly unto our conceptions, than if we look upon our own successions. The vulgar accounts, which exhibit about five thousand six hundred years, though sufficiently refuting an eternity, and allaying all conceits of any great antiquity, are not yet so properly and nearly operative on the thoughts of men, as a reflection upon our own generations. The first of men was but six days younger than the being, not so many than the appearance, of the earth : and if any particular person would consider how many degrees in a direct line he probably is removed from that single person Adam, who bare together the name of man and of the earth from whence he came, he could not choose but think himself so near the original fountain of mankind, as not to conceive any great antiquity of the World. For though the ancient heathens did imagine innumerable* ages and generations of men past, though Origent did fondly seem to collect so much by some misinterpretations of the Scriptures; yet if we take a sober view, and make but rational collections from the chronology of the Sacred Writ, we shall find no man's pedigree very exorbitant, or in his line of generation descent of many score.

When the age of man was long, in the infancy of the World, we find ten generations extend to one thousand six hundred and fifty-six years, according to the shortest, which is thought, because the Hebrew, therefore the best account; according to the longest, which, because the Septuagint's, is not to be

* So Cicero indeed speaks, innume + Origen did not only collect the rabilia sæcula, in his book of Divina- eternity of the World from the coexisttion: and Socrates in Plato's Theæte- ence of all God's attributes, as because tus brings this argument against the heis παντοκράτωρ and δημιουργός,therepride of great and noble families, that fore he was always so, for how could they who mention a succession of their he be δημιουργός άνευ δημιουργημάτων, ancestors who have been rich and or παντοκράτωρ άνευ των κρατουμένων και ; powerful, do it merely: 'd' àraidev- but also from the ninetieth psalm, cias, ou duvauévwv els mãv ảei Bré- “ From everlasting to everlasting, πειν, ουδέ λογίζεσθαι, ότι πάππων και thou art God. For a thousand years προγόνων μυριάδες εκάστω γεγόνασιν in thy sight are but as yesterday ;” αναρίθμητοι, εν αις πλούσιοι και πτωχοί, and that at the beginning of Ecclesiκαι βασιλείς και δούλοι, βάρβαροί τε και asticus, «Who can number the sand "Enveç tolláris pvpioi yeyóvaoiv òrwof the sea, and the drops of the rain, oīvo p. 118. as if every person were and the days of eternity?” But Meequally honourable, having innume- thodius, bishop and martyr, hath well rable ancestors, rich and poor, ser- concluded that disputation : raūtá pre vants and kings, learned and barba- σιν ο Ωριγένης σπουδάζων, και όρα οία

Haigel. Vid. p. 102.]


« ZurückWeiter »