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THE

Reasonableness and Certainty

OF THE, '<

Christian Religion.

Part III.

That there is no other Divine Revelation^ but that contain d in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament.

1""*H AT there is no other Institution of Religion, besides that deliver'd in the Holy Scrip« tures of the Old and New Testament, which has all things necessary to a Divine Revelation, may be shewn in the several Particulars necessary to a Divine Revelation, as that no other Religion ever was of like Antiquity, or had equal Promulgation; that no other ever had sufficient Evidence of Miracles and Prophecies in proof of it; and lastly, that there never was any other, which did not teach many Doctrines that are unworthy of God, and contrary to the Divine Attributes, and therefore impossible to come from Heaven. This I shall prove, first, of the Religions of the Heathens *, secondly*, of the Mahometan Religion.

CHAP.

CHAP. I.

"Xhe "Novelty of the Heathen 'Religions.

. *Tp H E Novelty of the Religions amongst: the HeaX thens (whom we have any certain Account of from their Writings) in respect of the Scriptures, is so notorious, having been so often proved by learned Men, and is so generally acknowledg'd, that it is needless to insist much upon it. The Heathens generally were Strangers to every thing of Antiquity, and therefore must be unable to give any Proof of the Antiquity of their Religions.

The Pretences which the sÆgyptians made to Antiquity, so much beyond the times recorded in the Scriptures, proceeded from their reckoning by Lunar Years, or * Months \ or from reckoning the Dynasties in Succession, which were contemporary. For b Herodotus mentions Twelve Egyptian Kings reigning at once. But they had so different Accounts, however, of Chronology, that, as Diodorus Statists fays, some of them computed about thirteen thousand years more than others, from the Original of their Dynasties, to the time of Alexander theGreat. And the Solar-Year, in use among the sÆgyptians, who were most famous for Astronomy, was so imperfect, that they said the Sun had several times changed c his Course, since the Beginning of their Dynasties j imputing-the Defect of their own Computation , for want of intercalary Days, to the Sun's Variation; or |lse affecting to speak something wonderful and extravagant. An Author, whose main Design seems to have been, to fay

■ Diodor. Sic. I. i. Plutarch, in Nuraa. Yak apud Lactaoc. de prig. Error. lib. ii. c.fe. b Lib. 2. cap. i si. c Herod. 1. 2. c. 142.

all,

all, that could with any cqjour of probability be seidt to the advantage both of the Learning and the Antiquity of the Egyptians; found, that he could give no tolerable account of their Chronology, but by casting it into four concurrent Dynasties, and placing Menes-t whom he supposes to be Chants and who is agreed by all, to have been the first King of t/Egypt^ At the Head of each Dynasty, and inserting the Kings in succession from him, out of Eratosthenes, Manetho, and Syncelltu. Yet this learned and laborious Advocate of the tÆgyptians acknowledges, that d till the Dcccclx"1 Year of his tÆgyptian *Æra, which falls about xxx after the death of Jojhua, the tÆgyptian Year consisted of Ccclx Days only, and that for this Reason, they had no certainty in their Astronomy. But he observes farther, that in the Sepulchre of i6 Ofymandyast a Theban King, who lived in the Sixteenth Century of his t/Egyptian tÆra, a Golden Cycle was found, of the thickness of one Cubit, and Ccclxv Cubits in compass, having the Days of the Year written distinctly in the several Cubits, with the Risings and Settings of the Stars, and Astrological Observations upon them. Here he fays, that since the additional Hours are not in this Cycle, it might be doubted, whether they were taken into the tÆgyptian Year, • till after that Age: but to this he answers, that the Risings and Settings of the Stars could not be rightly assigned without them. But how could he know, that they were rightly assigned? He farther proves, that even after it was known that an Intercalation was neceslary every fourth Year, yet the 'tÆgyptian Priests refused to use it, that their Festivals might not always fall on the sime Days, but might run thro' the Year •, and that their Epopta took an Oath, never to make any Intercalation either of Months or Days. He

d Marsh, Chron. Can. p. 23$, 237, 29$.

• Diodort Sic ]. 1. f Gemini Elements Aslronom. c. 6.

shews {hews likewise from 8 Cenforinus^ that in their Civil as well as in their Sacred Year, they had no Intercalation: yet their Natural Year, he fays, had the Intercalary Day. But to what end did this Natural Year serve, if it were used neither in their Sacred, nor in their Civil Affairs? It seems, that the Intercalation was not taken into the tÆgyptian Year, but was only in Notion and Idea among the Astronomers; as the Old Style is to all purposes used among us, tho'our Astronomers very well understand the defects of it. But the case was very different with the ^Egyptians from what it is with us •, for in the space of Mcccclxi Years, the variation there was not of a few Days, but of a whole Year: And where there was a continual change of the Days and Months, there must needs have been great confusion in the Calculations of Chronology. The <Ægyptiansy fays the fame Learned h Author, have transmitted nothing besides the Names of their Kings, and their vast Pyramids, to Posterity, more ancient than Sefostris or Sijhaciy who sicked Jerusalem in the Fifth Year of Rehobobarns Reign, i Kings xiv. si. And ^Caflini has found the Account of Eclipses, at the beginning of Diogenes Laertius, to be false; which is a farther confutation - of the fabulous preteslces of the tÆgyptians to Antiquity. The earliest Astronomical Observations to be met with, which were made in aÆ^pt, are those performed by the Greeks of Alexandria, less than ccc Years before Christ, ask Mr. Halley has observed. The 1 Cbald&ans-, according to Berosut, supposed the Moon to be a luminous Body, and therefore could have ha great skill in Astronomy; besides, they, wanted Instruments to make exact Observations. m Diodortu Siculus writes, that the Cbaldaans supposed the Moon's

* De Die Natal, c. 18. * Chron. Can. p. 35a.

* Loubcredu Royaume de Siam. Tom. 2. p. 399.

k Mr. WoctonV RefleSions upon ancient and modern Learning, c aj.'VktHv. lib. k. c. 4. m L, u. c. 8.

Light to be from the Sun; but he says, that they had various Opinions concerning the Sun's Eclipse, and could not determine any thing about it, nor foretel when it Was to be. * All we have of them, fays the 'fame Learned" Astronomer, is only seven Eclipses

* of the Moon, and even those but very courscly set 'down, and the oldest not much above Dcc Years be

* fore Christ; Ib that after all the Fame of these

* Chaldaans, we may be sure, they had not gone far

* in this Science: And though Callisthenes be said by 'Porphyry, to have brought from Babylon to Greece

* Observations above Mdcccc Years older than A

* lexander; yet the proper Authors making no men

* tion or use of any such, renders it justly suspected

■ for a Fable. This agrees with the Account that has been given of the Chaldaick Philosophy, by a very •Learned and Accurate Author; from whence we likewise understand, how little credit is to be allowed to these Observations, which Porphyry (as he is cited by p Simplicity) fays, that Cdtifihenes sent X.0 Aristotle from Babylon, since there is nothing extant in the Chaldaick Astrology mOre ancient than the sÆra of Nabonaffar, which begins but Dccxlvii Years before Christ. By this *Æra, the Chaldaans computed their Astronomical Observations, 'the first of which falls about the Twenty seventh Year of Nabonajfir; and if there had been any more ancient, Ptolemy would not have omitted them. So little ground is there for us to depend upon the Accounts of Time, and the vain Boasts of Antiquity which these Nations have made. The r Greeks had their Astronomy from Babylon, and the 1 Athenians had but Ccclx Days in their Year, in

"the time of Demetrius Phalerew; yet Mr. Halley farther Observes, 4 that the Greeks were the first Pra

n In Mr. Wotton'r Reflections. Ib. 0 Mr. Sranley'-r Chaldaick Philos. c. i. P Simplic. dc Cœlo, I. 2. "Pcol. 1. 4. c. 6, 7« 'Herodot. I. a. c. io$. 'Plin. L 34. 0 6.

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