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SE R M ON

PR BACH'D at

Caộterbury School Feast,

With a PREFACE,

Shewing that Alphabetical Letters were never

used by any before Moses, and he first learned an Alphabet from God.

By

the late Reverend JOHN JOHNSON, A. M.

Vicar of Cranbrook in Kent.

NUM B. xi. 29. -Would God that all the Lord's People were Prophets, and

that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them.

L O N D ON:

Printed in the Year M.DCC.XXVII.

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PREFACE.

A

# School

Feast.

T the Request of the Gentlemen assembled at this Feast *, I pro- Canterbury

, mised to print this Sermon preach

ed before them: Accordingly I foon after transcribed it for the Press, and drew a Preface for it, and sent both to an eminent Divine, who had promised to revise them before they were published, But, this worthy Person dying within a few weeks after, I could never recover those Papers from the Hands in zwhich they were lost. And this Milfortune was the greater, because I had no Copy of the Preface, but that single one, which was now loft. And from that Time to this, I could never find Leisure to recolle&the Substance of the Preface till within a few Months past.

I found it necessary to write a Préface, if it were only to support an Opinion hinted in the Sermon, viz. That Letters, or the Art of Writing and Reading, was first taught by God to Mofes. By Letters, I mean Alphabetical Characters. I deny not, that the Egyptians, and perhaps other Nations, VOL. II. A 2

used

.

Preface. Hieroglyphicks long before. The Ame

ricans might preserve some imperfect Re-
membrances of past Actions in Cotton
Fringes of divers Colours, variously knit,
or complicated together, before the Time
of Moses (if that Country were then in-
i kabited). The Eastern Astrologers might
register their Observations of the Mo-
tions of the Stars in Assyrian Letters,
as they were called, from the Times of
Abraham, or even of the Flood. Nay, I

not concerned to prove, that the
Chinese did not write in such Charac-
ters as they now do, before Moses was
born. For my Discourse is concerning
Alphabetical Letters only.

I shall comprize what I have to say on this Subject under these two Propofitions, viz.

anz

I. There is no Probability that Alpha

betical Letters were used by any
before Moses.

II. It is not probable that Moses, or any

other Man, first invented an Alpha-
bet by the Strength of his own Genius,
but that Moses first learned it from
God.

I. All will confefs, that Moses's Writings are the most antient of any now

extant;

extant; all, I mean, whose Judgment is Preface. to be valued. Nor do I suppose, that any Man will undertake to align the Name of any Writer, Book, or written Monument, more antient than Moses, though now loft; nor any of the fámé Age with him (except the Book of the Wars of the Lord, mentioned Numb. xxi. 14.) and therefore probably written by one of the LXX Prophets, or however, by some of their Scholars. Seth's Pillars are now given up as mere Fictions by all inquisitive Men. And though the same cannot justly be said of the Pillars in the Temples of the Phenicians, and Egyptians, and the Inscriptions made on them; yet it still remains to be proved, that any Inscriptions in Alphabetical Letters on those Pillars, or any other Monuments of those Nations, were more antient than Moses. The two Nations now mentioned are most celebrated of all others among the Heathen, for the Antiquity of their Records, and their great Care in writing and preserving them. And it is indeed most highly probable, that they, being next Neighbours to the Jews, should first of all get the Knowledge of Letters from them, and by this Means be enabled to transmit Memorials of their own Actions to Posterity sooner than any

other

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