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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.
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.
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
Preface. Hieroglyphicks long before. The Ame
ricans might preserve some imperfect Re-
not concerned to prove, that the
I shall comprize what I have to say on this Subject under these two Propofitions, viz.
I. There is no Probability that Alpha
betical Letters were used by any
II. It is not probable that Moses, or any
other Man, first invented an Alpha-
I. All will confefs, that Moses's Writings are the most antient of any now
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