Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

II.

BOOK tans were a part, came from the Pelasgi ; the language of

the Pelasgi was different from that of the Greeks, as appears by Herodotus in his Clio : ήσαν οι Πελασγοί βάρSapov ynőttav levres. Now the Pelasgi (saith he) are a dispersi

, a scattered nation ; thence he supposeth these Pelasgi, or banished people, to have come from the confines of Arabia and Syria, in which the posterity of Abraham and Ceturah had placed themselves. But, 1. It is uncertain whether the posterity of Abraham, by Ceturah, were placed so near Canaan or no. I know Junius endeavours to find the seat of all the sons of Ceturah in Arabia; but Mercer gives several not improbable reasons why he conceives them placed not in the East of Canaan, but in the Eastern parts of the world. 2. We have no evidence at all of any remove of these sons of Abraham by Ceturah out' of the parts of Arabia, supposing them placed there, nor any reason why they should be banished thence. 3: That which was the badge of Abraham's posterity, was never, that we read of, in use among the Spartans ; which was circumcision. Indeed, in much later ages than this we speak of, we read of a people among the Thracians who were circumcised, whom the Greeks themselves judged to be Jews. So Aristophanes brings the

Odomantes in. Aristoph.

Τις των Όδομάντων το σέoς αποτέθρακεν άν: act i. 5C. 4· αποτέθρακεν, (saith the Scholiast,) i. e. ανέτιλε, έλεαίνοντο δε

και απετάλλοντο οι Θράκες τα αιδοία και αποσεσυρμένα είχον αυτά. . Whereby it is plain that circumcision was in use among the Thracians; for these Odomantes were (saith the Scholiast) a people of Thrace : φασί δε αυτες Ιεδαίους είναι. It seems it was a tradition among them, that they were Jews. If so, it seems most probable that they were some of the ten tribes, who were placed about Colchis, and the adjacent places: for Herodotus in Euterpe saith, that the Syrians that lived about the rivers Thermodoon and Parthenius, learned circumcision from the Colchi; of whom he saith, Μάνοι σάντων Κόλχοι και Αιγύπτιοι και Αιθίοπες περιTéuvostai út' dpxeñs tá aidoid. Only the Colchi, and Egyptians, and Ethiopians had originally the custom of circum

cision. Or else the Odomantes might be some of the Strabo,l.xi. dispersed Jews in Armenia, where Strabo mentions a

region called Odomantis; and so they retained the name of the place from whence they came, after their removal into Thrace. But whatever these Odomantes were, they were far enough from the Spartans, who never were thus

Acharnen.

IV:

suspected of Judaism, nor laughed at for circumcision; CHAP. so that this opinion of Grotius, on that account, seems not very probable. Bochartus, who hath been so happy Bochart.de in many other conjectures, yet here gives out, unless it Phen. Col. may depend upon the testimony of Claudius Iolaus in l. i. c. 22. Stephanus Byzantius, who fabulously derives the Jews from one Judæus Sparton, who went from Thebes along with Bacchus into the wars; which Sparton they might confound with another Sparton, the son of Phonoreus, the founder of Sparta ; which yet is rejected as a fable by Pausanias in Laconicis. Surely the Lacedæmonians were very ambitious of kindred with the Jews, that would claim it upon such grounds as these, especially at such a time when the people of the Jews were under distress, and their kindred might be like to cost them so dear; and if they had never such a mind to have claimed kindred with the Jews, they would certainly have done it upon a more plausible testimony than the fable of one Claudius lolaus, that had neither sense nor reason in it; and yet supposing his fable true, it had been nothing to the purpose without the linking another fable to it, which was so gross,

that even the Greeks themselves were ashamed of it, who were always the most daring forgers of fables in the world. But let us see further what the divine (as some have loved to call him) Jos. Scaliger saith Scalig. Cato it. All that he saith, is only a wonder or two at it;

non. Isag. Quid magis mirum quam Lacedæmonios ab Abraham prognatos esse, &c. and a refutation of an absurd opinion, that Debalus, the father of Tyndareus, and grandfather of Castor, Pollux, and Helena, was the same with Ebal, mentioned Gen. x. 28. which there can be no reason for, since Ebal was the son of Joktan, and so of another race from Abraham ; and Joktan's sons were placed eastward, but chiefly Oebalus was within an hundred

before the destruction of Troy; but Phaleg, uncle to Ebal, died 664 years before Oebalus, in A. M. 1993. Thus far then we cannot find any plausible account of this claim of kindred; but though it be an endless task to make good all the claims of kindred in the world, especially to persons of power and authority, yet there being no visible interest or design which the Spartans could have in such a claim, especially at that time, with a nation generally hated and maligned by Heathen idolaters, we cannot suppose but there must be some at least plausible ground for such a persuasion among them. What if we should conjecture that the Spartans might find in the Greek

years

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a

BOOK version of the Pentateuch, which was much spread abroad III.

at that time among the sons of Ishmael, one whose name makes the nearest approach to their Cadmus, from whom they suppose themselves derived; for the youngest of Ishmael's sons was called Kedemah, Gen. xxv. 15. which the Syriac renders Kedem, the very name of Cadmus in the Eastern tongues. But this being a light conjecture, I pass it by, and return to the subject of our discourse, which gives a plausible account of the ground of this kindred. We have already shewed that the Pelasgi were the first who peopled Greece, (κατά την Ελλάδα πάσαν επεTómaos, is Strabo's expression of that nation, that it spread over all Greece ;) and withal it appears that the chief seat of the Pelasgi was in Arcadia, to which next adjoins Laconia, and therefore in all probability was peopled by them; and besides, the Dorians sprang from the Pelasgi, and the Spartans were a part of the Dorians, as appears already out of Grotius ; so that what kindred the Pelasgi

had, was derived down to the Spartans; and we have Gen. xi. 17, manifested that these Pelasgi were from Phaleg; and the 28.

Scripture tells us that Phaleg was the son of Eber, from whom Abraham came in a direct and lineal succession. And thus the Jews coming from Abraham, and the Spartans by the Pelasgi from Phaleg, they both came out of the same stock : for so Josephus expresseth it; not that the Lacedæmonians came from Abraham, but that the Jews and they were both évòs yéves, out of the same stock, and both had relation to Abraham; the Jews as coming in a direct line, the Spartans as deriving from Phaleg, from whom Abraham came. And thus much may now suffice to clear the first plantation of Greece, and to shew how consonant it is to sacred Scripture; which I have taken the more pains in, because of the serviceableness of this discourse to that' end, and to shew what use may be made of this kind of learning, for vindicating the honour of the sacred Scriptures.

The only thing remaining as to the origin of nations, is the peopling of that vast continent of America, which I cannot think we have yet sufficient information, either concerning the passages thither, especially east and north, or concerning any records the Indians have among themselves, absolutely to determine any thing in it. It seems most probable that the several parts of it were peopled at several times, and from several parts, especially north and east; but to go about absolutely to determine from what nation, in what age, by what means they were first

IV.

peopled, were a piece of as great confidence as ignorance, CHAP. till we have more certain discoveries of it. I choose therefore rather to refer the reader to the bandyings of this con- V. Grot. troversy in the many writers about it, than to undertake Joh. de any thing as to the decision of it. Only in the general it Laet. Horn.

de Orig. appears, from the remaining tradition of the flood, and

Gent. Amemany rites and customs used among them, that they had rica the same original with us; and that there can be no argu- V. Manesse

Ben Israel. ment brought against it from themselves, since some

Spes Israel. authors tell us, that the eldest accounts and memoirs Et Spizzel. they have do not exceed 800 years backward; and there- de Israel. fore their testimony can be of no validity in a matter of American. so great antiquity as the origin of nations is.

CHAP. V.

Of the Origin of the Heathen Mythology.

Saturn ;

I. That there were some Remuinders of the ancient History of the

World preserved in the several Nations after the Dispersion.
II. How it came to be corrupted: by Decay of Knowledge, In-
crease of Idolatry, Confusion of Languages. III. An Enquiry
into the Cause of that. Difficulties aguinst the common Opinion
that Languages were confounded at Babel. IV. Those Diffi-
culties cleared. V. Of the Fabulousness of Poets. The particular
Ways whereby the Heathen Mythology arose. Attributing the
general History of the World to their own Nation. The Corrup-
tion of Hebraisms. Alteration of Names. Ambiguity of Sense
in the Oriental Languages. VI. Attributing the Actions of many
to one Person ; us in Jupiter, Bacchus, &c. VII. The Remain-
ders of Scripture-history among the Heathens. The Names of
God, Chaos : formation of Man among the Phænicians. Of
Adam among the Germans, Egyptians, Cilicians. Adam under

Cain
among

the Phænicians ; Tubal-Cain and Jubal under Vulcan and Apollo ; Naamah under Minerva. VIII. Noah under Saturn, Janus, Prometheus, and Bacchus. IX. Noah's three Sons under Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto. Canaan under Mercury; Nimrod under Bacchus ; Magog under Pro, metheus. Of Abraham and Isaac among the Phænicians. X. Jacob's Service under Apollo's. The Bastórice from Bethel

l; Joseph under Apis ; Moses under Bacchus ; Joshua under

Hercules ; Balaam under the old Silenus. BOOK THE main particulars contained in the Scriptures conIII

cerning the history of ancient times, being thus far cleared, there remains only that evidence which there is of the truth of the historical part of those eldest times, in those footsteps of it which are contained in the Heathen mythology: For we cannot conceive, since we have manifested that all mankind did come from the posterity of Noah, that all those passages which concerned the history of the world should be presently obliterated and extinguished among them, but some kind of tradition would be still preserved ; although by degrees it would be so much altered for want of certain records to preserve it in, that it would be a hard matter to discover its original, without an exact comparing it with the true history itself from whence it was first taken. For it fared with this

I.

« AnteriorContinuar »