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Gale, Owen, Godwyn, Vossius, Stillingfleet, Bochart, and Bryant, he conceived that considerable and important evidence might be extracted from profane antiquity, in favour of Divine Revelation. It is true, perhaps, that no such testimony is needed, as the holy scriptures contain abundant internal evidence of their genuineness and authenticity. Yet the employment may not be deemed unuseful, which contributes something, in however humble a manner, to the augmentation of the already innumerable. proofs, that the bible is the book of God, bearing on every page the stamp of inspiration.
Should the present design prove an acceptable one, another volume, on some future occasion, may be added, respecting the history given by Moses (not particularly of the deluge, as that has been so ably exhausted, but) of the various circumstances subsequent to the diluvian period. This will account for the following introductory observations taking rather a wider range, than merely the present subject would have rendered
Since the completion of this treatise, Mr. Faber's three quarto volumes on the Origin of Pagan Idolatry, have been put into the hands of the author; who was agreeably surprised at finding several of the sentiments in that erudite work, corresponding with his own. Yet, considering all the circumstances, he does not conceive the present undertaking to be superseded by the superior merits of that noble, and laborious, but unfortunately less accessible publication.
Some of the principles laid down in the course of the ensuing dissertation, may possibly appear. too often repeated. The writer has doubtless done much for which an apology is necessary; but he ventures to conclude his preface, with a passage from that prefixed to the Hierozoicon by its incomparably ingenious author, whom he has sometimes attempted (magno intervallo) to follow through the fields of learning; stylum quod attinet, nemo a nobis expectet mellitos verborum globulos, et dicta quasi sesamo et papavere
Ornari res ipsa negat, contenta docere
Page 26, line from the top 4, for tower, read lower.
1, Atafanta, read Atalanta
pened certain events so momentous in their nature, and so important in their results, as to attract the attention of all who lived upon the earth at that time; and in consequence, they became objects of attention ever afterwards. W
The traditionary history of each of these wonderful occurrences descended from generation to generation, and however from distance of time, and other causes, it might vary in minor particulars, retained always its most striking features. At length a divine revelation was given, perfect of course in all its parts, and bearing on every line the impress of its Almighty Author. This signal favour of provi-4
dence was appropriated to one peculiar people; and for the wisest reasons, other nations were left destitute of so unspeakable a blessing. Yet every tribe, in the meanwhile, preserved, with the most religious reverence, its own accounts of what had happened in past ages; and these various traditions, as gathered from the best writers of antiquity, being found to possess a striking agreement in their main outline, with the inspired history, afford singular but important proof of its genuineness and authenticity.
What a learned author has remarked respecting the traditions of the deluge, and its subsequent circumstances, will apply to almost all others. "It is observable, that the further we go back the more vivid the traces of the truth appear, especially in those countries which were nearest the scene of action. But the reverse of this would happen, if the whole were originally a fable. The history would not only be less widely diffused, but the more remote our researches, the less light we should obtain; and however we might strain our sight, the objects would by degrees grow faint, and the scene terminate in clouds and darkness. Besides this, there would not be that correspondence and harmony in the traditions of