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Greek, from hence the Latin, and from that again the French, the Spanish, and other European languages; which in proportion to their distances from Afia, have undergone the greater change. But with refpect to the Hebrew, Arabic, and Phoenician, it may with great propriety' be faid,

Facies non omnibus una eft,

Nec diverfa tamen, qualem decet effe fororum.

SKETCH

SKETCH V.

THE LEARNING OF MOSES, AND WHENCE DERIVED.

FROM

ROM fearching the records of ancient writers, it must be acknowledged, that the first rudiments of general knowledge were derived from Egypt, and were confpicuous in the writings of Moses, in teftimony of whose wisdom a crowd of learned witneffes could be produced. It is indeed ftrange that Origen fhould fay, "Now the name of Mofes is heard which was fecreted among the Jews, for none of the Greeks mention him, nor have we any Gentile history that names him, but now that Chrift has enlightened the world, with him has been introduced the Law and the Prophets."

It is certain, however, that Mofes has been mentioned in a very respectable light by pro

phane

phane writers, both before and after the time of Origen. Demetrius Phalereus, who was acknowledged to have been eminently skilled in the Grecian laws, and who had read attentively the Jewish books, acknowledges with candor and ingenuity the Jewish code of laws, και φιλοσοφοτέραν ειναι και ακεραιον ως αν εσαν Θειακ, to have been wifer and more facred than others, being of divine original. Chalcidius thus fpeaks of Mofes, "Sapientiffimus Mofes, non humana facundia fed divina ut ferunt infpiratione vegetatus." Longinus alfo, the most eminent of critics, gives a remarkable testimony, as do alfo many others. Many, indeed, were the falfe and erroneous accounts given of Mofes, and the Jews, by perfons who were intirely ignorant of their history, or who wrote thro' prejudice and difaffection. Tacitus fays, the Jews originated in Crete; that they were called Ides, from Mount Ida, whofe inhabitants were called Idei. Some called them Ethiopians, others Affyrians, or that the Solymi, celebrated' by Homer, were the founders of Jerufalem: again, they are reprefented as Egyptians, who had been expelled by Bocchoris, on account of an infectious disease; that in this ftate, deferted by gods and men, they readily followed

followed Mofes, as their General; that in the course of their journey, being in want of water, they were led to the discovery of a fountain in a rock by means of wild affes. Suidas, who wrote five books concerning Rome, fays, "that a woman, whofe name was Mofo, invented the Jewish laws." But fuch idle, contradictory, and absurd accounts are by no means fufficient to throw the least odium on Mofes or his laws. As well might it be alledged as an argument against the christian religion, that ridiculous historical mistakes pass current among the Turks; fuch as, that Job was one of Solomon's judges; that (Ifcander) Alexander the Great, was Captain-general of his army; that Philip of Madecon was one of the ancestors of our bleffed Lord, and that Sampson, Jonas, and St. George were his cotemporaries.

The true and proper method of forming a judgment of Mofes is from his own works; and it will, and does appear, even to perfons who are not friends of Revelation, that he was επαιδευθη πάση σοφια Αιγυπτιων learned in ali the wifdom of the Egyptians, and was also δυνατος εν λογοις και EV Eyois powerful both in words

and deeds.

After the moft minute inquiry, I am of the confirmed opinion, that fuch perfons G

alone

alone, who adhered to the true worship of God, were at all times to be confidered, men of the foundest wisdom and knowledge; the perfection of the moral system being infinitely of greater confequence than the greatest literary acquirements; and it being natural to suppose,, that good men would never neglect the cultivation and improvement of any fcience, which might be confidered as generally useful to fociety. And I do firmly believe, that were Mofes acquainted with the present Newtonian philofophy, and his people properly prepared to receive it, he would not have thought it unworthy of his notice. But his first and great defign being to turn the hearts of the difobedient to the wisdom of the juft-to inculcate the doctrine of one God, and totally to eradicate all idolatrous principles, all his exertions were turned to this most important point: yet, that he was fully acquainted with all the known progress of science, is most natural to suppose, as it is univerfally acknowledged by all eminent writers, that literature firft took its rife in Egypt, and from thence became diffused thro' the whole world.

We are told that Ham, and his family, fettled on the banks of the river Nile; that the fame manner, as the neceffity of dividing

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