Page images

sent age, if their sentiments could


down to posterity with any marks of public approbation. But as it is one part of our present happiness, so we cannot but consider with pleasure, that, however fond some are of objecting against all revealed religion, or of representing our legal establishment of the Christian to be an encroachment upon their natural rights and civil liberties; yet, when the history of those times which have been happily distinguished by your Lordship’s conducting the public counsels, shall be read hereafter; it will appear, that the truly great persons, who did most for the public happiness and liberties of mankind, were the truest patrons of the Universities, the Church and Clergy, and that in the best manner; by being as averse to all thoughts of persecution in defence of even true religion, as they were willing to favour those, who, by proper arguments, and a just behaviour and disposition, were industrious to recommend it to the world.

I am sensible that my ambition of your Lordship’s favour may be a disadvantage te my performance, by creating expectations,

which nothing' of mine can possibly answer. '. But, as I fatter myself, that a good inten

tion will appear through the whole; so, I hope, the prefixing your Lordship's name will remind the severer readers, how disa posed the truly great are to favour a well. meant design, though it be not executed by a hand able to carry it through in a manner liable to no exceptions.

1 am,


Your Lordship’s most obedient,

And most humble servant,



THIS second volume, which I now offer to the public, carries down the History of the World to the exit of the children of Israel out of Egypt. The method I have observed, is the same as in the former volume; and I have in this, as in the other, interspersed several digressions upon such subjects, as either the Scripture accounts, or the hints we meet with in profane authors concerning the times I treat of, suggested.

Sir Isaac Newton's Chronology was not published, until after I had finished both my former volume, and the preface to it; but as his sentiments upon ancient chronology have been since that time offered to the world, it will become me to endearour to give some

[ocr errors]

reasons for having formerly, and for still continuing to differ from him. I am not yet come down to the times where he begins his chronology; for which reason, it would be an improper, as well as a very troublesome anticipation, to enter into particulars, which I shall be able to set in a inuch clearer light, when I shall give the history of those times to which he has supposed them to belong. But since there are in Sir Isaac Newton's work several arguments of a more extensive influence, than can be confined to any one particular epoch, and which are, in truth, the main foundation of his whole scheme, and affect the whole body of ancient chronology ; I shall endeavour to consider them here, that the reader may judge, whether I have already, as well as whether I shall hereafter proceed rightly, in not being determined by them. The first which I shall mention, is the astronomicaloargument for fixing the time of the Argonautic expedition, formed from the constellations of Chiron. This seems to be demonstration, and to prove incontestably, that the ancient profane history is generally carried about three hundred years higher backward than the truth. The full force of this argument : is clearly expressed in the short Chronicle as follows:

1. “Chiron formed the constellations for the use of the Argonauts, and placed the solstitial and equinoctial points in the fifteenth degrees or middles of the constellations of Cancer, Chelæ, Capricorn, and Aries. Meton, in the year of Nabonassar three hundred and sixteen, observed the summer Solstice in the eighth degree of Cancer, and therefore the Solstice had then gone back seven degrees. It goes back one degree in about seventy-two years, and seven degrees in about five hundred and four years. Count these years back from the year of Nabonassar three hundred and sixteen, and they will place the Argonautic expedition nine hundred and thirty-six years before Christ.” The Greeks (says our

• See Short Chronicle, p. 25. The argument is offered at large in Chronology of the Greeks, p. 83.

« PreviousContinue »