« PreviousContinue »
supposed that Chiron, who most probably lived one thousand one hundred
before Hipparchus, and almost three thousand years ago; should have really left a most difficult point of astronomy so exactly calculated and adjusted, as to be a foundation for us now to overturn by it all the hitherto received chronology? If Chiron and all the Greeks before, and for six hundred years after his time, put together, could not tell when the year began, and when it ended, without mistaking above five days and almost a quarter of a day in every year's computation; can it be possible for Chiron to have settled the exact time of mid-summer and mid-winter, of equal day and night in spring and autumn, with such a mathematical exactness, as that at this day we can depend upon a supposed calculation of his, to reject all that has hitherto been thought the true chronology? As to our illustrious author's argument from the length of reigns; I might have observed, that it is introduced upon a supposition which can
never be allowed, namely, that the ancient chronologers did not give us the several reigns of their kings, as they took them from authen
tic records; but that they made the length of them by artificial computations, calculated according to what they thought the reigns of such a number of kings, as they had to set down, would amount to åt à medium one with another. This certainly never was fact; but, as Acusilaus, a most ancient hisa torian mentioned by our most illustrious author, wrote his genealogies out of tables of brass; so it is by far most probable, that all the other gencalogists, who have given us the length of the lives or reigns of their kings or heroes, took their accounts either from monuments, stone pillars, or ancient inscriptions, or from other antiquaries of unsuspected fidelity, who had faithfully examined such originals. But as I had no occasion to pursue this fact, so I omitted mentioning it, thinking it would be sufficient to defend myself against our learned author's scheme, to shew, that the length of the kings' reigns, which he supposed so much to exceed the course of nature, would not really appear to do so; if we consider what
• Chronol. p. 46.
the Scriptures represent to be the length of men's lives and of generations in those ages, to which these reigns belong. As to the ancient empire of Assyria, I submit what I have offered about it to the reader.
After so large digressions upon these subjects, I cannot find room to enter upon the particulars which are contained in the following sheets.
I wish none of them may want a large apology ; but that what I now offer the public may meet with the same favour, as my former volume ; which if it does, I shall endeavour, as fast as the opportunities I have will enable me, and my other engagements permit, in two volumes more to finish the remaining parts of the undertaking.
Shelton, Norfolk, Dec. 10, 1729.
entering into Egypt, he was full of thoughts of the evils which might befal him in a strange land ; and considering the beauty of his wife, was afraid that the king, or some powerful person of the country, might fall in love with her, and kill him in order to marry her. He therefore desired her to call him brother. They had not been long in Egypt, before the beauty of Sarai was much talked of; she was therefore brought to court, and the king of Egypt had thoughts of marrying her; but in some time he found out that she was Abram's wife. Hereupon he sent for, and expostulated with him the ill consequences which might have happened from the method he had taken ; and generously restored Sarai, and suffered Abram to leave his country, and carry with him all that belonged to him. Abrar's stay in Egypt was about three months. The part of Egypt where he travelled was the land of Tanis, or lower Egypt; for this bordered on Arabia and Philistia, from whence Abram had journeyed. His coming hither was about the tenth year of the fifth king of this country; for Menes or Mizraim, being as before said, king of all Egypt until A. M. 1943, and the reigns of the three next kings of lower Egypt taking up (according to Sir John Marsham's tables) one hundred and thirty three years ; the tenth
* Gen, xii. 11.
of their successor will carry us to A. M. 2086, in which year Abram came into
Abram, after coming out of Egypt, returned into Canaan, and came to the place where he formerly first stopped, between Bethel and Hai; and here he offered a sacrifice of thanksgiving for the happy events of his travels.
Lot and Abram had hitherto lived together; but by this time their substance was so much increased, that they found it inconvenient to be near one another. Their cattled mingled, their herdsmen quarrelled, and the land was not able to bear them; their stocks, when together, required a larger tract of ground to feed and support them, than they could take up, without interfering with the property of the inhabitants of
c Gen, xiii.
b See rol. i. b. v. 248. • Gen, xii. 7.