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LECT. I. markable agreement with what appears in the
condition of man, and of this terrestrial creation, it seems highly improbable that they should have proceeded from any source but that which comprehended the nature, the laws, and the relations of all things. They appear to imply a knowledge which could not have been acquired by any of those means which men possess. They display an insight into the laws and facts of nature, which we find it impossible to ascribe to the individual writer, or the people among whom he had received his education. If the information imparted by this writer upon the subjects about to be examined shall be found of so peculiar a character, so accurate, so comprehensive, so anticipative of all that has been brought to light by science and been experienced by ourselves, as to preclude the possibility of attributing it to the ordinary sources of human knowledge, we seem, then, to have no alternative left us, but to accede to his own statement; a statement, be it observed, supported by various other more direct evidences, that he was a prophet sent of God.
So far as general truths and universal principles ciples of na of nature can be discovered by human effort, we
know perfectly well, that great labour, cautious investigation, patient research, and much time are demanded. They require a large induction of particulars, and a great accumulation of facts, before they can be securely and confidently asserted. It is a rare case for such principles or
Difficulty of establishing general . ture.
accounting for the know.
truths to be brought to maturity by a single Lect. I. mind. The first, in general, merely suggests them. Others, frequently in a long succession, and after elaborate investigation, verify and prove them in all their bearings. When, therefore, we perceive how slowly great principles and general laws are discovered, even by the most comprehensive and accomplished minds in the present day, it must appear altogether incredible that Moses should have ascertained all the great natural truths, which he records, by his own researches, or derived them from the wisdom of the Egyptians.
None, we presume, will attribute to him such Methods of vast attainments in human philosophy, as to sup- ledge Muses pose that his cosmogony was built upon principles which he himself had scientifically wrought out. This were a supposition, so unsupported by any facts, and so wholly unsanctioned by analogy, that it would seem to require supernatural endowments, and, in the issue, be found to imply scarcely less than the inspiration we claim for him. It would, indeed, involve far greater difficulties than the frank admission of his prophetic character. But the other supposition, which has been a favourite one with some adversaries, that the source of his extraordinary knowledge is to be found among the Egyptians, may be proved quite as untenable, and may be almost as readily disposed of.
There was a time, indeed, when Bailly, Voltaire, Egyptian and Volney disturbed the faith of Christians, by
LECT. I. their crude speculations upon the advanced state
of Egyptian and Indian philosophy. They paraded their zodiacs and astronomical calculations, and determined the existence of science in those countries, to be at least ten or twenty thousand years prior to the date of Moses. And then there were the Egyptian hieroglyphics, the hoary monuments of early science, which, if they were but deciphered, would not only demonstrate the inaccuracy of the sacred chronology, but show that all the peculiarities of the Mosaic narrative, the simplicity and sublimity which had so long been the admiration of the christian world, was all contained in the amazing wisdom of the Egyptians, and borrowed originally from them. How did these worshippers of the yet unknown and mute spirit of Egyptian philosophy long for the day which should unlock the hidden treasure ? How did they sigh for the diviner that should expound the hand-writing which was destined to overthrow the Bible, and
great Hebrew legislator a mean and hypocritical plagiarist. But the day, which these vain boasters were spared the mortification of living to witness, is arrived. The skilful and gifted diviners have appeared. The hieroglyphics are read. The hand-writing is interpreted, and the last of the savans, such as Greppo, Bovet, Rosellini, Burton, Wilkinson, and Major Felix, who have, since Young and Champollion, made these ancient monuments the subject of their learned and labo
rious researches, all testify that their discoveries LECT. 1. tend uniformly and invincibly to support the accuracy
of the Mosaic records. We shall have occasion for showing, hereafter, in reference to particular facts, that no such knowledge as Moses displays ever existed in the schools of Egyptian wisdom, and it may, therefore, be merely observed in brief here, that if the Egyptians had possessed this knowledge, and taught it generally in their schools during the early life of Moses, it must have been a matter of common belief, and of ordinary instruction : and, further, that it must have perpetuated itself among them, or have left clear traces, identifying their knowledge with that of Moses.
Moreover, the science which they possessed must have passed to other nations, who are well known to have copied from their system. The discoveries which have of late been made in their early history, must have brought to light some traces of these doctrines, and proved the Egyptians to have been men of true science. But nothing of the sort is the case.
All we have ever learned of the Egyptians, places them and their opinions, at that early period, or, indeed, at any period of their history, far enough from any identity of opinion or belief with Moses; while their chronology is now shown accurately to correspond with his.
But here are his writings, certainly originating The Mosaic at or about the date ascribed to them by the Jews, as can be proved by various collateral and undeniable testimonies, containing a system of cosmo
Date of the world-Extinct race
LECT. 1. gony, a theory of the origin, condition, and laws
of human nature, and affording such a statement and explanation of facts and first principles, as was not merely sui generis, and peculiar to that single writer, but the only ancient statement or theory consistent with itself; the only one that has stood the test of time, experience, and philosophy. Surely, if we can make out a harmony between its statements and such facts as could not have been foreseen by human wisdom, nor predicted by natural science, we shall be entitled to the benefit of an undeniable inference in favour of the inspiration to which Moses lays claim.
In the first place, it is to be observed, that the Geological order of creation, as detailed by Moses, though
very brief, and by no means to be subjected to severe and fastidious criticism, yet involves facts and statements which require to be verified by sound philosophy. If Moses was the inspired legislator we believe him to have been, it is impossible that his statement can be at variance with those records of the divine power and skill, which are imprinted upon the rocks, or conserved in that splendid museum of nature, which the perforated earth is now everywhere disclosing to us. The statement Moses has put on record, brief as it is, and designed as it must have been, not for the critical eyes of philosophers, but for general and popular information, yet affords, as we conceive, a remarkable test of the peculiar knowledge, and perfect accuracy of the writer. The facts he has
epochsOrder of creation.