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But Alexander himself in his Epistles speaks of no Miracle, but only says he passed by Climax as he came from Phaselis. Now 'tis plain this was no Miracle, by the joint Authority of these two excellent Historians, who make the Passage there an ordinary Thing; but the Mosaick Tranfit must remain a Miracle still, till you can find as good Historians to vouch for the fame Commonness of a Para sage through the Red-Sea.
3. As for your alledging the Tradition of the Ægypti- The Ægypans making this Miracle only a Trick of Moses: I think tian Tradithere is little to be built upon the Credit of the Ægyptian tion groundTraditions, which if hearkened to, would fill all History full of Fable. And they are lefs to be depended upon, when they seem to be set up on Purpose to discredit the Nation of the Jews, whom they had such a mortal Enmity to, and whom to discredit they coined so many Lies, as appears by the Books of Manetho, Lysimachus, &c. Well, but what is this Ægyptian Tradition? It is only a Report of the Memphites, which was as strongly oppofed by the Heliopolitans. As appears from the Fragment of Artapanus's History of the Jews *. Now the Memphites (fays he) tell, that Moses, who was well acquainted with all the Country, knowing the Time when the Tide would be out, carried over all the Multitude when the Sea was dry. But the Heliopolitans fay atherways, That the King followed the Jews going way with what they had borrowed from the Ægyptians, bringing with him a great Army and his holy Ani. mals. But Moses was commanded by a divine Voice to strike the Sea with his Rod; he touched the Sea with his Rods and the Waves giving Place, he led over his Forces in a dry Tract. Now set this Tradition of the Heliopolitans, which is very agreeable to the Letter of Scripture, and that of the Mera phites, which seems only to be a groundless Cavil against the Fews, both together; and what do they make more for the Infidels than the Believers? And why are the Memphites to be believed against the Scripture-History, more than the Heliopolitans for it? But there is no Won
'* Vid. Clem. Alex. Strom. Lib. 1. Euseb. Præp. Lib.9. Cap.27.
der to be made, but that there would be Variety of Tradia tionary Stories in the Neighbourhood about such a wonderful Occurrence as this. And thus we find a like Story among the Ichthyophagi, who were situated not far off from that Place of the Red-Sea, where the Ifraelites in Probability went over, being over against Mount Sinai, thus related by * Diodorus Siculus, adgi rois anndrov xaloririp. Among the Ichthyophagi, who live hard by, this History is handed down by Tradition from their Forefathers, that once there was a mighty Ebb of the Sea, so that every Place of this Bay was dry, which then looked green, the Sea flowing to the contrary Parts. But when the Earth had for some Time appeared, there then cane again a great Tide, and made the Bay as it was before. So that you see, Philologus, that these Traditions of the Ægyptians are so far from discrediting the Truth of this Mofaical Miracle, that they tend much to support it. It not being to be supposed, that the Tradition of such a remarkable Action should be totally loft in the Country where it was performed; or that it should be handed down with all the Particulars of Truth, with which he that did it himself has related it. And besides, if you consuļt the Descriptions of this Bay given by Belon, Furerus, Thevenot, &c. you will not find that any such Reflux ever happens there now, or that, tho’ there be fome Shoals which incommode the Ships, Men can at any Time pass over upon dry Ground. . Phil. This is pretty plausible, Şir ; but pray how will you be able to excuse his Laws from the Absurdities which they abound with? Now these stab the Jewish Religion to the Heart ; for how can those Laws have God Almighty for their Author, which do not so much as seem to be composed by wise Men? I cannot stay to. run through his whole System of Laws; but for my Part I look upon a great Number of them to be abfurd and ridiculous, others contrary to common Justice, and the rest but mean and pitiful, and unworthy of God the Author. What more silly than the Command of not
Author. 't mean and pitifurary to common
* Hist. Fab. Lib. 3:
Eating the Blood of an Animal? as if it was worth the Cognisance of a Legislator to forbid Men the Use of Black-Puddings. Is it worthy a divine Law to forbid the fowing of Mallin, or that poor Folks should wear Linsey-wolsey? And does it not look a little like a fest gravely to ekablish, that an Ox and an Ass shall not be yoked together? Besides, there are other Things in the Body of his Laws, which contradict the common Notions of ordinary Justice. What is the setting up in his Common-wealth so many Asylums, but only making a Rendezvous, or an Alfatia, for a Number of HedgeRogues to plague their honest Neighbours ? His Lex Talionis is unmerciful Cruelty; that when I by Chance, or in a Scuffle, have beat out a Man's Eye, I must stand still to let him bore out mine in cold Blood. His Redemption of Estates, after the Year of Jubilee, is to discourage good Parts and Industry, and to entail Estates for ever, it may be, upon the Block-headed Heirs of those particular Families which first laid Hands upon them. His other Laws about Murder, Theft, Sacrifices, &c. are such as are equalled by the meanest Common-wealths, and the ordinariest Superstitions ; only here are some Things more ridiculous than are to be found elsewhere, with a deal of Injunctions about Red-Cows, Scape-Goats, and forty Things more of the fame Nature. But if God had been the Author of these Laws, and this Institution, they had without all Doubt been grounded upon admirable Reason, excellently fitted to the Benefit of Mankind, and the Usefulness of them to Society, and to make Men good would have been apparent to all that considered them ; but these seem only to be an odd Jumble of arbi. trary Precepts; for which there is no other but a Wo. man's Reason to be given, Because, forsooth, God world courmand them. And is not this a fine Way of making Laws
Cred. I find you are running, Philologus, upon your The Few::, old Strain, and therefore I must beg Leave to interpose a the best of, little. I believe it is Want of due Consideration of the ? Laws of Mofes, which makes you talk against that, which
when you understand better, you would rather admire. For my Part, I look upon the Judaical to be the most excellene civil Constitution which ever was, or ever will be in the World ; and if you will but compare the three Legislative Books of Mofes, with what are extant of the
Åg prian, Arick, and Lacedemonian Laws, the Roman twelve Tables, their Plebiscita, and Imperial Rescripts, nay even when they were collected into the Digefts, you will find, that they all fall short of these Laws of Moses. I do not speak this at Random, nor in the least to detract from the Roman Laws; but considering the Circumstances of the Jewish Nation, their Laws do, I think, far exceed the other. Indeed the Jewish Laws were not drawn up into such an exact systematical Method, nor adorned with such artificial Terms, nor do so precisely fet out the minute Boundaries of Right and Wrong, as the Roman ; but yet they are betrer calculated for ordinary
Justice and neighbourly Society; and what is better yet, The extra- for Mercy and Charity : I say Mercy and Charity, and I ordinary defy any civil Constitution in the World to shew so maMercifub- ny good-natur'd Laws, and enacted with such a tender ness of them.
Regard to their Fellow-Creatures, as the Fews can. What more kind Constitution could there be, than to ordain Cities of Refuge for the innocent Man-slayer to fly to, to avoid the impotent Anger of the Relations of the killed, which according to the Custom of those Times, were wont immediately to revenge their Kindred's Death ; thereby to give him Time to clear himself: which if he could nor, the Law allows him to be dragged even from the Horns of the Altar, Exod. xxi. 14. The kind Usage which by those Laws is to be given to Slaves, and the Stripes which are not to be exceeded in punishing Crimihals, are another Argument of the Mercifulness of these Laws above others. The great Care which is taken to prevent Mischief which might happen by the flat-roof'd Buildings of those Times, by ordering Battlements to be made round them; and the Penalty of Women's taking abortive Potions, do confirm the same. The forbidding
the Fews to suffer a Beggar among them, and not allowing new married Men to be forced from their Wives the for it Year to the Wars, are a Tenderness which most on ther Nations are wanting in. Indeed the fame Laws punish Adultery with Death, but then they are so mild as to punish Theft with only abundant Restitution. In which San&tions you may see an admirable Temperament of Justice and Clemency; and which may serve for an Example to other Governments, where Adulteries, which are irreparable, are pretended to be recompensed by pecuniary Mulets; and Thefts, for which Restitution may be made, are Capital. Nay, in these Laws there is a tender Regard had to Beasts themselves, of which the forbidding to muzzle the Mouth of the Ox that treadeth out the Corn, is a sufficient Instance ; mercifully providing that the poor Beast which provides Sustenance for us, Thould not be denied its natural Cravings after its own. And so it is in the Case of the Coupling an Ox and, an Ass, and other teeśluga, tenderly taking Care, thar one Beast of greater Strength should not force another poor Creature of less. Toil beyond its Ability. Thus, much I have thought fit in fome few Particulars to point out the merciful Disposition of these Laws, which is not fo, visible in any civil Constitution in the World as in this. :
And besides, you may perceive as much Wisdom and The great excellent Design running through the whole Frame of it. Wisdom in
The Datinction of Families, and Registery of their Names, the - was the most useful Thing which could be in a Commonwealth ; thereby to know its own Strength and Abilities, to prevent Law-suits, and to fettle Inheritances. The fabbatical or fallow Tear was a noble Contrivance to keep a Country in Fertility, and from being worn out of Heart by covetous Tillers. The weekly Sabbath, setting aside the Religiousness of it, was a wonderful Ease both to Servants and Cattle, and must even upon this Account be : esteemed a very wise Establishment, which other Nations were wanting in. But their severe Punishment of Idolatry of all Sorts, and the great Encouragement of the WorShip of the one true God, from whom the whole World