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tion, judgment, the rewards and punishments of a future life, are mentioned by the inspired writers, long before the introduction of the gospel, or Hesiod's theogony. Pythagoras taught the metempsychosis, or transmigration of souls, long before Seneca taught Nero to declaim. , Even ancient errors shew how ancient was the belief of the foul's immortality; and demonstrate, that it is to be ranked amongst the first traditions of mankind. Did not almost all men sacrifice to the manes, that is, to the fouls, of the dead? From one extremity of the world to the other, people of different humours, coun-' tries, worship, interest, agree in this important article of immortality. It is no collusion: for a general association of mankind could never be formed. Nor a prejudice of education: for manners, customs, and education, are different, in different nations. This notion of immortality is common to all. Remote isles and foreign nations figured to themselves, shades and climates, through which the roving spirit .was to travel, after its separation from the body. Hence, the custom-of killing wives and officers, at the death of their kings; lest the royal ghost should travel without attendants. This several nations practiced: and the Indians, distinguished by pagan authors, amongst the first aslertors of the immortality of the soul, were also the first that introduced those horrid murders upon . earth.
earth, which they practise to this very day. Nature, then, taught the soul's immortality, without a monitor; or rather, the Almighty has stamped its notion on our existence: and savage people, in forgetting God, could not forget themselves.
There are stijl some religious, as well as philosophical paradoxes in your writings, besides the capital errors already mentioned. I have not leisure to examine them all.
You say, that, from the continual waste of "mould, washed away by the rain, the animal '' world will become extinct, for want of vege"table food." This, I suppose, is advanced with a design to invalidate the oracles which foretel the world's dissolution by fire. A prodigious quantity of the liquid element is wasted in watering fields, woods, &c. Doctor Halley is of opinion, that the Mediterranean loses in vapour, five thousand five hundred and eighty millions of tons, in a day; and receives but one thousand eight hundred and twentyseven, from rivers: so that it would soon be drained, unless a great quantity returned in dew and rain upon it.
It seems, then, to me, that the animal world will be extinct^ for want of drink. But a greater prophet than either of us, foretold the world's dissolution by fervent heat.
You argue against the Chinese antiquities, /torn the waste of mould. By the same rule, you can argue against Moses' account' of the creation. Bur, to argue against the antiquities of any nation, from the -waste of mould, is nothing better than toafte. of time. The European missionaries convinced the Chinese of their error, by reckoning the eclipses of the fun, in a conference with iheix learned men, when the emperor of Tartary became master of China, it was the surest rnethpd, and that by which Callisthenes baffled the pretended antiquity, of the Babylonians, when Alexander took their city.
^ If Moses be an allegorical writer, it is hard, "from the waste of mould," to determine when the Alps emerged from the chaos.
You are of opinion, that, before the deluge, "none but giants inhabited the earth." Before the deluge, the world had its Davids and Gohahs, its Fionnmacools and Ujhions. Moses talks of giants, as rarities: "In them days, there "were gmnts on the earth." A rarity is an exception to the general rule, and supposes a more extensive class of beings.
The longevity of the antediluvians can be' ascribed to two causes: the one supernatural in order to perpetuate religion, and give the apd patnarchs time to instil it into, the minds
of their spreading generations: the o$er natural, viz. their sobriety, the simplicity of their diet, the salubrity of the air,' not corrupted by :he noxious vapours which role from the earth, after the flood, the fertility of the soil, &c. You know the state of the world, before the deluge, so well, that you six " the age of puberty at the age of sixty-five." I believe that procreation began, before the deluge, as early as at present. Or else, they must have been monstrous babes that were at the breast, and fed with spoon-meat, at the age of twenty. By the rules of analogy, we may judge of their nubile state, by the tall Prussian, and low Laplander.- The size is disproportionate: but the age for marrying is the same in both.
You deny any confusion of tongues at the dispersion: because what has been translated language, signifies lip, in Hebrew. Sometimes it does: but the addition of speech signifies something more. "And the whole earth was "of one language, and'of one speech."* And what is here translated speech, signifies words, in the original Hebrew.
You deny that there were any propitiatory sacrifices. There are sin-offerings, notwithstanding, mentioned in the scriptures: "For the "bodies of those beasts, whose blood for sin is
*' brought * Genesis, chap. ii.
** brought into the sanctuary, by the high "priest, are burnt without the camp." In proof of your opinion* you mention " Pytha** goras's hecatomb for being able to prove the "properties of a right-angled triangle: Jeph*' tah's offering up bis daughter: Baal's priests "cutting themselves with knives," to propitiate their god: and, to crown all, you- assert, that the God of Israel changed sides, when the king of Moab sacrificed his son on the walls of his
But^ sir, were not sacrifices instituted by the Almighty God? Why should his holy rites and ceremonies be set on a level with heathen profanations, Baal's priests, and Pythagoras'sidols? A sacrifice is the oblation of a sensible thing, by a lawful minister, in honour of the Divinity, in acknowledgment of his supreme power over life and death. Not only human victims were interdicted by the law, but even several animals; such as asses, hares, &c. Hence^Jephtah's sacrifice, if he killed his daughter, was a cruel murder: be was no fit priest: his daughter was no fit victim : and God cannot be honoured by a breach of his own law.
I fay, " ./she killed his daughter:" because, in, the original Hebrew, it may as well signify, ** devoted to the Lord:" meaning that he devoted • a Kings, chap. iit.