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discover my presumption and expose nothing which renders the fituation of
means carried into the earth; this
To the EDITOR of the LONDON MAGAZINE.
invention of letters, written by the ledge of letters, and committed many late eminent profefior Ward of Gre. things to writing. And it is the opiMam college his opinion inclined to nion of many learned men, that letters fix the use of them prior to the giving were not unknown to the people of the law on mount Sinai; but the the antediluvian world. Pliny says, ingenious Mr. Bryant, in his “new literas femper arbitror Allyrias fuisje. Tyłem of ancient mythology," thinks But this was only matter of opinion ; that there was no writing antecedent and, as he, a professed geographes, to that period. Doubtless your rea• makes no diftinction between the Af ders will be pleased to see the ar. syrians and Babylonians, who were guments used by both sides, on so in two very different people ; but introterefting a subject.
duces the former by mistake for the Mr. Bryant observės, “ that accor. latter ; we cannot pay much regard ding to Berosus, both Oanges and to nis notions in chronology. If the
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people of the first ages had been porn with letters, the latter are more genesessed of fo valuable a secret, as that rally received, and more abundantly of writing; they would never have used. For the practice of writing, or, afterwards descended to means less in other words, composing, depends perfect for the explanation of their upon previous reading, and example. ideas. And it is to be observed, that But the Cadmians, who brought the invention of hieroglyphics was letters to Greece, brought those elecertainly a discovery of the Chaldean's; ments only : and those much later, I and made use of in the first ages by believe, than is generally imagined. the Egyptians; the very nations, who Nor had the Helladians any tendency are supposed to have been possessed of to learning, till they were awakened the superior and more perfect art. by the Afiatic Greeks, and the illandThey might retain the former, when ers, who had been sooner initiated they became possessed of the latter ; in science. They had made a great because their ancient records were en- progress; while their brethren in the trusted to hieroglyphics ; but, had west were involved in darkness. And they been poffefled of letters origi. this early knowledge was not owing nally, they would never have devia. to any superiority of parts, but to ted into the use of symbols ; at least, their
acquaintance with the people of for things which were to be published the East, and with the writings of to the world, and which were to be those countries; by which they were becommemorated for ages. of their nefited greatly. Composition depends hieroglyphics we have tamples without upon science; it was introduced in end in Egypt , both on obelisks, and Hellas together with philosophy. in their lyringes; as also upon their Anaxagoras of Clazomenæ brought portals, and other buildings. Every the learning of the Ionic school to mummy almost abounds with them. Aihens : he was succeeded by Arche. How comes it, if they had writing so laus, of whom Socrates was a follower. early, that scarcely one specimen is Writing, I am sensible, was antececome down to us; but that every ex. dent: but at this time it became geample should be in the least perfect neral. About this period, Theognis, character ? For my part, I believe Æschylus, and Pindar nione forth in that there was no writing antecedent poetry, and the ancient comedy was to the law at mount Sinai. Here the first exhibited. After which, wondivine art was promulgated; of which derful specimens of genius were in other nations partook : theTyrians and every kind displayed. Sidonians first, as they were the nearest “ Another reason for this deficiency to the fountain-head. And when this seems to have been the want of such discovery became more known, even materials as are necessary for expedithen I imagine, that its progress was tious and free writing. The rind very low : that in many countries, and leaves of trees, and Mells from whíther it was carried, it was but the seas, can lend but small assistance partially received, and made use of towards literature ; and stones and to no purpose of consequence. The Nabs are not calculated to promote it Romans carried their pretensions to much further. Yet these seem to Jetters pretty high ; and the Helladian have been the best means, that they Greeks ftill higher; yet the former could in early times procure, to mark marked their years by a nail driven down their thoughts or commemorate into a post: and the utmost effort of an event. The Chaldeans and BabyGrecian literature for some ages was lorians are greatly celebrated for their fimply to write down the names of the wisdom and learning: and they were Olympic victors from Coræbus ; and undoubtedly a most wonderful people.; to register the priestesses of Argos. and bad certainly all the learning that Why letters, when introduced, were could arise from hieroglyphical represo partially received, and employed to sentations. They had, I make no so little purpose, a twofold reason doubt, the knowledge of lines, by may be given. First, the want of which geometrical problems must be antecedent writings, to encourage illustrated : and they had the use of people to proceed in the same track. figures for numeration : but limagine, Where science is introduced together that they were without letters for ages.
Epigenés said that the Babylonians, having this knowledge : at which time who were great observers of the hea- they were ingenious, and wise above vens, had accounts of those observa., the relt of the fons of men ; but had tions for feven hundred and twenty no pretensions to literature properly years, written upon plinths baked in so called. For, I cannot help formthe fun. * Epigenes apud Babylonios ing a judgement of the learning of 720 annorum observationes fiderum coelia a people from the materials with libus laterculis infcriptas docet gravis wbich it is expedited, and carried on, au&tor in primis. Qui minimum, Bero- And I thould think that literature fus et Critodemus, 49° annorum. Ex must have been very scanty, or none quo apparet æternus literarum ufus. I at all, where the means abovemencan see no proot from hence of the tioned were applied to. For it is impoleternity of letters, for which Pliny fible for people to receive any great contends : nor, indeed, do I believe, benefit from letters, where they are that letters existed among them at the 'obliged to go to a fhard or an t oyster time of which he speaks. . For if shell, for information; and where they had been so fortunate as to have knowledge is consigned to a pantile. had for a long time thele elements, As to the high antiquity assigned to they were too ingenious a people not letters by Pliny ; it is impollible to to have used them to better purpose. give any credence to that author, who The Babylonians: had writing among from 720 years infers eternity, and them sooner than most nations of the speaks of those terms as synonyearth : but the years taken notice of mous." by Epigenes were antecedent to their
* Plinii Hift. Nat. lib. 7. p. 413. Seme profix M. or Mille to the other numa bers, and make tbe sums 1720 and 1490.
+ Osiracismus, Petalismus, Liber, Folium, Tabella, Latercula. . From wrin ting upon leaves and spells, came the terms Peralismus and Osracismus among the Preeks : from the bark of trees ceme Libri of the Latins.'
For the LONDON MAGAZINE. Some Thoughts addressed to Soame Jenyns, Esq. on bis View of the internal Evio
dence of ibe Chrifiian Religion. SIR, CAM one among those who are glad ted the one Lord. Indeed you own tian, yet beg leave to make a few taught man the unity and attributes remarks on your View. Under your se- of the Supreme Being." cond propofition, you say, “ from this And altho' you speak of a trinity, book (the New Testament) may be ex. yet you have confesied it can be no tracted a system of religion intirely new object of faith, face " if taken in the with regard to the object."- pre- extensive sense of an asent to the evisume this to be a capital mistake : for dence of things not seen, it comprehends the object is the same one God, the the existence of a God and a future God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Ja. Atate, and is therefore not only itself cob; the God, who at fundry times a moral virtue, but the source from and in divers manners (pake in times whence all others must proceed ; for past to the fathers by the prophets, but on the belief of these all religion and hath in these last days spoken to us by morality must entirely depend.". But his Son ; so that, unleis you will have as the trinity cannot be an object of it that the prophets were aforetime the faith, by your own definition, you object of worthip, you cannot conclude have been tempted to lay down this that the Son is; since he with the pro. very extraordinary propofition, “ had phets was but a messenger and revealer this revelation been less incomprehenof the divine will. To us Christians, lible, it would certaindy have been there is but one God the Father, and more incredible.” Which is surely the man Christ Jesus he has conftitu. to acknowledge the trinity to be among