Page images
PDF
EPUB

in their capacity of warriors, that they were swifter than Eagles, they were stronger than Lions: and the allusion cannot be thought to interfere with the Levitical distinction; for eagles and lions are not separated from the clean animals for their strength or their swiftness abstractedly considered, but for the ferocity which applies these excellent properties indiscriminately to the purposes of contention, rapine, and bloodshed. The dog is an unclean animal with many unclean properties; but for his vigilance", fidelity, and sagacity, he surpasses all other creatures, and becomes a proper assistant to the shepherd; in which capacity the Prophet Isaiah, chap. lvi. 10. alludes to him as an example to the ministers of God's word, whose office it is to guard the flock from the incursions of the wolf: for they who give no warning of the enemies of the Church are reproached as dumb dogs that cannot bark; a name which in modern times has been accommodated by men of heat and zeal to what bishop Latimer calls unpreaching Prelates.

• - Nunquam, custodibus illis,

Nocturnum stabulis furem, incursusque luporuin,
Aut impacatos a tergo borrebis Iberos.

Virg.

The

The instance, which of all others seems most opposite to the established order of the Animals in the Law, is that representation of the blessed and the cursed at the day of judgement in Matt. xxv. 32, &c. under the figures of Sheep and Goats. But the difficulty of this similitude is removed by the manner in which it is introduced. It does not proceed on the ground of any specific differences between Sheep and Goats, (though the sheep in respect of its colour, and its good qualities. will be allowed the preference) but on the act. of separating one party from the other--he shull separate them one from another, as a. Shepherd divideth the sheep from the Goats. , If this grand division is illustrated by the act of a Shepherd, no division under the direction, of a Shepherd can be agreeable to nature, but, of such cattle as are committed to the charge of a Shepherd. If Wolves or Swine had been assumed instead of Goats, the contrast between the animals might have appeared more striking, but the act of separating them could not have been attributed to a Shepherd; by whose Office Christ was pleased on many oc- . . casions to signify his own as the Saviour, Judge, and Ruler of his people.

IV...

IV. In my reflexions on the learning of the Egyptians, at p. 68. I have followed the general opinion in supposing them to have practised three different sorts of writing, and have given the account in the words of Marimus. But this matter having been considered more attentively by a learned friend, for whose judgment and erudition I have the highest respect, I shall offer his sentiments to the Reader in his own words. " You have a

quotation from Marimus's Preface to Horapollo, to shew there were three sorts of writing among the Egyptians. Above

twenty years ago I had a particular occa"sion to search into the truth of this asser“ tion, and could find no grounds for it,

though it is asserted by Diodorus Siculus, “ Lib. iii. and by Clemens Alexandrinus, Lib. v. p. 555. Edit. Paris. 1629. The “ Inscriptions on the Tables of Isis, the Obe“ lisks, and the breasts of the Mommies, are “ all in Hieroglyphics, and we have no footsteps

of any other sort of writing till after “ the times of Alexander the Great, when “ the Greek Alphabet was first introduced “ under the Ptolemies, from whence it is “ supposed the Coptic took its rise. I know not the age of Maximus, but should think

< him to be far later than Diodorus Siculus, a who is himself by no means ancient enough " to attest a fact at least 500 years older than “ himself, without some concurrent evidence. “ There is not the least scrap of any

hieratic " writing remaining in any old Author. The

inscriptions on the Obelisks given us by Tacitus (Annal. l. ii. p. 42. edit. fol. Basil. 4 1519) and by Ammianus Marcellinus (l. xvii.

p. 145. edit. Gryph. 1552) shew the Hieroglyphic to have been the common Character of the country before they had an Al

phabet; for it is not likely they would have “ chosen to have locked up the praises of a “ vain glorious King in Mystic figures known

only to a few, when the visible design of “ those very magnificent monuments was to

display the honour of their Kings and “ the Glory of their Country. Marcellinus

judiciously calls these symbolic figures the

beginning of knowledge. Formarum autem innumeras notas, Hieroglyphicas appellatas,

quas ei undique videmus, incisas initialis “ sapientiæ vetus insignivit autoritas. We “ have no good authority to introduce ano" ther sort of writing among the Egyptians “ but the Hieroglyphic and the Greek. Had “ there been a third, certainly some footsteps

« would

VOL. III.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“ would have remained besides the ipse dixit “ of Diodorus, from whom it is probable " Clemens and Maximus borrowed it.”

Maximus is a modern Greek writer. He calls himself bishop of Cythera, an island between Candy and the Morea, now called Cerigo. There is a second Letter from him addressed to the person of Hæschelius the Editor of Horapollo, and it is dated, as his Preface is, in the year 1595. His account is therefore of no value, but for the remarks intermixt with it.

V. My subject led me naturally at p. 68. to reflect on the moral use of the Animals in the Fables of Esop; and that again hath since led me to enquire after the original of those fables. But the dissention among authors is so great concerning this matter, that nothing certain can be determined. Quintilian ascribes them to Hesiod as the first author; Phædrus speaks of Esopus Auctor. As to the conjecture of Sale, translator of the Koran, and Bayle, that they are to be ascribed to Lokman, an eastern fabulist, and that there was no such person as Æsop, it is of little credit. Fabricius, in his Bibliotheca Greca, an author of good repute, does indeed express a doubt whether the Fables under the name

of

« PreviousContinue »