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thro' it. Therefore the Same Indulgence, that hath been granted to Selden, Grotius, Bochart, Marsham, F. Simons, Spencer, and Others in their Observations upon the Hebrews, and in all their Oriental Enquiries, may also reasonably be expected for Monsieur Le Clerk, who often refines upon them all, and keeps within the Decorum, which a Wife Man would never exceed.
What hath been said for the Philological Part may extend to the Physical, in which if M. Le Clerk hath offended any nice and delicate Scrupulosty, He hath many Orthodox Predecessors in the same kind, both beyond the Seas, and in this Country, not to name any more than Bishop Wilkins, Seth Ward, Isaac Vossius, the Learned Bishop of Worcester, the celebrated Master of the Charter-House, who Apologizes very ingeniously for so doing ; but there is a sort of Men, who cannot endure any diffent from Moses his Philosophy, (unless it be in themselves) and
pretend to steer exactly according to the Mosaick Chart in all their Systems ; yet so unfortunate are they, that they frequently run upon the fame Sands and Rocks, where they have split others ; Clodius accusat Mæchum, Catilina Cethegum; and such is the luck of these upright Authors, who very awkardly strain the Phantomes of their own Brains into the Old Testament, that they put all into confusion, and had better let it rest in Sacred Silence ; the Church would do well to enjoyn such Writers,not to weave their own Threds
with those of Moses, least the old Nap should be loft, and a party.colour'd Coat appear in its
What a monstrous Mofaick dress have we in Whiston's Theory with a train of Comets at bis Tail; in Woodward's Eslay with all the Mountains down about his Heels ; in Nicholl's Conference with multitudes of Arks, or new Miracles of preserving in, or else creating de novo after the Flood, and with his Lyons in Greenland.
'Tis wonderful that these Men should venture to beat up the unenvy'd Solitudes of a Carthufian, (who never hunts after the common prey of Dominion and Wealth, as being inconsistent with our Blessed Saviour's Kingdom) and at the Same time expose themselves to the prosecutions of cvery vulgar Eye ; but with this difference, that be bath left Mofes pure, free, and undefiled as he found him, whereas they have polluted him with their own mixtures, and make him act what part they please, in any habit, or under
mask, as beł serves their Scenes and Opera's. How Mall the Children of Israel know their true Moses, so patch'd and disfigurd with the borrowed Plumes of such Birds of Paradise. The Apostle gave good advice against the vain Philosophy of these Men, who corrupt the Scriptures by introducing their own Chimerical Hypotheses into them, that
thereby they may stamp them Standard, and cry
be allow'd to be as good an Interpreter as any Prelate in Christendom; and Dr. Burnet as great a Friend to Moses as any Chaplain or Vertuoso in England.
1. The Design of these Differtations. II. That the
Hebrew Tongue is no more the Primitive, than any of the other Oriental Languages.III.That the Difference of Languages arose from the Disper. fion of Mankind. IV. That Abraham spoke the Chaldean Tongue. V. That Hebrew was originally the Language of the Canaanites. VI. That it was a barren ambiguous Language, and carried but to a small Perfection by the Israelites. VII. In what Condition it was after the Babylonian Captivity. VIII. What Care the Israelites at that time took of the Sacred Volumes.
LTH O'tis not my Intention in
these Preliminary Discourses to ramble through all those common Places,
which relate to the Old Testament in General, yet I thought it improper to put a Treatise of this Nature into the Reader's hand, without any foregoing Address or Ceremony. As I was frequently obliged to let down several
things in my Annotations for known or granted, because I could not prove them there at large, without running into perpetual Digressions which I always studiously avoided; fo I judged it à propos to handle and prove them more copiously in these Dissertations, least the
prejudiced Reader should imagine that I have all along built upon a precarious Foundation. Now the things which I barely deliver'd in my Comments without farther Proof, may be chiefly reduced to these three Heads : 1. The Hebrew Tongue. 2. The Method I follow'd in my Interpretation. 3. Whether Moses was the Author of the Pentateuch, and what end he
proposed to himself in writing. I shall begin with that concerning the Hebrew Tongue, and manage the other Points as they follow in order. But before I proceed any farther, the Reader is to be informed, that I never designed to discuss all the Questions that are usually proposed concerning that Language, but only such as are of absolute Necessity towards the better understanding of my Commentary, which I Thall handle just as they come into my Head, without confining myself too Religiously to Method and Regularity : Therefore he is not to expect any compleat elaborate Discourse at my hands, which I neither promise here, nor ever had it so much as in my Thoughts to perform.
II. The Jews out of a Fond Affection to their own Country, and several Christians who are