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the truth of events on which the history of our religion rests its early claims.
The Grecian and Roman writers who composed accounts of their respective nations in later times, retain proofs that the earlier reports confirmed the relations of Scripture ; and modern enquirers, who have taken a general and comprehensive view of the subject, and illustrated the connection between sacred and prophane history, have made out as clear a demonstration of a common origin and early connection as can be expected, in a detail of events so remote.
CHAP. II. On the Remains of Chaldean History which
confirm the sacred Accounts.
The great antiquity of the Assyrian empire, and the connection, which from the earliest periods subsisted between the inhabitants of Nineveh and Babylon, and the Israelites, must naturally lead us to expect traces of correspondence between those few memorials which are to be found in the fragments of their history still preserved, and the reports of the sacred historians.
Berosus, the Babylonian historian appears to have been a priest of Belus at Babylon, and a native of that city; he wrote a history of the Chaldeans, in three books. When the Macedonians, under Alexander the Great, took possession of Babylon*, he acquired from them the Greek language,
* Tatian cont. Græc. Biblioth. Patrum, vol. i. p. 184. Edit. Paris, 1624.
and quitting Asia, settled at Cos *, and thence removed to Athens, where he became distinguished by his astrological productions, and where a statue was erected to him. His history was collected from ancient records carefully preserved in the temple of Belus , and was dedicated to Antiochus Soter, king of Syria, who began his reign B. C. 279; or, as some suppose, to his son, Antiochus Theos. It was esteemed of high authority by the Orientalists and Greeks. It contained an account of the first ages of the world from the creation, and of the dynasty of the kings who reigned in Chaldea before the flood. The chronology is obscure, and extended beyond all truth and reasonable limits. Josephus and Eusebius have preserved many fragments of it, from the Greek of Alexander Polyhistor, which concur, in some respects, with the accounts of Scripture. There are five books of a spurious history under the name of Berosus, which contradict, in many points, the genuine fragments of Berosus, and which were composed, probably, by a later writer.
* Vitruvius, lib. ix. c. 7. Edit. Amstel. 1549.
† Joseph. contra Apion, lib. i. Varreni censur. in quen. dam auctorem qui sub falsâ inscriptione Berosi circumfertur, Rom. 1765.
Berosus appears to have given a narrative of the creation of the earth and of the heavens from chaos, of the destruction of mankind by the food, of the preservation of one family in the ark, of the building of Babel, and of the genealogy of the sons of Noah, which exhibits a resemblance to the relations of Moses, but which is disguised often by fiction. He represents it as a report, that some remains of the ark were to be seen on the Cordyæan mountains in Armenia in his day; and states that the people were accustomed to scrape the pitch from the planks, and carry it about for an amulet *.
He seems to describe Abraham without naming him, as a t just and great man, who lived among the Chaldeans, in the tenth generation after the deluge, and who was skilled in celestial matters; and be appears to relate the account of the destruction of Sennacherib's army under Rab-shakeh, stating, in conformity with Scripture I., that one hundred and eighty-five thousand men, with
• Joseph. Antiq. lib. i. c. 3. $6. Edit. Hudsen, 1720. Euseb. Præp. Evang. lib. ix. c. 11. Huet. Demon. Prop. 4. C. 2. § 18. Edit. Paris, 1679.
+ Joseph. Ant. lib. i. c. 7. I 2 Kings xix.
their leaders, were exterminated in one night by a pestilential disease, from the Divinity ; and that Sennacherib, panic-struck and agonized by this calamity, fled with the remainder of his force to Nineveh, his capital, where, after a short time, he was slain in his own temple of Arasca (Nisroch,) by the treachery of his elder sons, Adrammelech and Sarasar (Sharezer,) who being driven into banishment for the murder of their father, went into Armenia ; upon which Assaraehoddas (Esarhaddon,) succeeded 10 the kingdom *. He mentions the conquest of Judea by Nebuchadnezzar, the demolition of the temple, the leading away of the Jews to captivity, and the order issued by Cyrus that the temple should be rebuilt, in perfect consistency with the accounts of the sacred historians t.
Eusebius has transmitted to us an extract from the writings of Abydenus, a Greek historian, who probably flourished under one of the first Ptolemys, as relating to the history
* Antiq. lib. x. c. 1 et 2. Biblioth. Patrum, lib. xv. p. 117. Colon 1022.
+ Antiq. lib. x. c. 11. Joseph. cont. A pion, lib. i. $ 19. Euseb. Præp. Evang. lib. ix. c. 40. Clem. Alex. Strom. lib. i. p. 392. vol. ii. Edit. Potter.