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UTICA CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE.
For the Utica Christian Magazine. ANSWERS TO DEISTICAL OBJECTIONS.
With respect to the Phenician accounts, Sanchoniathon is the only Phenician writer of any note, and he conTHE opposers of divine revelation firms, and that very strongly the acare sometimes men of high pretensions count of Moses, as well with regard to to learning and science. And they lime, as to other circumstances. not unfrequently bring forward, with With respect to the Hindoo accounts, An imposing confidence, pretended it may be observed, that no man has facts in history or philosophy, to inval-extended his inquiries further into idate the scriptures. One or two of their history and antiquities than Sir these have been so often repeated that || William Jones. He entered on these it may not be amiss to take notice of inquiries, as he professes, with an atthem. The first is, that by an inquiry tachment to no system, and as much into the history and antiquities of some disposed to reject the Mosaic history, of the eastern nations, it is found that if it were proved to be erroneous, as they have authentic records, which go to believe it, if he found it confirmed. much farther back, than the period as- And the result of his laborious re: signed in the bible for the creation of searches into the chronology, history, the world. And in support of this, the mythology, and language of the east, appeal has been made to the Egyp- was a perfect conviction of the truth tians, the Phenicians, the Hindoos, of the Mosaic account. And he has and the Chinese. satisfactorily shown, that the Hindoo accounts confirm, in many striking and important particulars, those of Moses; and especially that their chronology, in its true import, harmonizes with the chronology of the bible.
The Egyptian historian, who claims for that nation a more remote antiquity than the Mosaic period of the crea tion, is Manetho. But the assertions of this writer on this subject, plainly deserve no credit. He pofesses to With respect to the Chinese acderive his accounts from books or re- counts, the following extract is in cords, written in the Greek language, point. It is taken from "Memoires and laid up in the Egyptian temples by sur les Chinois," a very voluminous the second Thoth. But at the time and elaborate work, composed in Chialledged by Manetho, as the date of ne, by several learned Frenchmen, these writings in the Greek language, who had spent many years in their there was no such language as the researches; and contains a very full Greek; nor was there any such nation and satisfactory account of their histoin existence as the Greek, till long afry and chronology, their arts, scienterwards. Besides, all his accounts ces, and literature, ancient and modof times very ancient, are mere accounts of names, without facts, and without vouchers; and therefore deserve not the least attention.*
• Panoplist, vol. 3. p. 287.
VOL. 2. E e
"The Chinese literati, consider the history of the times before Fo-hi as fabulous, and not entitled to credit, Fohi founded their empire, and is said to have invented astronomy, music and
characters for writing. He established proposed to notice, is one stated in laws, regulated marriage, which was Brydone's Tour through Sicily and before unsettled, and rendered his sub- Malta, and is summarily as follows: jects happy, and in a measure, civiliz-That a stratum of lava, which is suped. The history from Fo-hi to Ho-posed to have flowed from Mount Elang-ty is reckoned as uncertain, but nona in the time of the second Punic war, doubt contains a good deal of truth. about 2000 years ago, is not yet suffiFrom the sixtieth year of Hoang-ty to ciently covered with soil to produce the present day, the history and chro-either corn or vines. Hence it is connology is considered as fully authenti- cluded, that it requires 2000 years to cated, and to be relied upon as correct. change the surface of lava into a ferThe 60th year of Hoang-ty, answers tile soil. But in digging a pit near Jato the year 2637 before the Christian ci, in the neighborhood of mount Etna, era, according to the chronology of seven distinct lavas, were discovered, the septuagint, to the year 1079 after one under another, most of them covthe deluge, and to the year 113 be- ered with a thick stratum of rich soil. fore the birth of Abraham. From this And, hence, it is concluded, that the time back to Fo-hi, they reckon ten lowest of these lavas flowed from the reigns, lasting in all 824 years; and mountain 14000 years ago; and that if this calculation be supposed correct, the earth is of course more than 14,000 it will fix the beginning of the reign of years old. Fo-hi in the year 255 after the deluge.
"The errors of Cassini, Gaubil, Martini, and others, on the subject of Chinese chronology, appear to have arisen chiefly from their confounding the text of the authentic history, with the hear-says, and fables of the numerous commentators, which are frequently contradictory and absurd."
To this objection, the following answer is decisive. The mass which covers the ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii, in the neighborhood of mount Vesuvius, consists of seven distinct lavas, with veins of good soil between them. But the lowest of these lavas we know to have flowed from Vesuvius in the year 79 after Christ, a little This extract shows, on the best au- more than 1700 years ago. This furthority, that the Chinese have no ac-nishes complete proof that lava may counts, to which they themselves give be covered with a fruitful soil in about any credit, of times prior to the year 250 years, instead of 2000; and con255 after the deluge: and that the ac-sequently, that the different lavas counts which they have been supposed to have, of earlier times, are not to be found in what they consider their authentic history, but only in the "hear says and fables" of the commen- These are specimens of those obtators. And if the Chinese literati jections which pretended philosophers themselves consider all accounts of so frequently bring against the scriptimes before Fo-hi as fabulous, there tures. It is seen that these have no is no reason why we should consider foundation in truth. And the humble them in any other light; much less believer may rest assured, that howthat we should, on the credit of these ever specious the objections may apfables, reject the Mosaic history. And pear, and how great soever the confiif men who are acquainted with these dence with which they are brought facts, profess to believe these fables, forward, they can all be answered, and on their account to reject the Mo-with equal ease by those who are acsaic history, we may justly conclude quainted with the sources from which that they are either the most design- the objections are drawn.
ing or the most credulous of all men.
The second objection which it was
which have flowed from mount Etna, instead of proving the earth to be more than 14000 years old, do not prove it to be 2000.
-OF THE VENERABLE FATHERS OF NEW-ENGLAND.
meetings for prayer, fasting, and religious conference. By the blessing of God upon these means, he was brought to an acquaintance with his own heart, to a knowledge of divine truth, and, apparently, to a perpetual union with the divine Saviour.
1588. He was son of the Rev. Wm. Being thus brought to an estimation Wilson a prebendary of the church of the truths of religion as of the first at Rochester. His parents, who de-importance, Mr. Wilson proceeded to scended from a very respectable ances- a very careful consideration of the try, and sustained an exemplary Chris-great subjects of controversy between tian character, were very attentive to the advocates of the religious establishthe education of this son. They took ment and the non-conformists. This pains to impress his mind with an ear- was about the time that Mr. Robinson ly abhorrence of all vice, especially, and his people removed to Holland, falsehood. After receiving the rudi- when the debates between the contenments of his education under their im-ding parties were, perhaps at their mediate inspection, he spent four years height. After a laborious, prayerful, in the celebrated Eaton School. At and conscientious attention to this subthat school he delivered a latin oration ||ject, Mr. Wilson concluded it to be his in the presence of the French embas-duty, though with the prospect of the sador, the Duke of Biron, from whom greatest temporal sacrifice, to refuse he received a particular commendation to comply with many of the prescribed and reward. In his fifteenth year, he ceremonies of the established church. was removed to the University, and A great part of the regulations of the became a member of King's College, University were appointed by ecclesiCambridge. After completing the re-astical authority, and were considered gular course of studies, he was elected by the non-conformists as unscriptural a Fellow of the college. During his and improper impositions. By a noncontinuance in the fellowship, he be-compliance with these regulations, Mr. came acquainted, in a very providen-Wilson soon brought upon him the notial manner, with the writings and tice and censures of authority. His preaching of several pious puri-father and others used great exertions tan divines, whose instructions were to persuade him to conform; but bethe means of engaging his mind to alieving himself called in the holy provvery serious attention to divine things. By the habits of his education, he had imbibed a great antipathy to all who were denominated puritans. But in the distresses of his soul, he found him- His father finding that he had emself irresistibly inclined to seek for in-braced the sentiments of the puritans, struction to those who had been the contrary to his former intentions, subjects of his aversion. He soon wished him not to engage in the work found his moral state to be that of a of the ministry; but now desired him lost sinner, and that he was dependent to enter one of the Inns of court, to on sovereign mercy for an escape from pursue the study of the law. Wishing to everlasting death. While he continu-manifest a filial obedience in every ed to improve every opportunity of thing which was not forbidden by a attending the ministrations of evangel-paramount duty to God, though his ical preachers; by the advice of the ex- heart was wholly set upon the glorious cellent Dr. Ames, he connected him- ministry of reconciliation, he compliself with a number of serious persons ed, and engaged in the study. But in the University, who held private that God to whom he had dedicated
idence of God to raise his testimony against those unscriptural impositions, he steadily refused. He was therefore obliged to leave the University.
his life did not forsake him. In the and influence, the suspension was, ai Inns of court, he fell into an acquain-length, removed. But as he still pur tance with several young gentlemen sued his former course, he was conwho were seriously inclined, with stantly liable to be apprehended, and whom he attended on the preaching subjected to fines, forfeitures, and per of evangelical ministers, and was ena-petual imprisonment. The only albled to maintain a life of religion. Af-ternatives now presented him were, a ter three years spent in the study of violation of what he deemed the plainthe law, he was admitted to the higher est dictates of duty, a submission to honors of the University: after which, unrelenting persecution, or a voluntaby the consent of his father, he wasry exile from his native country. soon authorized to be a preacher of the chose the latter. The plan of a colgospel. This work he pursued, with la- ony for the establishment of the pure borious study, with an ardent zeal for religion of the gospel being now proChrist, and for the salvation of souls.-jected. Mr. Wilson cordially engaged Previous to his commencing a preach-in the important design. With the er of the gospel, he made a private large company that established the resolution, "That if the Lord would Massachusetts colony, he united his lagrant him a liberty of conscience, with bors and hopes, and came to America purity of worship, he would be con-in the year 1630. The first church tent, yea thankful, though it were at the gathered by the company was the one futhermost end of the world." He at Charlestown, of which Mr. Wilson had not been long a preacher, before was the minsiter. The congregation inhe was solemnly ordained as a min- cluded the two settlements at Charlesister of Christ. Still he had no particu- town and Boston. The year followlar charge. He had frequent and ing, a separate church was organized pressing invitations to settle in partic-at Boston, of which Mr. Wilson beular places, but the precarious situation came the pastor.
of all ministers who were accused of In the spring of 1631, Mr. Wilson non-conformity, induced him to de-sailed to England, and after an abcline several advantageous offers. At sence of a year, returned to Newlength, however on receiving an ear-England with his family. His affecnest invitation from the people of Sud-tionate people at Sudbury were very bury, he accepted of their call and desirous to have him still conclude to was installed their pastor. During the spend his days with them. His near short period of his labors in this place, connections used every exertion to his ministry was attended with an em-dissuade him from a return to the inent blessing of God. Many that American wilderness. But his heart were openly vicious and erroneous, was too much set on the great work were brought to the love and obedi-of rearing colonies and churches for ence of truth. He pursued his work with diligence and constancy, as if knowing that it must be short, that he might do something for God.
the honor of the Redeemer, to be diverted from his design. On his return he was attended by a number of pious and worthy planters. A few years af In this quiet retreat, Mr. Wilson ter, he again visited his native councould not be permitted to rest. The try, to receive a valuable legacy which sticklers for conformity, learning his had been left him by a deceased brothsteady perseverance in omitting the er. On the voyage, the ship became prescribed ceremonies, fearing the ef-very leaky, and there was every prosfect of his weight of character, called pect that all must be lost. A day of him before the ecclesiastical courts, fasting and prayer was kept on board, where he was censured, and suspend-on account of the danger, and, in the ed from the ministerial office. By the time of the exercise, the leak was disBaterposition of friends of high station covered and closed, On his return
to New-England Mr. Wilson was ac-and love, he continued to a late period companied with a large number of set- of life. Having survived the greater tlers, many of whom were persons of part of his cotemporaries, and the character and distinction. most of the first settlers of the country, he died in 1667, in the seventy-ninth year of his age.
The Antinomian errors which were introduced by Mrs. Hutchinson and others, which greatly affected the The life of this venerable man, was church at Boston, gave Mr. Wilson eminently devoted to the service of the deepest concern. Temperate and his Lord. After devoting himself to firm, he bore a uniform testimony for the duties of religion and the work of the truth of the gospel, and with every the ministry, he ever appeared to feel indication of tenderness and love, he that he was not his own. He had enused unwearied efforts to reclaim the gaged for Christ, and wherever he di erronous, and to confirm others in the rected his way, it was always his detruth. Those errors, by the partic-sire to pursue the course, undeterred ular circumstances with which they by any obstacles which might resist, or were inculcated, were, for a season, any burden which he might be called highly popular, and many worthy men to bear. No one of the New-England were drawn into the snare. Mr. Wilson fathers was more sincerely engaged had long been used to leave ali conse-for the interests of true religion in the quences with divine providence, when towns and churches of the colonies, called to witness for truth, and now, pursuing the plain and direct course, he was a most eminent instrument of preserving the churches from convulsion and ruin. He was one of the most active and influential members || of the venerable Synod of 1637, which suppressed those dangerous errors.
than Mr. Wilson. To the promotion of this great object, his eminent talents his extensive learning, his unwearied exertions, were always devoted. His mind was as steady in adversity as in prosperity, strengthened by the conseious integrity of his own intentions, with a uniform reliance on the perfect In the war of the Pequod Indians, wisdom of all the appointments of God, in 1637, a chaplain for the Massachu- he rejoiced to labour or to suffer for setts troops being designated by lot, him. He was favored with a valuable Mr. Wilson was called to the service. property, and used it as a faithful stewBeing eminently, a man of prayer, the ard to God. Having devoted his life soldiers viewed him as a host in the to rear an infant colony and church for day of battle During the greater part the honor of his Redeemer, his propof his ministry at Boston, Mr. Wilson erty, when needed for the same object was favored with a colleague who was could not be withheld. In the distressteacher of the church. This placees of the first winter, when the colony was held twenty years by Mr. Cotton, had to contend with the horrors of and ten years by Mr. Norton. As famine, while he labored to comfort pastor of the church, Mr. Wilson was the desponding with a recollection of peculiarly laborious, in frequeut prea-the sufferings and deliverances of the ching in exhortation, visiting, and do- people of God, in every period of the mestic instruction; keeping a constant church his house was open to the neeand affectionate attention to the spirit-dy, administering relief, to the last porual interests of his people. He also tion it contained, and the last which spent much time in the neighboring could be procured. On every call for towns, generally attending their week-the exercise of liberality, whether for ly lectures. The whole colony enjoy- the common welfare or the relief of ed the benefit of his pious zeal, his em- the destitute, he was a most faithful inent acquaintance with divine truth, example to his flock, by devising libhis patient example, and his unmerit-eral things. He possessed an uncom ed prayers. In these labors of faithmon degree of the benevolence of the