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thod. Hist.



as Breerwood shews; our own by the Normans and CHAP. others. So that were there not a diversity of languages supposed, this interfering of people would bring no

8 "wood's Enconsiderable alteration along with it, no more than a quiries,c.5, colony from New England would alter our language here. And as for another cause assigned of the change of languages, the difference of climates, which Bodin Bodin. Megives as the reason why the northern people use con-c.9. p. 370. sonants and aspirates so much, especially the Saxons, and those that live by the Baltic sea, who pronounce thus, Per theum ferum pibimus ponum finum. And so R.D. Kimchi observes of the Ephraimites, Judges xii. 6, that it was the air that was the cause of their lisping, and calling it Sibboleth, as he there observes the Mayer. men of Sarphath, that is, the French, that they could Chaldaism. not pronounce Schin, but pronounced it like Thau“. I. Raphe. But by these examples we see that this would cause only an alteration as to some letters and syllables, and rather as to the pronunciation, than any variety of the language. So that we see that, setting aside the confusion of languages at Babel, there can be no reason sufficient assigned for the variety of languages in the world. 2. Though it be granted that a confusion in their minds, without distinct languages, were enough to make them desist from their work, yet the context in that place, Gen. xi. doth infer a diversity of tongues, as will appear from the antecedents and consequents; as from the first verse, where it is not conceivable why it should be there taken notice of as such a remarkable circumstance, that then they had but one language before they set upon this work, if there was not a diversity of tongues caused by the work they went about; but especially ver. 6, where God takes such notice of this very thing, that they had but one language, wherein they were so confident


BOOK to carry on their work; therefore, ver. 7, when he

_ would destroy their work by confounding their lan

guage, it must be by multiplying that language into many more; for it must be taken in opposition to what is said in the other verse. And what is there added, their not understanding one another's speech, seems to refer not to their inward conceptions, as though they did not understand one another's minds, but to the outward expressions, as nov doth apparently relate to them: further, in ver. 8, this is set down as the cause of their dispersion; which, had the tongue been the same afterwards as it was before, could have been no reason for it. Again, some argue from the name Babel given to the place, from Sba, which signifies to con found and mingle things of several kinds together. So used Judges xix. 21. Isaiah xxx. 24. Job vi. 5, &c. thence the name bai for baba, the middle 5 left out, as in Golgotha for Golgoltha, Kigaltha for Kilkaltha, and others of a like nature. Besides, there seems to be somewhat in what is said, that the families were divided according to their tongues, Gen. x. 5, 20, 31; which doth at least imply a diversity of tongues among them; the cause of which must be assigned by them who will not allow of the confusion and division of languages at Babel. Further, this seems most agreeable to God's end in making of them thus leave off their work, that there might be not only a present judgment upon them, but that which might remain to posterity as a note of the folly of their ancestors. Those who recede from the common opinion, lest they should give advantage to infidels by attributing that to a miracle which might be done without, seem to be more wary than wise in it. For besides that it is certain that miracles may be in those things which might be effected otherwise by natural causes, when they are


ct. 54

produced without the help of those causes, and in a CHAP. space of time impossible to nature; and that it hath not been as yet proved how such diversity of tongues as is in the world would have been effected without such a miracle, it must be granted by them that there was a miracle in it; and what greater difficulty there should be in the variety of languages, than in the signification of the same words, I understand not. But I see no necessity of asserting that every one of the families had a distinct language; and the common opinion of 70 or 72 (as the Gr.) families, and as many languages, is now taken for a groundless fancy by Bochart. learned men; as is easily proved from the dividing fa- c. .

Geog. I. i. ther and children, whose families could not certainly be be without them; and some supposed to be unborn Ibid.

sect. 68. then, as Joktan's 13 children; especially if we say, as many do, that the confusion was at the birth of Phaleg, and Joktan was his younger brother, as the Jews generally do. To the last objection it may be replied, that the agreement of languages in some radical words doth not infer the derivation of the one from the other; as is plain in the Persian and German, in which learned men have observed so many words alike. And so by Busbequius of the inhabitants about Tauric Cherso-Lips.cent.3.

Ep. xliv. nese; and so in most of our modern tongues there may Busbeq be some words alike, without any such dependence or Ep. xxiv. derivation. Again, though it be granted that the languages of them who were at Babel were confounded, yet it is not necessary we should say that all Noah's posterity were there. It is thought by some that they Mayer. Phi

lol. Sacr. were chiefly Cham and his company; if so, then Sem p. ii. c. 6. and his posterity might retain the language they had before, only with some variations. But this is very uncertain, unless we take it for Heber and Phaleg, from whose vicinity other bordering nations might


BOOK make use of many of their primitive words; and for

the Greeks, it will be granted that many of their words, especially the old Boeotic, had affinity with the Hebrew; but it was from the Pelasgi at first, and Cadmus the Phænician afterwards; the old Canaanitish language being, if not the pure Hebrew, yet a dialect of that tongue, as is proved by many learned men. But however these things be, it is not necessary to say that all mother-tongues, so called, were then existent at that confusion : but the present curse did divide their languages who were there, and that all division of languages since is to be looked upon as the effect of that curse.

It being thus manifested what a strange, confusion of languages was caused in the world, we may thereby easily understand how the ancient tradition came to be corrupted and altered in the world.

Another reason of the alteration of the ancient traditions, was the fabulousness of the poets : for these made it their design to disguise all their ancient stories under fables, in which they were so lost, that they could never recover them afterwards. For the elder poets of Greece being men of greater learning than generally the people were of, and being conversant in Egypt and other parts, did bring in new reports of the ancient times, which they received from the nations they went to; and by mixing their own traditions and others together, and by suiting what was remaining of the ancient tradition to these, they must needs make a strange confusion of things together, and leave them much more obscure and fabulous than they found them. And herein all their cunning and subtlety lay, in putting a new face on whatever they borrowed from other nations, and making them appear among themselves in a Greek habit, that the former owners of those tradi

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tions could scarce challenge them as theirs under so CHAP. strange a metamorphosis. For those things which were most plain and historical in the fountains whence they derived them, they did so Tepateúelv, as Clemens Alexandrinus speaks, (or as Origen, napakoúcartes åvé-Clemens

hot Strom. 6.c. ahagav,) wrapt them up under so great mythology, that Orig.cont. the original truths can hardly be discerned, because of Celsum, that multitude of prodigious fables with which they have inlaid them. But as great as their artifice was in the doing this, we may yet discern apparently many of those particular courses which were taken by them to disguise and alter the primitive tradition.

1. Attributing what was done by the great ancestors of mankind to some persons of their own nations. Thus the Thessalians make Deucalion to be the person who escaped the flood, and from whom the world was peopled after it. And whoever compares the relation of the flood of Deucalion in Apollodorus, with that in the Scripture, might easily render Apollodorus's Greek Apollod.

Biblioth. in the language of the Scriptures, only changing Greece 1. i. p. 19. into the whole earth, and Deucalion into Noah, Parnassus into Ararat, and Jupiter into Jehovah. On the same account the Athenians attribute the flood to Ogyges; not that the flood of Ogyges and Deucalion were particular and distinct deluges, which many have taken a great deal of needless pains to place in their several ages, but as Deucalion was of the eldest memory in Thessaly, so was Ogyges at Athens; and so the flood, as being a matter of remotest antiquity, was on the same account in both places attributed to both these : because as mankind was supposed to begin again after the flood, so they had among them no memory extant of any elder than these two, from whom, on that account, they supposed mankind derived. And on the same reason it may be supposed that the Assy

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