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As I think it probable that the reader may admit ed permanent by induration of the brick. I shall this idea in the instance of the patriarch Shem, I only refer to one author on this article at present. shall attend somewhat further to the evidence for Eusebius, in Chron. says, “ The remains, or recthe practice of this art among Gentile nations. ords of Thyoth, Thoth, were inscriptions on pillars
Plato, in Phedro, expressly attributes the inven- [ΣΤΗΛΩΝ, Ιερα διαλεκτω και ιερογραφικους γραμμασι tion, practice? of letters to the Egyptian Thoth, the xex apartneuouerwr) written upon in the sacred lanHermes, or Mercurius Trismegistus, thrice-great, of guage, and in sacred characters; and Agathodemon the Greeks; but Thoth is understood to have been translated them, out of the sacred language into the assistant and secretary to his father Mizraim, and Greek tongue, in sacred letters. These pillars were Mizraim was son of Ham. Vide Diod. Sicul. lib. i. in caves, &c. i.e. temples, in rocks, grottoes, &c. cap. 8, 35; Euseb. Prep. Ev. p. 36. But from places at once sacred and secure, such as are now exwhence did Thoth receive these letters? for I take tant in India. for granted that he did not invent them. Some I hasten to undertake the desperate cause of a authors attribute the invention of letters to the coun passage in Josephus, Antiquities, lib. i. cap. 2. which try of Syria, as Diodorus Siculus, lib. v. cap. 43. re has usually been treated as no better than fabulous ports, who says, “as to those who affirm that the by learned men ; where he says, “ The posterity Syrians are the inventors of the letters which they of Seth, having been forewarned of the deluge, transmitted to the Phenicians, who brought them in erected iwo columns (ETHANN]one of stone, the other to Greece with Cadmus, it is replied, that the Syrians of brick, on which they recorded their discoveries did not really invent letters, but only varied the forms in astronomy, &c. The column of stone is still exof some of their characters.” This disagreement
This disagreement tant in the land of Seirath, or Syrias." may be reconciled, by remarking, that ancient authors Observe, 1st, this conduct before the flood was did not always correctly distinguish between Syria exactly the counterpart to that of Thoth after the and Assyria; so that it may be very true that the flood, who wrote on pillars of brick and stone; it Syrians only changed the forms of letters, while the therefore is by no means incredible as a matter of Assyrians may have invented them : and this clears fact. 2dly, The ancients having confounded very the sense of the passage ; for, how should the Syr- frequently the names Syriad, Syrias, with Assyria; ians transmit letters to the Phenicians? Were not understand this Seirath or Syrias of Josephus, as dethe Phenicians themselves Syrians ? Bot, understand noting Assyria, and this will agree with what ManeAssyrians, and all is right; moreover thus understood, tho relates, apud Euseb. et Sypcell, that “Thoth there is no contradiction between Diodorus and had engraved sacred characters on columns erected Pliny, who says, lib. vii. cap. 56. "Literas sem in Syriad :" understand Assyria here also, and the Per arbitrior Assyrias fuisse ; sed alii apud Egyp: evidence of letters being, semper, as Pliny speaks, tios à Mercurio, alii apud Syros repertas volunt?” always extant in Assyria, is greatly confirmed. 3dly, Letters were always, i.e. from the earliest ages, ex In our history of the deluge, in loc. we have assumed tant in Assyria, as I have thought ; though some re principles which are perfectly coincident with the fer the invention of them to the Egyptian Mercury, preservation of columns of stone or brick during that [the Thoth we mentioned above;] others to the Syr- great catastrophe; nay, I see no impossibility that ians : i.e. the Phenicians, as appears from what fol- temples, like those of Egypt, might survive it, and lows. I think, therefore, that we only follow the if it be true that the celestial observations, recorded current of evidence, if we infer, that Thoth in Egypt, on their ceilings, refer to an antediluvian state of the received the knowledge of letters from Assyria, heavens, let no one fear for the divine authority of where they had always been extant, says Pliny; and Moses, but only endeavour correctly to understand this leads us to ascribe to them at least as early a his narration. Lastly, by taking Syrias, Seirath, date as the building of Babel, in Assyria, since Thoth Assyria, &c. for countries still further east than that and Mizraiın must have been contemporaries with we usually call Assyria, we may come to what was the undertakers of that edifice ; and thus we designed by Diodorus and Pliny, as well as by Josebrought to “the gods” again, or the early second phus and Manetho, for there are actually extant fathers of the human race.
recesses, grottoes, &c. i.e. temples with devices, There is yet another thought to be added: we which, perhaps, when examined, may prove historia are informed that Thoth wrote inscriptions on pillars, cal, and which, for aught that appears to the conno doubt of stone; but others say, of clay, i.e. mean trary, may have even survived the deluge, in the ing, some pillars were of stone, others were of clay land of the first establishment, and the after re-settlehardened in the fire; and this, if it were proved, ment, of mankind: such is the language of tradibut the circumstance can only be glanced at here, tion respecting them, and such may be their charwould probably be found to be the very same pro acter, though we cannot at present prove it, for want cedure as that to which our Babylonian bricks have of sufficient information and documents. been subjected, that is to say, an impression made, We must again repeat, that this can be only stamped? on the clay while moist, and render- sketch, a mere occasional sketch, on the subject of
the antiquity of writing; if we proposed a disser- tediluvian patriarchs; the remark that the poetry of tation, we might press into our service the assertion Lamech could no way be so well preserved as by of the Jews, that certain of the Psalms were written writing ; with many other hints and inferences, by Adam, by Enoch, &c. the traditions, &c. of the which we are constrained on this occasion to supEast, as to the numerous volumes written by the an
ATTEMPTS TO ILLUSTRATE THE HISTORY OF MELCHISEDEC, AND TO DETER
MINE HIS PERSON AND DIGNITY.
[FOR THE PLATE, SEE THE MAP OF THE SITUATION OF PARADISE, GENESIS II. 8.] The reader will observe in various parts of this the person known as Melchisedec, who was establishwork, that we have hinted pretty strongly at the pro- ed, as is admitted, in the countries adjacent to the priety, perhaps the necessity, of placing the prov. Levant. It is necessary to collect what is reported ince of Kedem very far east in Persia ; indeed at the of this personage, and to justify its application, as eastern extremity of that empire. We beg him now we mean to apply it. to turn to the map of the “ Situation of Paradise," Let us, in the first place, combine the scattered Gen. ii. where he will find the Paradise of the Bra- rays of tradition, which are, for the most part, colmins, marked by a circle at no great distance from lected under the article MELCHISEDEC, in Dictionary. the province of Mauber el Nahr, or, “ beyond the river,” from whence we are told by Joshua, the orig. inal stock of the Hebrew nation came. [V'ide on the Epiphanius tells us, that the whole land of Canaan “ Map of Geographical Illustrations :" init. Acts fell to the posterity of Shem, according to a division xxviii.] If we take a Caucasian mountain, for the made by Noah himself; the posterity of Shem enmount Ararat of Scripture, where the ark rested, and joyed it a long time, but were dispossessed by the posconsider the necessary progress of inhabitants to the terity of Ham : (so far we consider this tradition to parts of the world west of those mouniains, we shall be correct; and it is partly supported by the promfind that a considerable portion of mankind, in various ise made by Shem to Abraham, as we have supposed, times, and probably during several ages, had been in the name of God, that he would multiply bim into accustomed to migrate from thence toward Syria and a great nation, in a country where he had competent Egypt. It will then be no wonder, if among them, authority. The following part of this tradition we we are to include the fathers of the liebrew nation. shall re-consider hereafter.] Those kings who had Abraham himself did no more than he observed subdued the kings of the plain, and kept them in subto be done by multitudes before him ; and when jection during twelve years, were the descendants of the proper time was come, he also, as they had Shem; and had only ruled as they were justly entidone, quitted the place of his birth and prinary tled to do, over the intrusive sons of Ham. See also settlement, to enjoy a country, where he also Jarchi in Gen. xli. 6. fol. 13. p. 2. col. 2. should be the founder of a dominion.
We are sure then, that Abraham was not the first who left
SECOND TRADITION, PARENTS OF MELCHISEDEC. Kedem in expectation of future settlement. Nor, in 1st, The father of Melchisedec was the sun; the all probability, was he the last; he did what he had mother of Melchisedec was the moon, Epiphanius, seen others do, and others did what they had seen Heres. tom. i. him do. But, we know that he had authority, divine 2dly, The father of Melchisedec was Eraclas; the authority, communicated to him, we shall beg leave mother of Melchisedec was Asteria, or Astaroth, ib. to say cominunicated to him, by means of the great iv. 2. patriarch Shem ; from whom he was descended, and 3dly, Melchisedec was born of unclean parents, who also visited the same country to which Abraham Jud. quid, ap. Sixt. Senens. lib. v. Annot. 90. had been directed by his authoritative prediction. 4thly, Melchisedec is “ without genealogy,” be
The object of the following hints, is, to prove that cause the earth had opened its mouth, and had swalShem quitted Kedem, to travel west; that he came lowed all his relations ; says Athanasius, Epiph. into the west, and there was known under the name Heres. Iv. p. 472; lxvii. p. 711. of the “ King of Peace," or of Melchisedec; and that to this patriarch we are to refer what is said in Scrip
SCRIPTURE HISTORY OF MELCHISEDEC. ture, in relation to that “priest of the Most High Gen. xiv. 17.“ And the king of Sodom went out,
I shall not stay to prove the travel of Shem, [from whence? certainly from a place where he had into the west, though there is historical evidence of taken refuge : was this place Salem ?] to meet Abrathat, but shall rather infer it, by proving him to be ham, on occasion of his joyful and triumphant return
after his victory over Chedorlaomer, and the kings a single small nation : and does not officiate for manwho were with him: the king of Sodom went out to kind in general. the valley of Shaveh (the valley of equalising] that We may now endeavour to shew how these particuemphatically called, the king's valley. And Mel- lars agree in the person to whom we have referred chisedec, king of Salem, brought out [the same word them. in its root, as that used respecting the king of Sod The first tradition says, “ Canaan fell to the lot of om,] from his royal residence, no doubt, i.e. Salem, Shem.” In Fragment, No. 19, we read, that Satybread and wine. Now, he himself emphatically, was avarman, Noah, gave Japheth the north of the Snowy priest of the Most High God. And he blessed Abra- Mountains, and Shem the south. Now certainly, ham, and he, Abraham, gave to him, Melchisedec, both these patriarchs had the east and west, as inspecfor consecration, or sacred uses, tithes of all which tion of our map will readily determine; since Europe he, or his people, had taken from their enemies. itself, the acknowledged residence of Japheth's poster
Psalm cx. Jehovah hath sworn, and will not retract; ity, is west of Caucasus. Canaan therefore, though be thou the priest to perpetuity, on my appointment, west, yet being south of the latitude of Caucasus, according to the manner, order of Melchisedec. Japheth's allotment being north, fell to the share of Heb. v. 10. Thou art a priest in perpetuity, ac
Shem. cording to the order of the priesthood of Melchisedec, or the traditions which respect the parents of who, in the days of his flesh, applied himself with Melchisedec, the first and second are the same ; for prayers and supplications, to the power that could Eraclas, the ancient Ercles, or Hercules, was bedeliver him from death; with strong, efficacious, yond all doubt the sun; but so many later personages cryings and tears; and was graciously heard. By assumed, or received, this glorious title, that the reason of his piety, his filial piety, he exemplified original application of it was forgotten, even by the obedience. [So the Syriac version reads this pas. learned ; and certainly the person whom it primasage.] Now this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priestrily denoted, was utterly unknown to the generality of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning of those who adored him: even Cicero “ wishes they from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him: to could tell which Hercules it was whom they worshipwhom, also, Abraham gave a tenth part of all his ped.”
ped.” Macrobius tells us expressly, so does Nonspoils, being first, by interpretation, king of justice, nus, and so does Plutarch long before, that the Bel of or righteousness; and then again, king of peace : Babylon, the Con of Egypt, the Apollo of Greece, án aTwp, fatherless ; quy Twp, motherless; pedigree-less, and in fact all the deities of the heathen, terminated genealogy-less, having neither beginning of days, nor in the sun, or Helios. end of life ; but assimilated to the Son of God: con But the reader may observe, that we refer these tinues a priest perpetually. Now consider what a divinities to a person, no less than to a power, and great personage this was to whom our father Abra many things said in reference to one of these disham himself, of whose greatness we are nationally so tinctions, are true of that distinction only; but may fond, gave the tenth of all bis spoils; and who received not be applied to either indiscriminately. A hint them by right of office and dignity. Levi, who in the or two may prove that Helius is not, restrictively, Jewish establishment receives tithes, paid tithes on the solar body. this occasion ... And Melchisedec, who has no right 1st, Helius was said to have traversed the vast by [Levitical, or other priestly) pedigree, not only ocean in a boat, which Oceanus lent him. received tithes, but exercised the most solemn part 2dly, Porphyry, apud Euseb. P. E. lib. iii. says, of the priestly office, by giving an authoritative ben the Egyptians, to describe Helius, represented a ediction to Abraham; as being unquestionably Abra man in a float or ship, supported by a crocodile. ham's superior. Now, in the Levitical priesthood, 3dly, Jamblichus says, “the emblem of Helius was men who are well known to be mortal, receive tithes; a man on a lotus, in the midst of the water; and a but, in that order of priesthood, he received tithes of woman on a lotus, was Selene, the moon.” Now the whom it is witnessed, believed on general and allowed lotus was emblematical of preservation from a flood; report, that he is now living.
because in the inundation of the Nile, the broad leaf From these allusions to the life of Melchisedec, of this plant rises with the water, and never is overwe learn, 1st, That he had undergone deep distresses; whelmed, never is drowned. Hence the Egyptians had implored the preserving power to interfere on placed Helius on a lotus in the water; and said, that his behalf, and had been heard.2dly, That he ex he arose on this plant in the form of a newly born child. emplified great filial piety and obedience. 3dly, That [Vide the medals on the Plate of Noah's ark, and he was not a priest by due course of official descent; their explanation, Gen. vi.] These particulars idenine. not by birth, but by appointment. 4thly, He tify Helius with Noah ; and thereby ascertain the was a king. 5thly, That the Levitical priesthood is true father of Melchisedec, and of Shem, in the same very inferior to his ; as, 1st, It is comparatively mod great restorer of the human race. ern. 2dly, It has not equal dignity, wanting royalty. The mother of Shem was, 1st, the moon, 2dly, As3dly, It often changes hands, and sometimes is held teria, or Astaroth.
It is unnecessary to prove that by not very holy persons. 4thly, It extends only to Astaroth is the moon.
It is admitted. We have
seen that Selene is the moon on the lotus, in conjunc- from death, in which he was the very counterpart of tion with Helius. The crescent typified the ark, our Lord Jesus; who, foreseeing his descent into the the “receptacle of all mankind,” and hence it was silent tomb, as Shem foresaw his enclosure in the worn by Isis, &c. In short, this particular so natu- floating tomb of the ark, prayed," if it were possible, rally follows the former, that we shall not enlarge in let this cup pass from me;" but in the issue, as Shem support of it.
in obedience entered the ark, so did Jesus enter the These traditions, we find, mutually confirm each grave: "nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.” other : it is true, they have been so hidden under the Shem was saved, and revivified: so was Jesus; one allegories of mythology, that the learned, startled by from the ark, the other from the sepulchre. their uncouth appearance, have rejected them, at We have elsewhere [vide FRAGMENT, No. 155,] first sight, without concerning themselves to pene- explained the allusion of the apostle Peter to the ark trate into their true meaning, or to determine their of Noah, in reference to the death of Jesus ; and now true reference. Nevertheless, they have undoubt we find the apostle Paul alluding to the same event, edly preserved the memorial of an undeniable fact. and with the same intention. Add to this, the time
Melchisedec, say the Jews, in our third tradition, which Shem lay enclosed in his ark; part of one year, was born of “unclean parents ;" I do not see how the whole of the second year, and part of a third : to this affects his natural descent; but if referred to his complete the comparison to Jesus, who, like Jonah priesthood, to which he derived no claim from his in the sea, lay part of one day, the whole of the secbirthright, I apprehend the notion is correct; though ond day, and part of the third day, in the heart of the extremely uncouthly expressed: he was certainly earth. deficient in the Levitical requisitions of birth and pa The ark, we are informed, discharged its inhabirentage ... Athanasius says, “ The earth had open tants on the mountains of Caucasus; from whence the ed her mouth, and had swallowed up all his relations:” patriarch Shem travelled, as Abraham did, to the why then, he must be either Noah, Shem, Ham, or Ja. land of Canaan, and here he was known as a royal pheth. Noah, he certainly was not: Japheth was estab priest; being, first, king of justice: and who could lished too far north, it is not likely to be him: Ham it more properly exercise that office? was he not the might be, but very feeble reasons are those which sup father of the population among whom he dwelt? suport his pretensions ; his character is utterly irrecon- preme in dignity, by origin? To promulgate laws, or cilable with the dignity, both royal and sacerdotal, of apply them, to direct in matters of jurisprudence, to this illustrious comparison to Jesus Christ. It fol combine the dignity of the magistrate with the affeclows, that Shem is the person to whom we must look ; tion of the patriarch, to promote the welfare of those and this tradition, thus understood, agrees perfectly communities who were his posterity, who could be with our reasonings already stated; and is augmented more proper than Shem? He was truly the “king of to certainty by those which we shall shortly submit justice. Moreover, his tribunal was adjacent to his to the reader.
residence, in the king's valley:” and wherefore was We turn now to the Bible history of Shem, who this called the king's valley ? but because, here sat was, we know, a person of piety after the deluge, as the king; and here, according to the duty of a king, appears from his behaviour to his father, Noah, when he administered justice, righteous justice. q. “The Ham, his brother, had exposed, and abused hiin. royal valley, for despatch of public and official affairs." Most probably, therefore, he was of the same pious With this character the other name by which this disposition before that catastrophe : his name, which valley was known, coincides accurately; for the word appears to have been given before that event, signi- shuah, or shaveh, as our translators write it, signifies, fies seitled, steady; and, as Noah was “a preacher of “ to equalise, to liken to, to compare," i.e. to adjudge righteousness” to the antediluvians, we may think the after comparison made: so we find it used, Prov. same of his son Shem, who succeeded in the priesthood. xxvi. 5. "Answer not a fool according to his folly,
That dreadful event whieh was coming on the earth, lest thou, teshuah, be compared to him; and after was certainly foretold to Noah; and if to Noah, to comparison, be judged to resemble him.” Prov. Shem, who also contributed to the preparation of the iii. 15. “All things thou canst desire are not to ark. As a person of piety and sedateness, he could be, ishuo, compared in judgment to wisdom." Isai. not but look forward with apprehension ; and we may xl. 25. " To whom will ye compare me most surely conclude, that both Noah and his son act of judgment, and decision, says the Holy One ?” would deprecate and deplore the judgment they So, Lam. ii. 13. “ To what shall i compare thee, deawaited. I say, the piety of Shem prompted him, termine thy resemblance as an act of judgment, o under these trying circumstances, to address, with Jerusalem ?” In these places, the word implies, to prayers and supplications, and strong cryings and draw a conclusion, after well considering a subject : tears, that celestial power which was able to save him
to compare for the purpose of determination.
And shall say,
Some lexicons, however, insist on the sense of ed holy. 3dly, Which character it resumes, without equalising, to render equal, for this word shaveh :
difficulty, as without competition : for Gibeah, &c. but this will amount to the same as the former; since which were seats of authority and sanctity, yield to a person, whose office it is to judge, should consider its prior claims. 4thly, These claims might be well all applicants as equal; and if any have suffered in known to Moses, who mentions, twice at least, “a jury, should compensute that injury, till the compen- place which the Lord had chosen to put his name sation equals the damages; in fact, he should enforce ihere,” Deut. xii. 4 ; xvi. 11. 5thly, Something equily; which implies discrimination and comparison. very like allusions to this matter, are introduced by This would characterize “the king's valley,” as “the the prophet Isaiah, ii. 3. and what is very extraordivalley of equitable compensation," of rendering equal nary, the prophet Micah also inserts the same, verbajustice to all: which is the same in effect with the tim, chap. iv. 2, &c. which raises a suspicion, that former sense.
both drew from the same source; and that, in this inThe foregoing sentiments glide very easily into the stance, they have preserved an oracle of deeper ancharacter of the king of peace: no doubt he was king of tiquity than themselves : besides, the passages bethe city of Peace, Salen; but besides this, peace was come much clearer, if we suppose that they compare bis delight. When young he had been valiant, but past times and events, with succeeding times and now he was for peace : as a patriarch, as a judge, as a events. priest, as a king, he was for peace: it is probable too, that he drew not the warlike sword, nor constructed And it shall be in the new series of days, defensive walls ; for I rather suppose that it was the The mount of the house of Jehovah custom of these great, these venerable patriarchs, not
Shall be chief over the head of the mountains, to dwell in cities, i.e. walled cities. Abraham dwelt
And shall exalt itself over the hills :
And all people shall flow unto it! in tents; so did Isaac and Jacob, and so did thou
Even many peoples shall go toward it, sands of others; as thousands, and ten thousands do at this day; and that Shem lived in tents, appears
“On ; and we will go up to the mount of Jehovah, every way probable : 1st, because Noah his father
To the house of the God of Jacob; did so. 2dly, Because Noah says “He shall dwell And he shall teach us of his ways, in the tents of Shem,” the handsome, perhaps even, And we will walk in his paths : the official tents. [Aheli, vide FRAGMENT, No. 206.] In like manner as from Sion bas gone forth his law, 3dly, The migratory life customarily led by these And the decision of Jehovah from Jerusalem : patriarchs, in visiting, and regulating the different dis Yea, it judged among great peoples ; tricts of their dominions, demonstrates that tents were And corrected powerful people, though remote ; the fittest dwellings for their purposes. Much has
And they beat their swords into ploughshares ;
And their spears into pruning hooks: been said in inquiry, where this city of Salem stood :
People take not the sword against people ; but Melchisedec is not called king of the city of Sa
Nor do they thereafter learn war. lem, it might be a district, not a city. I infer then,
But they sit, each chief, under his vine, 1st, that his personal character and disposition were
And under his fig-tree, and none alarms." pacific : 2dly, That his dwelling, where he now pitch
To such effect hath the mouth of the Lord of hosts decided. ed his tents, was called by the name of Salem, peace; and this might become its appellation, because such This oracle describes exactly the blessings producwas the well known character of its royal inhabitant. ed by the judicial interpositions of a king of justice
We suppose, therefore, 3dly, That Salem, after. and peace : it certainly attributes to Jerusalem a charward Jebus, and Jerusalem, was the residence of acter which combines at once policy and sanctity, Melchisedec. The name Jerusalem, denotes the effectual over nations, great, yet submissive ; and "vision of peace ;"or," the possession of peace ;” q. remote, yet obedient. It is not the only ancient orthe place where peace was expected to be seen. acle Micah has preserved : vide chap. vi. 15. Josephus, Antiq. lib. i.cap. 10. gives this account: but Moreover, this train of reasoning, if admissible, is it seems to follow yet more authoritatively from Psalm confirmed, by our statement of the incidents, 2 Sam. Ixxvi. 2.
v. 6. ExposITORY INDEX, where we supposed, that Our reasons in support of this supposition, are, 1st, through an understood sanctity of their town, the JebJerusalem is in the way from Dan toward Sodom, &c. usites refused David's residence there: what superior which way Abraham was now travelling, toward the principle could induce them to refuse the reception homes of his retaken captives. 2dly, The name of of their king ? I may add here, though perhaps not Jerusalem, in the adjacent countries, has been “the
so properly placed as it might be, that is the king's Holy City," throughout an antiquity much deeper valley' was, as we have seen, adjacent to Salem, and than our inquiries can extend ; which leads to the
was the place of judginent : now, it is current among conclusion, that before it became the seat of justice the traditions of the East, that in the “valley of Jeand worship among the Hebrews, it had been esteem. hoshaphat,” shall be the universal judgment; whence