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plentifully, are the principal Merchandises brought from Damascus. It is also famous for the finest Alabaster, and for a red soft Earth found in the Ager Damafcenus, said to be a fovereign Remedy for 2 fractur'd Bone, or the Bite of a venomous Animal, but whether these Virtues are more to be depended upon than the Tradition of Adam's Formation in that Field, I shall not take upon me to determine.
The Mention of the Formation of Adam brings to ny Remembrance a Dispute we had one Evening with the Superior of the Convent where we lodged, conterning the Situation of the terrestrial Paradise, or Garden of Eden; which the good Man, contrary to the Sentiments of all the rest of the Company, would needs place in the Neighbourhood of Damascus. From hence I took occasion, at my leisure Hours, to digest as well as possible what was advanced by every Person who had a Share in the Discourse; and since that Time I have likewise diligently examin'd the several Opinions of the most learned Writers on this Subject: so that I hope to be able to give the Reader a cleat View of the whole Controversy, and to point out to him the delightful Place of Abode allotted to our first Parents in their State of Happiness and Innocence.
It is well known what a Variety of extravagant Notions have been entertain'd concerning a local Paradise, the Subject of our present Enquiry. Several of the primitive Fathers believed there never was any such thing, interpreting in an allegorical Sense whatever is spoken of it in Scripture. Others, who allow'd the Reality of a Paradise, have rambled so far from the sacred Text, as to exclude it from any part of the terrestrial Globe. They have placed it in the third Heaven, within the Orb of the Moon, in the Moon itselt, in the middle Region of the Air, &c. And of those who allow it a Situation in this sublunary World, some have carried it into a far distant Country, quite remov'd from the Knowledge of Men; others have 14 plentifi from i labastei Damah fractur" but wh
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might naturally expect some Light into Matters that concern their own Antiquities, they are utterly ignorant of the Geography of their Bible, and have run astray as much as other Nations in their Descriptions of Paradise; Josepbus, and all the rest of their Authors, fupposing the Ganges and the Nile to be two of its four Rivers, in which they have been follow'd almost unanimously by the Christian Fathers.
There are several Places which bear the Name of Eden, two whereof we find mention’d in Scripture, besides that in the Mofaical Description, viz, one in Syria*, and the other in Chaldea about Telassar t, which perhaps may be the fame with that of Moses. I have already mention'd an Eden near Tripoli ; and we are told of an Inand in the Tigris so callid by the People of the Country. There is a City near Tarsus in Cilicia still callid Adena, and Aden is a noted one on the Coast of Arabia Felix; for Eden or Aden fignifying Pleasure, that Name was given to Places remarkable for the Delightfulness of their Situation, consider'd either in themselves, or comparatively with the adjacent Country; which last seems to be the Cafe of Aden in Arabia.
But let us consider the Description of Eden given us by Moses, which is as follows: And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden: --- And a river went out of Eden to water the garden ; and from thence it was parted, and became into four Heads. The name of the first is Pifon ; that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilab, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx-stone. And the name of the second river is Gibon : the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia (or Cush). And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it
Amos i, s.
+ 2 Kings xix. 12. isaiah Xxxvii, 12.