Jacob Bryant.

A new system: or, An analysis of antient mythology ... online

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sidered that the determining any point of Scripture
is always attended with advantage. In th$ investi-
gation of any sacred truth we see continually fresh
evidence arise; some new light break in, that
strengthens and illustrates beyond the point in view.
It matters little whence it proceeds: it is. ever
pleasing to a serious and inquisitive mind, and cam
not but be profitable in the end. The most minute
inquiry and elucidation tends to a confirmation of
the whole. There will be likewise seen this advan-
tage resulting from what I have laid before the
reader ; that he will, I believe, find the seas I have
been treating of, with their boundaries and abut-
ments, together with the changes in different ages
they underwent in respect to those limits, more
clearly and precisely determined here than has been
any where else observed.

It may likewise be entertaining to reflect, how
much the art of navigation is improved, and with
what dispatch now a days commerce is carried on.

E-E2



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420 OF TVE ISLAND

In fomer times they jqt&j made wasting voyages,
never willingly losing eight of land. This N**c
tfiT^#pdi or <rrr*yay*i. weee particularly heavy and
slow. The ship mentioned by u Lutian set out
with a fair wind, and was seven days in getting to
Cyprus : and it was judged seventy days sail to the
Tiber. An English levanter with a steady gale
would put boldly before the wind, and run in that
space iron Jaffa to the Lizard.

But what is a moire serious consideration, we
may learn from hence how strict an examination
the Scriptures are capable of undergoing. No
history has stood the- test that tbe^sacred writers are
made to bear. And in these inquiries it is very
satisfactory to observe by the collateral evidence, as
it coincides, that things must necessarily have hap-
pened in the manner they are represented. It may
likewise, serve to display to us tho credulity of the
cbm?cb:;of Rome; and shew on what weak founda-
tion! their faith is established. A mistake being
once made between two islands of the same name,
bow many forgeries are introduced in consequenee
of this one error ! all which are recommended by
their clergy as truths to be highly Teverenced. This
is$tt)oi)gly evidenced by the editors of the ^Rfiewsh



96 See Dial. Tltem « Ev^w.

97 The New Testament printed at jRiet^^ 9 4^82, by Jf^n
Fogni/<' This translation was macje for the ufe pf tfee Qntfkb



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JtfELITE. 421



testament: who were not content to give their
readers a mangled translation of the Vulgate ; but
they must annex to it the m legends of their church,



papists by William Allyn, who was afterwards a cardinal and
archbishop of Mechlin. He is said to have been assisted in this
work by Richard Bristow and Gregory Martin ; the same that
wrpte a dissertation on the true pronunciation of the Greek Ian-
guage. The author of the notes is said to-be Thomas Worthing*
ton. There was a confutation of this translation written by
Thomas Cartwright f author of the Admonitions to Parliament*
See Lewis's History of the English translations of the Bible, page
£$3. and Wmi's Athenae Oxon.

•? They heme sainted Puhtim, -whose hand they pretend to shew
fox a re lick, ftlanduca the Jesuit ;h*s gone so far as to write nil
history. And, not content with forcibly bringing SU Paul
hither, they make him a tten ded with Luke and T rophmm ; which
last, they say, took up his residence in the island. In the city
VukUa fa a monument and inscription raised by Abel* to his me-
«*ory. They shew a fountain that St. Paul caused to flow out of
*be rod* ; and near it a stone, with some not inelegant verses:

v

Hie sub tuft aw*, quam cemis ad aqvoris undas,
Exiguus trepide(Jons safi&ttis aqua.

SkiHgwnc sacra laticts venerare, viator >•
Naufragns has dederit cum-tibi Pemhts aquas.

Jfimysm Carthusianus assures us, St. Paul founded a church at
Haifa; and, what is more extraordinary, that he dedicated it to
•the Virgin Maty. Mela reports the tame circumstance : Dedi-
cate fuit prime Ecclesia in Metitd a Bam to Pavfo sacrafissimm
Yirgini Marut ; vujm imaginem depinrkse Sanctum Lucam Evan*
gelistam, socium Apostoh in peregiinatione et naufragio quod Wc
passu* fuit 9 ex antiqud traditione slatmitMr et tmetur a Melitcn-



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4£ft OF THE ISLAND

to corrupt it still farther* In speaking of the inland
Malta, which they call Mitylene, they make this
observation. — " This island (how Malta) is the
" seate of the knightes of lbs ** Rhodes : the in-
" habitants whereof have a special devotion to St.
u Paul; to whom both the cheefe fchurch (being
" the bishop's seate) is dedicated, and the whole
" iland (as they count it) consecrated : where the
" people shew yet to strangers his prison and other
" memoirs of his miracles." And afterwards,
" Malta hath St. Panics blessing and grace until
" this day." And in another place, speaking of
the viper that fastened upon the Apostle's hand,
they make this remark : " yea, arid (as the chris-



sibus. Etiam Mud confirmatur ab Abbatt Pyrrko in septima No-
titi& nostra Ecclesut MeUtensis: ubi insuper tenet, arbitrator
imaginem Beat a VirgmtMtUtcht etiam fume opus et pkturam
ejusdem Sancti Luc*. Francisci JbeU Me lit a illustrate edit.
Lat. p. 18$. The Glossopetfa^nd Bufonit*, fossils common in
most parts of Europe, are supposed here to be the tongues and
teeth of serpents petrified ; and the earth of the island to have the
virtue of an antidote. It is moreover affirmed that all born in
Malta upon the day of the Conversion of St. Paul cure the Wtes
of serpents, and all poisons whatever; and by their saliva take
away all inflammations. Thq. Taztllus de rebus Siculis. Decad. 1.
lib. 1. Such are the traditions of the Maltese, very particular
and circumstantial; and yet every word a fiction. See also
Burchardus Niderstedt ; Malta vetus et nova. Hthnestadu l660.
Francis Belle-forest ; Cosmo graph. 1575.
" Given to them about the year 1530.



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MELITE. 423



^^^Jan people there tfl this day beleeve) by St*

Paules praiers the Hand was delivered for ever

from al such venenotous serpents : in so much that

children there play with ^scorpions ever since

ythat time ; and Pilgrims daily carie with them

peeces of stones out of the place where St. Paul

abode, by which they affirme that they heale them

• which in other countries adjoyning are bitten of

; scorpions : the medicine therfore being called St.

* * Paules grace/' Thus have they thought proper

S <* clog the word of God with the traditions of men ;

s ^ , -*8 if the holy Scriptures would lose of their in-

^* juence, unless garnished .with legend and fable.

jJ That Malta harbours no venomous creature, is not

■^ fa iring to St. Paul's grace, who was never there ; but

jo the nature of the island, that cannot give them

♦belter. For it is of a low situation, and consists

Of a soft white rock, with very little earth ; what

they have being, as Tkevenot tells us, for the most

part adventitious. What Isaac Vossius says of

Galata may, with some limitation, be applied to

Malta : 9 * Plinius tradit hujus insula terrain scor-

piones necare: sed nulla Be propria extat terra,

cilm tota insula sit sterile saxum — Mirum itaque

non est scorpiones in tali loco non esse — Hue accedit 7



*• Travellers say, there are no scorpions for the children to
play withall. See Thevenot's and Gemellus Travels.
. *■ Is. Fossil Observat. in Melam. lib. 2. cap. 7.



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424 OF THE tSLAVB MEL1T2.

qudd scorpioncs naturali quddam constitution* o<k*
tint loca aprica, ac plurirnum in Us moriantur;
vigeant autem in abscuris et humidis. Much the
same may be said of Malta ; which island, I be-
lieve, ab origine was never capable of harbouring
either scorpion or viper. And though the natives
shew the ** hand of Publius, the landing place,
* the prison and the pillar of St. Paul; yet I think
it is pretty certain that neither St. Paul nor Publius
were there : and if the Apostle had been, yet he
could not have displayed the wonder he did ; unless
he had exhibited a prior miracle to introduce it



•* See Abcla, Gemellus and Skippon's Travels,

** The tradition of the prison would be at any rate very im-
probable. Those that invented it did not consider how Juihu
behaved to St. Paul at Sidon, nor in what manner he wiu ate*-
wards trotted at Rome. Those that left him so much at tap
upon the continent,, would hardly imprison him in an island.



END OP VOL. V-



S. BUcladej, Punter, Took's Court, Chancery Lane.



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Online LibraryJacob BryantA new system: or, An analysis of antient mythology ... → online text (page 24 of 24)