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William Nicholls.

A Conference with a Theist : containing an answer to all the most usual objections of the infidels against the Christian religion ... (Volume 1) online

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XxceJJlve Mankind is as good again ft rhefe exceilive Computations,
computaii- as it is againft the Eternity of the World ; for granting
ens no Ar- ^j^^ World fo old as is here pretended, it would have been
the EterJi- ovcr-peopled long before now, as much as it would have
ty of the been in an Eternity. So that if you allow the Cogency
World. ^f |.|^g Argument in one Cafe, you muft likewife in the
other. But befides, the pure Aflertions of Nations as to
their Antiquity, without good Hiftory to fupport them,
have always been very little regarded ; becaufe it has been
'a conftant Vanity in all Nations, to appear as old as they
could. Hence the Inhabitants of every Country endea-
voured v/liut they were able, to be efteemed ' ^ulo-^jiovit
and Indigen — arcane moderatrix Cynthia noBii.
— The Moon the Governefs ofjilent Night, Theb,
Lib. 10. '

So Manilius Afh, Lib, 1,

■. Phoeben imitantem lumina Fratris-^ •

Semper^ & in proprio regnantem tempore noElis,

Phoebe that imitates her Brother s Lights
And reigns 7vith her own Scepter of the Night,

Now if we lay all this together, we can hardly fuppofe
any other Senfe of the Words, than that God made this
leller Light, the Moon, to be to us the Governefs of the
Night, and the Chief or Principal of the Stars. So that.
Sir, now you fee, here is no Complaint to be made of the
narrow-lpirited Dodrine of us Friends to Mofes^ and the
Deity *s chewing the Cud upon his own Happinefs from all E-
ternity, as a Friend of yours unmannerly expreffes it. q ^
you fee now you are not ftinted for Worlds, for the Com-
munication



58



A Conference



miinication of the Divine Goodnefs; To that you may
make half a Dozen out of every fixed Star if you think
fit.

VhtL I thank you kindly for your Offer ; but I never
defign to fet up for a World-maker, for it is a very diffi-
cult Trade , and I am forry there are fo many Pretenders
to it. Bur, by the Way, I am afraid that this little Piece
of Criticifm of yours will not hold Water. I do not
pretend to be any great Critick in the Hebrew Tongue,
but I think I am one good enough to under ftand that
Text you have mentioned.. The Words you have de-
fcanted upon are Veeth hacocavim. Now I fuppofe any
one that underftands Hebrew, knows that the Particle
Eth is a fign of the Accufative Cafe, and therefore Eth
hacocavifn mufl: follow the Verb jagnaJJj^ made, which
goes before , and not have any Relation to kmempeleth,
which is a Subftantive, and fgnifies to the Dominion, Now
the Conflru6tion is very natural IcrmmjJjeleth halaikh ;
for the Eominion of the Night ; but the Particle Eth makes
the ^ordHacocavim quite of another Cafe, fo that it mud
be referred to another Part of the Sentence ,• which can be
no other than the Verb [madel ; therefore the Stars are
here faid to be made^ and not to he governed, as you would
have them.
objeBion Cred. Well, Sif:, I fee you have raifed the only Ob-
agamft^ ihu jg^^tion wliich I was aware of: And I will endeavour to
Xnlm- ^' 'V'^^^'^ ^^ ^-^^ Blow as well as I can. It is very true that
fwered. the Particle T^ doth moft com.monly fignify the Perfon
fi^jfering:, or is a Sign of the Accufative Cafe, but not
always, for it is very often ufed otherways. Some-
times the word Eth is peifedlly redundant, and fignifies
jufl nothing : As, Jer. iii. 37. Ton (JmU go (me-eth-ze)
from hence, which is the fame as mizzle. Sometimes it is
joined with the Nominative Cafe, as y^'r.xxxviii. 4. Let
(eth-hailh) that Man die. Sometimes it has the Signifi-
cation of the Prepofition To. As Job xxvi. 4. Eth-mi,
To ivhom hafi thou uttered words ? Sometimes it fignifies
Erom^ as Gen, xliv. 4. Tbey ivere gone (eth-hagnir) otit of
(or from) the City, Oftentimes it lignifies Withi as 2 Sam»

XV, II.



i^jhh ^ Th E I s T. 59

3fV. 1 1. Eth-Abfalom, TVkh Ahfalom there 'went two hnn-
drtd Men, So IJa.vii, 17. With the King of ^jfjria.
And T/'*^. xxiii. 17. Shall commit Format on \Qt]\] with all
the Kingdoms of the World, And in this lad Scnfe I take
tlie Particle to be iifed \\\ the Text. For the Govcrninent of
the Night [veeth-hacocavim] together with the Stars ; or
and the Stars, Which anrwers cxadly to the like Con-
llrudion, Neh, ix. 33. We have done wicl^dly (veeth-
malachenu) together with our Kings-, or. We and our Kings
have done vjickcdly. This feems to me to be an Interpre-
tatjon natural enough; and I doubt not but ancient Inter-
preters would have made ufe of it , had they been ac-
quainted with thole Improvements which have been made
by modern Philofophy.

Phil, I find, Credcntim, you entertain {omtNoflrums
in Divinity, as well as I do. Well I I would not be in.
your Coat for a good deal, if you lliould vent thefe No-
tions to the World. And yet I could not chufe but laugh,
to fee what a Pack of fyilcmatical Divines you would
h.avc about your Bars. They would worry you into as
A^ran'- an Arheift, as they do me. The Stars no Part of
the yj



Online LibraryWilliam NichollsA Conference with a Theist : containing an answer to all the most usual objections of the infidels against the Christian religion ... (Volume 1) → online text (page 6 of 47)