« 前へ次へ »
THE FIRST PART
W ORL D:
INTREATING OF THE
TIMES FROM THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM,
TO THE TIME OF PHILIP OF MACEDON.
CHAP. I. Of the time passing between the destruction of Jerusalem
and the fall of the Assyrian empire.
SECT. I. Of the connection of sacred and profane history. The course of time, which in profane histories might rather be discerned through the greatest part of his way, hitherto passed in some outworn footsteps than in any
beaten path, having once in Greece by the Olympiads, and in the eastern countries by the account from Nabonassar, left surer marks, and more appliable to actions concurrent, than were the war of Troy, or any other token of former date, begins at length in the ruin of Jerusalem to discover the connection of antiquity forespent, with the story of succeeding ages. Manifest it is, that the original and progress of things could
RALEGH. VOL. III.
ill be sought in those that were ignorant of the first creation; as likewise that the affairs of kingdoms and empire afterwards grown up, are not to be found among those that have now no state nor policy remaining of their own. Having therefore pursued the story of the world unto that age, from whence the memory of succeeding accidents is with little interruption of fabulous discourse derived unto us, I hold it now convenient briefly to shew by what means and circumstances the history of the Hebrews, which of all other is the most ancient, may be conjoined with the following times, wherein that image of sundry metals, discovered by God unto Nebuchadnezzar, did reign over the earth, when Israel was either none, or an unregarded nation. Herein I do not hold it needful to insist
upon thorities which give, as it were by hearsay, a certain year of some old Assyrian king unto some action or event, whereof the time is found expressed in scripture; for together with the end of Ninus's line in Sardanapalus, if not before, all such computations were blotted out; the succession of Belochus, and his issue that occupied that kingdom afterwards, depending upon the uncertain relations of such as were neither constant in assigning the years of his beginning, nor of credit enough for others to rely upon. Let it therefore suffice, that the consent and harmony, which some have found in the years of those overworn monarchs, doth preserve their names, which otherwise might have been forgotten. Now concerning the later kings of that nation, howsoever it be true that we find the names of all or most of them in scriptures which are recorded by profane historians, yet hereby could we only learn in what age each of them lived, but not in what year his reign began or ended, were it not that the reign of Nebuchadnezzar is more precisely applied to the times of Jehoiakim and Zedekias. Hence have we the first light whereby to discover the means of connecting the sacred and profane histories. For under Nebuchadnezzar was the beginning of the captivity of Juda, which ended when seventy years were expired; and these seventy years took end at the first of Cyrus, whose time,
being well known, affords us means of looking back into the ages past, and forwards into the race of men succeeding. The first year of Cyrus's reign in Persia, by general consent, is joined with the first year of the fifty-fifth Olympiad, where that he reigned twenty-three years before his monarchy, and seven years afterwards, it is apparent, and almost out of controversy. Giving therefore four hundred and eight years unto the distance between the fall of Troy and the instauration of the Olympiads by Iphitus, we may easily arrive unto those antiquities of Greece which were not merely fabulous. As for princes ruling the whilst in sundry parts of the world, St. Augustine and others may be trusted in setting down their times, which they had by tradition from authors of well-approved faith and industry.
From Cyrus forwards, how the times are reckoned unto Alexander, and from him to the battle of Actium, 'it were (peradventure) in this place impertinent to set down. But seeing that the beginning and end of the Babylonian captivity are the marks whereby we are chiefly directed, in passing from the first unto the latest years of the world, through any story, with least interruption, it is very expedient that we take some pains to inform ourselves truly of the seventy years, during which it continued, even from Nebuchadnezzar unto Cyrus.
SECT. II. A brief rehearsal of two opinions, touching the beginning of the
captivity, with an answer to the cavils of Porphyry, inveighing against St. Matthew and Daniel, upon whom the later of these opinions is founded.
MANY commentators and other historians and chronologers find, that the captivity then began when Jechonias was carried prisoner into Babylon, eleven years before the final destruction of Jerusalem under Zedekias. This they prove out of divers places in a Ezekiel, especially out of the fourteenth chapter, where he makes a plain distinction between the beginning of the captivity and utter destruction of Jerusalem by Nabuzaradan in these words: In the five
a Ezek. i. 2. and iii, 11, 15.