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that no person is bound to square his views by our interpretation of the text of Scripture. On the contrary, if he can reconcile his own historical deductions with what he believes to be the teaching of the sacred record, we cannot charge him with opposing the authority of revelation, however widely his views may differ from our own. This is precisely Chevalier Bunsen's case. He professes the highest reverence for revealed truth, but asserts, "The study of Scripture had long convinced me, that there is in the Old Testament no connected chronology prior to Solomon." Having arrived at this conclusion, (which, however, we imagine, must have required in its evolution as much ingenuity as any thing which these remarkable volumes contain,) our author is certainly entitled to the advantage of it; and we therefore freely and fully acquit him of any direct or covert design to assail the authority of Holy Scripture. However much, therefore, we may lament that the illustrious author of this work should give the sanction of his learning and name to conclusions which multitudes of earnest Christians regard as directly opposed to the truth of divine revelation, we are bound to receive and admit his profession of reverence and respect for the statements of the Bible.
But while we raise no question between the claims of the sacred record as a divine revelation, and the argument of our author, we do most strongly object to the course he has pursued on purely scientific grounds. We have no doubt whatever, that he has lightly esteemed, if, indeed, he has not altogether rejected, the highest historical authority, whilst he has given his confidence to, and placed full reliance on, those of inferior credibility. It is on this purely scientific ground that we protest against the chronological conclusions of our learned author. We will briefly place our reasons for this protest before the reader.
Chevalier Bunsen investigates the chronology of Ancient Egypt for the avowed purpose of assigning correct dates to its early annals, and, by this means, to erect a standard for fixing the age of the most ancient periods of universal history. For effecting this grand object, he mainly relies on the information furnished by Manetho and Eratosthenes.
We have already spoken of these ancient authors, and showed that they lived under the Ptolemies, about 280 to 200 years B.C. We will admit that the former as an Egyptian Priest, and the latter as a talented and scientific Cyrenian Greck, possessed every means which their age afforded of obtaining a correct knowledge of the history and chronology of the ancient nation of which they wrote. But we cannot forget that they did not live under the Pharaohs,-the glory of Ancient Egypt had passed away many centuries before they were born. Not only had the nation on the banks of the Nile been convulsed to its centre by repeated revolutions, and torn to pieces by anarchy and intestine
The Chronology of Moses.
war; it had been conquered by the Persians under the savage Cambyses, who trampled on every venerable national institution, furiously assailed the ancient religion, and in every way exerted his power to mortify the pride and to prostrate the power of Egypt. Goaded to desperation by the tyranny of a century, the Egyptians threw off the yoke of Persia, but to be again subdued, and afterwards to pass under the power of the great Macedonian and his successors, the Ptolemies. Is it then, we ask, consistent with the principles of historical science to take no account of all these changes and political convulsions, and to speak of Manetho and Eratosthenes as if they had access to the unalloyed records of Ancient Egypt?
But perhaps it will be said, they afford the best information attainable on the subject. This is just what we question. There was a man, much as his works have been neglected by professedly scientific historians, who lived amid all the glory of the Pharaohs, and was bred in the Court of Egypt long before Persian or Greek had assailed her institutions. He was a person of vast mental power and great acquirements: learned "in all the wisdom of the Egyptians," he possessed, in addition to all the knowledge that the banks of the Nile could afford, the chronological records of the ancient Hebrews,-a people famous even among the nations of the East for the exactitude of their genealogical registers. Moses, twelve hundred years before the time of Manetho, had access to all the treasures of ancient Egyptian lore, and wrote an epitome of primitive history, which was evidently intended to fix the origin of the primitive nations, and at least the utmost chronological limits to which the annals of Egypt can be carried. Why, then, are not the writings of Moses allowed to exercise a legitimate influence in the decision of the chronology of Egypt?
Is it because the works of the Hebrew sage have come down to us in a corrupt and less authentic form than the productions of these Gentile authors? On the contrary, the books of the Hebrew historian have been preserved with religious fidelity and unexampled success, and have come down to our day in a state of all but absolute perfection; while the works of Manetho have perished. No one can tell whether the tabular lists of the Egyptian Dynasties, which now bear his name, were written by him in their present form, or were culled out of his work by Greek transcribers for their own purposes. All we know is, that what we possess, as ascribed to Manetho, has come to us certainly through the second or third hand. We know, also, that the tables of Eratosthenes, as we now have them, are but mutilated fragments of the originals. The balance in this respect, therefore, is decidedly in favour of Moses.
Is there, then, any manifest absurdity, or great improbability, in the account furnished by the Hebrew legislator, as compared
with those supplied by these Gentile authors? On the contrary, the Book of Genesis gives a series of generations of defined duration, placed before us in a perfectly natural order, and evincing an early longevity, countenanced by the traditions of all primitive nations; while, on the other hand, Manetho records,
And it is to a section of such a record that we are called to bow with unbounded deference!
Bunsen professedly rejects the generations of Moses, because of the plural names inserted in the lists, such as Misraim, Ludim, Casluhim, &c. But no plural name is found in the regular line of descent from Adam to Jacob. So that the argument, that Moses intended to record the progression of races, and not the succession of individuals, falls to the ground. These generations were also regarded by the Hebrews as a consecutive series of human families, and as such are authenticated by the testimony of Matthew and Luke. Nor can the claims of Moses be set aside on the plea that he merely recorded Hebrew traditions, as it is more than probable that he copied from public and family records. At all events, this objection cannot consistently be urged by any one who relies on Manetho: for the Egyptian scribe, whose words are preserved by Josephus, distinctly states, that he obtained his materials partly from the sacred books, and partly from "popular tradition."
In our objection to the conclusions of our author, it will therefore be distinctly observed that, on this question, we raise no conflict between faith and science. Fully prepared as we are on proper occasions to maintain the divine inspiration of the sacred books, we, in the present case, make no reference to their religious authority. But we are not disposed to admit that the piety of Moses is fatal to his character as an historian. We will not in this instance rely in any measure on his prophetic character, or divine legation; but we claim for him his just and proper position as a truthful annalist. We maintain that his claims to credibility on the ground of the age in which he lived, and his ample means of information,-on account of the uncorrupted and entire preservation of his works,-and because of the sober and truthlike character of their contents, place him far beyond Manetho, Eratosthenes, or any other ancient author, as a reliable guide in the present day respecting the chronology of Egypt and of ancient universal history; and that these claims cannot be ignored, without a violation of the first principles of historical science.
In conclusion, we must confess ourselves struck with the evidence which this remarkable publication affords of the multifarious learning and many-sided ability of the author. No fact, or circumstance, or name, or subject, seems to have escaped his notice, which was connected ever so remotely with the theme under discussion. Egypt, in all its length and breadth, natural features, political history, monumental antiquities, language, ethnography, and mythology, is ploughed up by the share of his untiring industry, and made to yield a goodly harvest, in return for his well directed and assiduous labours. Never was such light shed upon all departments of Egyptology before, and never were such unity and system given to details which, from their variety and numbers, would have perplexed a less constructive mind. For be it distinctly understood, that while these volumes contain every thing essential to the successful prosecution of the study of Egyptian antiquity,-the original texts of all the authors, views and descriptions of all the monuments, Coptic and hieroglyphic dictionaries, and an amount of original deduction from this accumulation of materials, unequalled, we venture to say, in any modern work whatsoever, the author's mind is not one of agglomeration merely, but of assimilation. Sheer plodding industry, the obscura diligentia which never was guilty of one original thought, nor enlivened by one gleam of fancy or scintillation of genius, might build a pile of dead materials, the monument of its unartistic toil; but the mind that should inform the mass, and fuse the heterogeneous elements into a homogeneous whole, and form it with plastic hand into attractive shapeliness, and quicken it into a new being, which was rather a fresh life than a resurrection,-this belongs to the man of genius alone; this is the rare endowment of the units of mankind, "the precious porcelain of human clay." Now, this extraordinary faculty our author possesses in an unusual degree. Like the tree, which draws nourishment from every ingredient in the soil, his argument is fed from every source to which he has access. The most divergent conclusions of Egyptian science he reconciles at times with something resembling mathematical skill. The most inaccessible, as well as the most patent, regions of his subject he treads with equally facile foot. He climbs
"The trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock which never needs a fold,”—
as readily as he paces the champaign beneath; finding the one no impediment to his practised agility, while he speeds along the other with a grace which few can emulate, and none surpass.
However we may demur to the chronological conclusions of our author, we are bound to state, that the work before us is essential to all who would aspire to a knowledge of Ancient
Egypt. Its range of investigation is so wide, and at the same time so minute, that it forms an invaluable auxiliary to every one who desires to possess an intelligent acquaintance with the famous nation anciently located on the banks of the Nile.
With a single observation upon the generous morale of our author, we have done. In a work embracing such a variety of topics, there is necessarily allusion made to the names and labours of many husbandmen in the same or in kindred fields. As we deem it, the crowning merit of the Chevalier's publication is, that every where, and on every occasion, he seems to delight in the grateful recognition of the services of others. As, therefore, however high intellectual qualities may range, they rank below the level of moral endowments; so, may we add, we revere the disposition, the kindly frankness of the man, even more than we admire the singular endowments of the author. Never did any man seem more free from the jealous infirmities of the irritable race of authordom. The vital current of too many sons of the quill, which seems to run with tartaric acid or aqua fortis, in him seems, except under extraordinary provocation, to be a tide of milk and honey, whereof be this the honest and hearty recognition.
ART. II.-1. Reports from the Select Committee of the House of
2. Our Coal, and our Coal Pits: the People in them, and the
3. Papers read at the North-of-England Institute of Mining Engineers. Newcastle. 1852, 1853.
ONE of the most remarkable omissions observable in popular literature, has been an accurate and generally readable account of our British coal mines and miners. The little book at the head of this article, entitled "Our Coal, and our Coal Pits," &c., attempts, in part, to supply this omission; and a sale of some seven thousand copies and upwards has attested the previous want of such a book. Its limits, however, are too narrow for the whole subject; and the author states that, on this account, he is compelled to exclude altogether the discussion of accidents in mines, with the accompanying topics of ventilation, inflammable gases, explosions, &c.
The body of men and lads, too, who labour in and around these mines, have hitherto been almost entirely unknown beyond the precincts of colliery villages. It would scarcely be expected that they are, in round numbers, about 250,000 persons; or,