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ple in his time, that they should laugh the Sardonian Laughter, and there is a Proverbial Phrase, Ne Camarinam agita, in Book 3, all which rose in the World in later times than the Sibyls liv’d. The Poet uses many Fictions, as that of the Sibyl's being in the Ark, and her Joy after the Flood. The Sibyl is represented as seeing the last Ages at the Destruction of the World; the Constellations, as fighting with one another; these are plainly Poetical Fictions, as well as the Discourse of God to Noah, and his Discourse with the People : Besides, the Observations of the numeral Letters in divers Nanies are only the Poet's sporting with Numbers, and the derivation of Names are only his Fancy. 'Tis probable these Oraclés were writ short and obscure, in few words, but the Poet has more largely and fully describ'd 'em, after a poetical manner, which is only the Flourish of the Grecian Poets. The Greeks knew not the original History of the Flood, but from the Chaldean Historians, from whence they had the History of the Titans, Babel, and that the Ark rested in Phrygia. .
Since Noah liv'd .300 Years after the Flood, the Traditions of Religion reveal'd
to Adam and Noah could not soon be lost, I but was committed to some Writings, by
which the History of the new and old World, as well as Religion, were preserv'd; these afterwards corrupted Religion by the Worfhip of the Sun, Moon, and Stars; and after the Asyrian Empire was set up, the Hero Worship was introduc'd, by deifying their
Emperors; and the ancient Monuments and Histories were corrupted by the additions of Historian's. In this state the Sibyls found the World when they were inspir’d to restore the Worship of one God by describing the Creation, and the Punishment of the first - World by the Flood, and that at last there : would be a Judgment of all Mankind, and a Conflagration of the World, but the Godly fhould be rewarded in a Millennium. These Oracles contain good Instructions against all Vice, and few, that God punishes them by Wars, Plague, and Famine in this World. As Mofes had his History of the Creation, the Flood, and Patriarchs, from fonie written Traditions before him, so the Poet, or these Sibyls, took the Gentile Histories, which they found at Babylon or in Afia, to declare the Creation, Paradise, the Flood, and four Monarchies. None of the historical parts of the Oracles which preceded the Sibyls were inspir'd, but only those things which were succeeding, in the Rise or Ruin of the Roman Empire, or the Grecian.
St. John mentions Titus's Conquests of Ferufalem, which was before he writ in an. 96, that the succeeding Emperors, who were to destroy the Jews, night be more easily understood; and here the Sibýls mention only the four Monarchies, to lead us to the Roman Affairs.
6. The Events in the Roman Enipire must interpret these Prophesies, if they be taken in their natural order, and conipar'd with the Prophesies. As Daniel mentions the
Allyrian and Median Empires, which were past when the Image of all the four Monarchies appear’d, so these, Oracles being to treat chiefly of the Roman Empire, premises something of the preceding Empires; and they keep the natural order of History, viz, the Creation, Paradise, the Flood, Babel, the four Monarchies, and the Roman last: The account of the Romans is chiefly the first fifteen Emperors, and the Birth of Christ in the peaceable time of Augustus, when Ægypt was conquer’d.; then the time of the Martyrs is describ'd, the Constantinopolitan Empire, the Invasion of the Goths, the Saracens, and at last the coming of Antichrist into Syria, the Reign of the Woman, the Reformation of Religion.
The Erythraan Sibyl, as Eusebius assures us, liv'd in the sixth Generation after the Flood, and she wrote the third Book, in which the Conquest of the Turks in Asia and Greece are describ’d. The next remarkable Book for Prophesies is the fifth, which chiefly relates the coming of the Turk into Syria and Ægypt, and afterwards the Fall of Rome and the Turkish Empire. The third Book of evident Prophesies is the eighth, attribu'ted to the Cumaan Sibyl ; the fourth, fixth, and seventh are imperfect, like old Monuments whose Inscriptions are defaced by, Time, or ill keeping. These Prophesies which remain are very valuable and useful Antiquities, and sufficient to explain the Wars of Antichrist, his Miracles, the De=" struction of his Kingdom, the Return of the
Fews, and the state of Christ's Reign upon Earth before the end of the World. If we only retain the Morality, the worship of one God, and the Prophesies describ’d in these Oracles, as divine Revelations, we may reject many Descriptions, as the effect of the Poet's Fancy that compild 'em into Greek Verse.
7. I will next consider the Usefulness of the study of these Oracles: First, They will confirm the Truth of the Gospel-History concerning Christ's Death and Resurrection and the Prophesies of St. John. The Fathers allow'd them as true Prophesies, and quoted 'em against the Heathen, to prove the Unity of the Godhead, to condemn Idolatry, to, prove the Coming of Christ and the Millennium, the Return of the ten Tribes at last, the burning of the World, and the Resurrection of the Body: So far the first Chriftians understood of 'em, and in these things found them to agree with the Revelations, but since their times they have been neglected, the Copies decay'd, and the Oracles are now discredited, by the bold Critics, and those who reject all Revelation, as also by the Roman Church, whose Idolatry is here describ'd as well as the Ruin of it at last.. The Copy I us'd was that of opfopaus, printed 1607; I have seen a former Edition, in 1599, and lately Gallaus's Edition, 1684; from these I have made the best Translation I could, and have chiefly aim'd at the Sense, but have left the Niceties to the Critics. I have began the Desiga of applying the seve
pore cleations; and, pret both in the Ros
ral Prophesies to the History of the Turks, but must leave it to Pofterity to finish.
Secondly, Twill appear by this Tract, that the same History of Events in the Roa man Empire will interpret both the Oracies and Revelations; and, that these Events are more clearly describ'd in the Oracles; so that by comparing the Oracles with the Re- ' velations, I will explain some parts of the latter better than has yet been done, especially the 14th, 15th, and 16th Chapters; for the Oracles declare the Return of the ten Tribes before the Destruction of Rome; and the Destruction of the Harvest and Vintage in the Destruction of the Saracen Beast in the East and West ; the seven Vials will chiefly belong to the first Decay of the Turks: And all this must happen before the Destruction of Rome, tho' the final Destruction of the Turk will be after the Fall of Rome.
Thirdly, 'Twill appear, that God by his Providence raises and destroys all Empires, and appoints Signs of these things, as comets, Earthquakes, Inundations, eruption of Fire from the burning Mountains ; before great Changes these happen ; and Plagues, Famine, the Sword of Antichrift, are the common Punishment of Idolatry,dc.
Fourthly, By these 'twill appear that the Corruption in the Roman Church in the West, and the Tyranby in the East under the Turk, will last to the end of the World.
Fifthly, By the Oractes 'twill appear, that the Millennium is a description of the happy state of the Christian Church in this World