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HE deserved estimation in which the Tranfactions of the various Societies in Great Britain, as well as upon the Continent, have hitherto been held, is a circumstance so well known, that nothing in this place need be faid upon the fubject; but the lucubrations of the Afiatic Society have not been fo widely diffused. Nearly the whole of the impreffion of the Afiatic Researches is diftributed in the Eaft Indies, therefore very few copies reach Europe; and this, among other reafons, has given rife to the prefent Publication. To fuffer fo many valuable Papers, on a vast variety of Literary, Scientific, and Antiquarian Subjects, to lie buried on the shelves of a few perfons, would have been an unpardonable offence; but to rescue from a kind of oblivion, and to present to their Countrymen in Europe, a regular series of the Papers communicated to the Afiatic Society, is the intention of the Undertakers of the prefent Work. This Society, it is well known, had the late excellent and learned Sir WILLIAM JONES for its Founder, and for its Prefident many years; but fince he has favoured the world with an account of its origin in the First Volume of the Work, we shall content ourselves with referring our Readers to that discourse, wherein they will find an ample display of its utility, and a detail of its objects of pursuit,
In the Differtation on the Religious Ceremonies of the Hindus, p. 361 of the prefent Volume, the author cites a paffage which appears to have reference to the creation of the universe, and which feems, upon the whole, to bear fome refemblance to the account given by Mofes in the Pentateuch. This naturally leads us to confider the antiquity of both the Mofaic and Hindu Scriptures, and to compare, in fome measure, the accounts given in each work relative to that important fact.
The writings of Moses have generally been confidered as more ancient than thofe of any other perfon; but the Hindu Scriptures, fo far as the refearches of feveral learned men have extended, appear to be of very high antiquity, and are even carried by fome beyond the time of the Hebrew Lawgiver. Sir W. JONES, in his Preface to the "Inftitutes of Hindu Law, or the Ordinances of MENU, according to the Glofs of CULLU'CA," carries the highest age of the Yajur Véda 1580 years before the birth of CHRIST, which is nine years previous to the birth of MOSES, and ninety before MOSES departed from Egypt with the Ifraelites. This date, of 1580 years before CHRIST, feems the more probable, because the Hindu fages are faid to have delivered their knowledge orally. CULLU'CA BHATTA produced, what may be faid to be very truly, the shortest, yet the most luminous; the least oftentatious, yet the most learned; the deepest, yet the most agreeable, commentary on the Hindu Scriptures, that ever was compofed on any author, ancient or mo
dern, European or Afiatic; and it is this work to which the learned generally apply, on account of its clearness. We fhall not, however, take up your time with a differtation on the exact age of either the Hebrew or the Hindu Scriptures; both are ancient: let the learned judge: but fome extracts from the Hindu and Hebrew accounts of the creation, may ferve to fhew how much they agree together: whether the Hindu Bráhmens borrowed from MOSES, or MOSES from the Hindu Bráhmens, is not our prefent inquiry.
Extracts from the Laws of
THIS univerfe exifted only in the firft divine idea yet unexpanded, as if involved in darkness, imperceptible, undefinable, undifcoverable by reafon, and undif covered by revelation, as if it were wholly immerfed in fleep. (Chap. i. 5.)
Then the fole felf-existing Power, himself undifcerned, but making this world difcernible, with five elements, and other principles of nature, appeared with undiminished glory, expanding his idea, or difpelling the gloom. (Ib. 6.)
He, whom the mind alone can perceive, whofe effence eludes the external who has no vifible
Extracts from the Writings of Moses.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Gen. i. 1.)
parts, who exifts from eternity,even HE,the foul of all beings, whom no being can comprehend, fhone forth in perfon. (Ib. 7.)
He,having willed to produce various beings from his own divine fubftance, firft with a thought created the waters, &c. (Ib. 8.)
The waters are called nárá,because they were the production of NARA, or the fpirit of God; and, fince they were his firft ayana,or place of motion, he thence is namedNA'RA'YANA,Ormoving on the waters. (Ib. 10.)
From THAT WHICH IS, the first cause, not the object of fenfe, exifting every where in fubftance, not exifting to our perception, without beginning or end, was produced the divine male. (Ib. 11.)
-He framed the heaven above,and the earthbeneath: in the midft he placed the fubtile ether, the eight regions, and the permanent receptacle of waters. (Ib. 13.)