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Of such Countries and other places, as are mentioned, or referred to, in the Books of the New Testament, which follow after the Gospels, and fall not in with the Course
of St. Paul's Travels. THERE are some few countries and one city, which fall not well in with the description of the course of St. Paul's travels; and therefore remain to be here spoken of. They are most of them mentioned Acts ii. 9. where amongst those that came together and heard the Twelve speak, every man in his own language, on the day of Pentecost and upon the descent of the Holy Ghost, are reckoned Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia.
I shall begin with Mesopotamia, as lying next to Syria (already described) eastward, between the two famous Of Meso
potamia. rivers Euphrates and Tigris, whence it takes its name; Mesopotamia in the Greek tongue importing as much as Mid-River Land. In the forementioned country, in the western or north- 2.
OfCharran. west part thereof, on a river which runs into Euphrates, lay the city Charran, mentioned by St. Stephen the protomartyr, called b in the Old Testament Haran, and so named (as is thought) in memory of Haran the son of Terah, and brother of Abraham and father of Lot, this being the place to which Terah removed when he left Ur of the Chaldees, and where he died. It was called, with a little alteration, by the Romans, Carræ, and was made memorable on account of a great overthrow they received here by the Parthians. Chaldæa, or the land of the Chaldæans, out of which
3. Abraham originally came with his father, lies to the south of Chalof Mesopotamia, being divided from it by the river Eu
b Gen, xi. 31, 32.
PART 11. phrates and Tigris, as is also Arabia Deserta. However,
as the south-west part of Mesopotamia is by some Cancient writers ascribed to Arabia Deserta, so it seems the southeast part of it was reckoned sometimes as pertaining to Chaldæa. On which account Ur, seated in Mesopotamia between Nisibis and Tigris, is not improbably conceived to have been the same with Ur of the Chaldees, the birthplace of Abraham ; and hereby is cleared what St. Stephen saith, Acts vii. 2, 3, 4. The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, and said, Get thee out of thy country, &c.—Then came he out of the land of the Chal
dæans, and dwelt in Charran. 4.
To the east of Chaldæa, on the other side of the river Of Elam, Euphrates, lay Persia, which in the more early times of of country the world was denoted by the word Elam, the word Elamites. Persia being not used in the Old Testament before the
prophecies of Ezekiel and Daniel, but the word Elam made use of to denote that country and people. And in the same sense, no doubt, is it to be understood in the forecited place of the Acts of the Apostles. Only it is to be observed, that the name does more properly belong to the region of Elymais in Persia; and that it seems to have been taken from Elam, one of the sons of Shem, who set
tled here, Gen. x. 22. 5.
To the north of Elam, or Persia more properly so Of Media. called, lay Media, or the country of the Medes, fre
quently mentioned in the history of the Old Testament, and particularly by the prophet Daniel, who lived when Belshazzar the king of the Chaldæans was slain, and Darius the Median took the kingdom; and who prospered in the reign of Darius, and of Cyrus the Persian, who succeeded Darius, and founded the empire of Persia. This country doubtless took its name from Madai, one of the
sons of Japhet, Gen. x. 2. 6. To the east of Media lay Parthia, which for a long time Of Parthia.
was only an appendix or appurtenance of Media, and 80 CHAP.
VII. together with it devolved to the kings of Persia, and all together brought under the Grecian yoke by Alexander the Great; under which it continued till Arsaces, a noble Parthian, wrested his own country, and the other provinces lying east of Euphrates, out of the hands of the Greeks, and erected the Parthian kingdom. With the successors of Arsaces the Romans had several engagements, till at length the Parthians submitted themselves to Augustus Cæsar and the Romans, so far as to receive for their kings such as should be appointed by the Roman emperor and senate. But this submission was of no long continuance.
It will be requisite only to observe further, in reference to the before-mentioned provinces, lying to the east of Euphrates, viz. Parthia, Media, Elam, and Mesopotamia; that there lived a great many Jews , probably descendants of those that were carried away captive by the kings of Assyria and Babylon; whence it is that we find the inhabitants of these countries at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.
But besides these, we find mentioned by the sacred 7. writer, the dwellers in the parts of Libya about Cyrene. and Cyrene. Of which, Libya in its largest acceptation is taken to denote the whole Libyan or African continent, being the south-west part of the three general parts, into which the world was anciently divided. But in its proper acceptation Libya denotes the parts of the said continent lying along the Mediterranean sea, from Egypt eastward to the greater Syrtis, or Gulf of Sidra, westward.
Within Libya Propria in the western part of it stood Cyrene, a city of great note, and once of such power, as to contend with Carthage for some preeminences. It was the chief city of this country, which is therefore styled by some Cyrenaica, and by the sacred writer paraphrastically, Libya about Cyrene. The city itself is fa
d Philo. Leg. ad Caium.
PART II. mous for being the birthplace of Eratosthenes the mathe
matician, Callimachus the poet, and, in holy Writ, of that Simon, whom the Jews compelled to bear our Saviour's cross. Nor need we wonder, that when Egypt, particularly Alexandria, abounded with such vast numbers of Jews, that fifty thousand of them were there slain at one time, there should be some colonies or proselytes of them in the neighbouring country of Libya properly so called, or Cyrenaica, some of whom should among others come up to Jerusalem at the feast of Pentecost.
I have now gone through the Geography of the New Testament, having given an account of the situation of the several countries and other places therein mentioned ; and withal having taken notice of such particulars as have rendered the places more remarkable; this mixture of History tending to take off the dryness of bare Geography, and to render the whole pleasant and entertaining, as well as useful to the reader.