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This work consists partly of copyright matter, thoroughly revised; partly of new matter, carefully written;—the former a compend of topics treated in other Bible Cyclopædias; the latter a digest of knowledge called for by the questionings of the day. It aims, therefore, to be a better work than if constructed entirely after the old way, or entirely upon a new plan. As regards things permanently interesting, it is a Bible Cyclopædia, embodying the fruits of recent study; and as regards other things, with reference to attacks on the Scriptures, it is a Book for the Times.
Its nucleus existed in a Scripture Gazetteer, a Biography, and a Natural History, each issued at different times some few years ago, and the property of the publishers. Each, as it appeared, was everything that could be desired. All were extensively sold. Their writer's research, judgment, impartiality, simplicity, and clearness, made them more acceptable than former works of their kind. But they lost force by separation; they came to need revision and extension; they overlooked antiquities, customs, arts, and other departments; they wanted pronunciations of names, and instructive illustrations. These three works are now thrown into one alphabetical arrangement, recast, revised, and brought down to the present state of information. New articles are inserted. Accented pronunciations of Scripture names and of other words, the headings of the articles, are given. Maps and pictures are introduced. The staple composition in geography, biography, and natural history having been already done, the main labour has been devoted to revision, extension, and improvement; so that the work is better than if from one pen, or in one course of writing.
The Geographical articles give full accounts of all countries and places mentioned in the Bible, so far as yet identified by modern research; and where materials for them exist, contain notices of history, antiquities, customs, traditions, rites, trade and other subjects usually touched by the best writers on geography. Original maps make this department unusually illustrative. The Biographical articles give narratives or notices of all persons mentioned in the Scriptures; include a large and prominent life of our Lord and Saviour; and embody what is historical, and much that is traditional, in the lives of the patriarchs, kings, prophets, apostles, and other prominent persons. In cases where only the names or connexions of persons are known,