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General Remarks on the Five Books of Moses
Preface to the Book of Genesis
Note on the Chronology of the Book of Genesis
Tabular View of the principal Epochs in the Book of Genesis
Preface to the Book of Leviticus .
Preface to the Book of Numbers
Preface to the Book of Deuteronomy
Concluding Remarks on the Pentateuch
General Remarks on the Historical Books of the Old Testament
Preface to the Book of Joshua .
Note on the Destruction of the Canaanites
Prefree to the Book of Judges .
Preface to the First Book of Samuel
Preface to the Second Book of Samuel
Note on the Character of David
Preface to the First Book of the Kings .
Preface to the Second Book of the Kings
Preface to the First Book of the Chronicles
Preface to the Second Book of the Chronicles
Note on the Events connected with the Captivity
Preface to the Book of Nehemiah
Note on the State of the Jews after the Captivity
Preface to the Book of Esther . .
Note on the Variations in Numbers mentioned in the Historical Books
Chronological Summary of the History of the Israelites from the Exodus out of Egypt till the Birth of Christ 517
General Remarks on the Poetical Books, and on Hebrew Poetry
Preface to the Book of Ecclesiastes
Preface to the Song of Solomon
MAPS AND PLATES IN VOL. I.
Physical Map of Palestine and the Adjacent Countries—(Frontispiece).
The Bible (or “the Book') is the name usually given to man ever formed, evidently could not have originated an ancient collection of sixty-six smaller volumes, com- in his mind, but must have been communicated to him prising parratives, poetry, moral axioms, and religious from a higher Being. In the life of the Redeemer espediscourses, written in Hebrew, Chaldee, and Greek, by cially, human excellences are delineated which no many different authors, who lived successively during a biographer had ever attributed to his hero; but which period of more than fifteen hundred years. Exceedingly are not less striking for their naturalness and reality valuable as coutaining the most ancient writings, the than for their perfect agreement with the dictates of most remarkable and best accredited histories, the sub- enlightened conscience. limest poetry, and the noblest personal, social, and political 3. All that the Bible discloses respecting the moral morality in the world, it has peculiar and extraordinary government of God, and human responsibility, and the claims on account of its professed ORIGIN and OBJECT, connection between our present conduct and our future declaring itself to be a Divine revelation, in which destiny, is in perfect accordance with the constitution of God is made known to us, in order that he may be nature and the order of providence-as manifested in honoured in the restoration of our fallen race to purity the punishments and rewards which even now follow and happiness.
virtue and vice, in their effects upon men's physical and Whilst no one can deny that it is possible for the Creator mental constitution and outward circumstances--in the to give to his intelligent creatures direct revelations pleasure bestowed or the pains inflicted by consciencerespecting himself and his will, his wisdom and bene- in the approbation or contempt of others, and in the retriFolence render it highly probable that he should have butions of domestic and of civil life:-all of which suffimade such communications, if they were necessary. ciently prove that, even in the present degenerate and And, when we consider the deep degradation of millions disordered world, the Divine administration is on the side of heathen in every age and of every form of worship of the righteous; and amply justify the conclusion that, (compare Rom. i. 18—32 with ancient histories and mo- as this book declares, virtue, militant here, will be dern missionary records)-the dismal uncertainty of the triumphant hereafter; and that the first-fruits of God's kteatest pagan philosophers respecting the attributes and moral government which are perceptible now are the purposes of God, and the nature and destinies of the sure signs of its future perfection in the world to come. human race (compare Acts xvii. with Plato's Phædon 4. The plan of salvation which it reveals, through the and Cicero's Treatise De Natura Deorum ) --and the mediation of the Son of God, is altogether beyond the entire failure of all modern theorists, though borrowing limits of human invention or conjecture; while, at the much from revelation, to construct any system affording same time, it affords a matchless display of holiness adequate motives to self-improvement, or sufficient con- and love in indissoluble union, which fully accords with solation under inevitable suffering — we must be con- our most enlightened notions of the Divine attributes, Tinced that it was essential to the well-being of man that and can easily be conceived to produce effects upon the God should so speak to him.
welfare and happiness of the whole universe far beyond Now the Bible expressly and repeatedly claims to be our present powers of knowledge or comprehension. the word of God--the only and complete written revelation And not less does the wonderful adaptation of this of the Divine will. In proof that it is so, we observe, scheme of mercy to the condition of man prove that it
1. Its numerous books, written in different ages and proceeded from the Author of his nature; for it meets countries by men of different ranks and classes - shep- all the exigencies of the case - awakening conscience herds, fishermen, priests, warriors, statesmen, kings-all and satisfying its demands--supplying motives to holihave one great subject; and, amidst numerous diversities ness of irresistible force – providing influences fully of form, style, and manner of thought, are pervaded by adequate to the moral renovation of every human being, the same ideas, which are gradually developed, with no whatever be his character, condition, or circumstancesreal contradictions, yet with such circumstantial varia- and giving solid peace to the mind; as is remarkably timus as disprove the possibility of collusion; clearly illustrated by the fact that no instance is on record, or showing that one mind, through more than fifteen hun- can be produced, of any sincere believer in the religion dred years, must have been engaged upon it.
of the Bible who, in the prospect of dissolution, ever 2. The description which it gives of man's state, however repented of his faith. opposed to his self-flattering views, exactly accords with 5. The moral teachings of the Bible, which fully accord what he sees passing around him and within him; so with the fainter light of natural religion, bespeak its that the more closely any one scrutinizes the thoughts, Divine origin. The religion which it reveals is spiritual desires, and motives of his own heart, the more will he be and holy, requiring universal moral rectitude, and exconvinced that the Bible proceeds from One who knows tending to the inward principles and motives of human all the hidden secrets of his heart, and gives a far more conduct-not overlooking the outward forms, but valuing Heurte account of his disposition and character than he them only as they are expressions of the internal spirit; himself could have done:—while the representation which unlike all human religions, which have respect to the garb it contains of the character of God, being altogether unlike and manners of piety rather than to its heart and soul. and infinitely superior to any ideas of Him which fallen | Among numberless illustrations of the moral dignity of the Bible may be instanced its truthfulness and its good- the Saviour; and the complete subordination of all that ness :—its truthfulness, as seen in the fearless exhibition is merely personal, national, or temporary, to the higher of truths the most unwelcome to human selfishness, pride, interests of universal and eternal truth and goodness. and prejudices—its candid forewarnings of the trials and It should also be remembered, that if this volume be sufferings incident to true piety in the present world- not a revelation from heaven, there is no other document and its faithful delineation of good men, whom it nowhere in the world which can substantiate its pretension to be describes as perfect, although it presents them as sincere, such; so that we are left in darkness as to the origin or holy, and devoted disciples of a perfect system of truth the destiny of the human race, the whole history of the and duty;--and its goodness, as manifested in the spirit world is unexplained, and man himself, with all his noble of love and kindness which breathes through every part powers and endowments, will appear to have existed in of this book-its solicitude for the young-its sympathy vain. for the poor, the oppressed, and the suffering-and its Such are a few of the reasons which are sufficient to benevolent regard for classes of the human family whom satisfy every honest inquirer that the Scriptures are not a every other system of religion overlooks and despises. merely human production, but .given by inspiration of
6. Another evidence of the truth of Scripture is found God.' But a practical belief of the gospel usually rests in its perfect agreement with personal experience. It upon more simple grounds even than these. A man who declares, for example, that the fruit of righteousness is has just views of the character of God, and of himself, will "quietness and assurance for ever'-that sincere believing accept the Saviour here offered to him, just as a drowning prayer to God is ever answered, either in the bestowment man will lay hold of the arm that is stretched out to draw of the blessing asked, or of some greater-that obedience him to the shore; and, in proportion as the heart and to the Divine precepts is followed by inward joy, even conduct are influenced by these doctrines, will the underthough it may lead to outward suffering ;-in a word, standing be opened to perceive their perfect fitness, unit describes the history and experience of all Christians, questionable truth, and sarpassing glory. and, with no less accuracy, those of the ungodly; and the description, in each case, is found to be true. The By the DIVINE INSPIRATION of the Scriptures, we mean Bible is thus incessantly proving itself to be the word of such a complete and immediate communication, by the unerring and ever-living truth.
Holy Spirit, to the minds of the sacred writers, of those 7. The effects of the Bible upon those who believe it things which could not have been otherwise known, and are such as no other book was ever known to produce ;- such an effectual superintendence as to those particulars altering entirely the character and conduct, producing concerning which they might otherwise obtain informaeminent virtue, supplying extraordinary consolation, and tion, as sufficed absolutely to preserve them from every especially giving birth to expansive and self-denying degree of error in all things which could, in the least benevolence. So that if a person of entire impartiality, | degree, affect any of the doctrines or precepts contained of sound mind and holy disposition, should be shown the in their writings.... They wrote, indeed, in such language two companies of those who have received and those who as their different talents, educations, habits, and associahave rejected the Scriptures; and should compare the tions suggested or rendered natural to themi; but the seriousness, learning, patient investigation of truth, solid Holy Spirit so entirely superintended them, when writing, judgment, holy lives, and composure in a dying hour, as to exclude every improper expression, and to guide without unmanly terror or indecent levity, of the one them to all those which best suited their several subcompany, with the character and conduct of the other, jects.' - Scott. See 1 Cor. ii. 13. he would be induced to take up the Bible with profound veneration, and the strongest prepossession in its favour.' Although some apocryphal writings have raised ques--Scott. It has also widely diffused a vastly beneficial tions respecting the CANON of SCRIPTURE, it is not very influence wherever it has been known; improving the difficult to ascertain what books are properly included in moral and social state of the world to such a degree as to the volume of Revelation. As regards the Old Testament, make its own accounts of the depravity of former times, we have the testimony of our Lord, in numerous inthough corroborated by many ancient writers, and by the stances, to the collection of sacred writings in use in his existing practices of the dark parts of the earth, appear days among the Jews; and he expressly mentions the almost incredible; while all other professed revelations three parts of which it consisted, according to the division have not only proved utterly worthless for the purpose of made at that time—the Law, the Prophets, and the ameliorating the condition, or reforming the character of Psalms, Luke xxiv. 44-46. And from the New Testathose who have most heartily received them, but have ment writers, from Josephus and other contemporaries, we cherished and called into action the most depraved prin- | learn the names of the books of which that collection was ciples of the human heart.
composed. The Law included the five books of Moses. To these might be added (beside the whole body of The Prophets consisted of two parts: the one, called the external evidence) many other marks of moral beauty former prophets,' comprising the historical books, to the and Divine wisdom in the word of God: its variety com- end of 2 Kings; the other, called the latter prophets,' bined with its unity; its brevity, and yet its inexhaustible containing all the prophetical books except Daniel. And fulness; the consistency and harmony which exist be- the third division, which was called the Psalms, because tween its several portions, as seen in the mutual rela- those Divine poems stood first in it, and also named the tions of the Old and New Testaments—the mutual con- • Writings,' comprehended all the rest. It is probable nections of the historical, poetical, and didactic books, that the collection was made by Ezra (see note at the end of the exact correspondence of the types under the law with Ezra); and that after his time, his own book, with those of the substance under the gospel, and of predictions in the Nehemiah and Malachi, were added. Since then, the prophets with their fulfilment in the person and work of Jews have guarded with the utmost jealousy the Oracles of God' committed to them; and we have the evidence as applied to the whole, is supposed to have been first of early translators, and of Josephus, a priest and leader used in this sense in about the fifth century. of his nation, that precisely the same books as now bear the name of the Old Testament, were regarded by them The ORIGINAL LANGUAGES of the Bible are Hebrew, as alone possessing religious authority.
Chaldee, and Greek. The Old Testament was written in The names given to the Old Testament in the New are Hebrew, excepting a few portions which, from particular Seripture,' or 'the Scriptures,' or 'the Holy Scriptures' circumstances, were in the cognate Chaldee dialect. See (2 Pet. i. 20; Matt. xxi. 42; Rom. i. 2); the Sacred Dan. ii. 4–vii. 28; Ezra iv. 8--vi. 18; vii. 12—26. The Writings' (2 Tim. iü. 15); “the Law;' or, the Law books of Moses exist in two forms. Beside the ordinary and the Prophets ;' or, “the Law, the Prophets, and the Hebrew text, there is also the Samaritan Pentateuch, Psalms' (John xii. 34; Luke xxiv. 44).
which was in use among the mixed population who inThe genuineness of every book in the New Testament habited the kingdom of Israel after its conquest by the is established by a great variety of historical, critical, Assyrians, composed of the remnant of the poorer classes and internal proofs. Besides the evidence afforded by left in the country by Shalmaneser, and of the heathen their contents, there is express and positive testimony, colonists introduced by him (see 2 Kings xvii. 24441); on the part of both friends and enemies, that these books and who, in consequence of their political hostility to the were written by the apostles of Jesus Christ and their Jews, acknowledged only the writings of Moses. The date fellow - labourers. Indeed, there are no other ancient at which this Hebræo-Samaritan text had its origin is Forks the origin and age of which can be established by uncertain; it being ascribed by some to a period shortly so many trustworthy witnesses living at or near the time after the division of the two kingdoms, and by others to when they were written. They were received with the a date subsequent to the Assyrian captivity. This Teatest respect by the first churches, many of which text, though inferior in value to the Hebrew, is useful had among themselves individuals competent, from their as affording confirmation or correction of it from an inown personal knowledge and experience, to judge of dependent authority. the credibility of the facts related in them; copies of All the authors of the New Testament appear to have them were multiplied and dispersed, as the boundaries written in the Greek language. That this was already of the Christian church were extended; and in every familiar to them as a vehicle of their religious thoughts age, from that time to the present, they have been pub- and feelings, is evident from their frequent use of the licly and solemnly read in the assemblics of Christians Greek translation called the Septuagint, in quoting the throughout the world. Wherever the Christian faith was Old Testament, and from the remarkable accordance of received, these books were acknowledged as the word of their style with the style of that ancient version. This God; were quoted and appealed to by persons of different language was also peculiarly suitable for this important sects and parties among Christians, as the standard of purpose, as being at that time almost universally known truth; and were explained and illustrated in numerous and used in the most civilized parts of the world. commentaries and expositions from the first centuries of the Christian era. And while there was this general In the PRESERVATION OF THE SACRED TEXT through concurrence of testimony respecting the books now re- many dark and troubled periods, the gracious hand of an ceived as canonical, there was no less agreement in ever-watchful Providence may be clearly seen. Among excluding all other books professing to have similar many remarkable circumstances which contributed greatly authority.
to this end, may be mentioned the speedy multiplication At what period the writings of the New Testament of copies, the early execution of accurate translations, were first collected together cannot be stated with cer- and the introduction of very extensive quotations from tainty. As this collection took its rise from the com- the books of the New Testament in the writings of the munication of its apostolic writings by one church to early Fathers, which now, from their abundance and another, the great distances which separated them, and their agreement with each other, form one principal other circumstances which rendered mutual intercourse criterion for the settlement of the text. As, for many dificult, would necessarily cause some churches to pos- ages, until the invention of printing, the Scriptures were sess certain Scriptures earlier than others. Hence their handed down in written copies, there exist, as might be collections of sacred writings must at first have been expected, literal and verbal variations between the difdifferent, and must have remained so for a longer or ferent ancient manuscripts. In later times, an incalcushorter time, according to their different situations. But, lable amount of learning and industry has been applied notwithstanding the great difficulty of multiplying copies to the investigation and settlement of the text; the various in an age when there was no quicker method of produc- authorities have been completely sifted ; and the most ing them than by writing every letter with the pen, it minute care and attention have been employed in collating appears that the numerous Christian churches founded in all the existing manuscript copies and ancient versions;the first century, as well as many private individuals, and the result is, that the Sacred Books are cleared from were possessed of the sacred writings. As early as the every cloud of doubt respecting their authenticity. All the second century, a collection of the Christian Scriptures omissions in the ancient manuscripts put together would was in general use, consisting of two volumes, under the not countenance the rejection of one essential doctrine of names of the Gospels' and 'the Apostles ;' and subse- the gospel relative to faith or morals; and all the addi. quently, in about the third century, the complete volume tions countenanced by the whole mass of manuscripts received the title of the New Testament,' or rather which have been collated, do not introduce a single essenNew Covenant,' in contradistinction to the preceding tial point which is not found in the most imperfect verbooks, which are called by St. Paul (2 Cor. iii. 14) the sions. Thus the greatest discrepancies that can be found Old Covenant.' The name BIBLE (“Biblia,' i. e. books), leave untouched the ground of faith and the rule of life.