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Tye following volumes are offered to the public, not without a lively sense of the serious responsibility attaching to the task which the author has undertaken to perform. Of the rectitude of the end which it is designed to effect he entertains, indeed, no distrust whatever; for it has been his object not merely to describe events as they occurred, but to convey to the mind of the reader a connected view of that stupendous scheme, by which fallen man has been restored to the favour of his Maker. Yet is he well aware, that between the plan and the execution of every work there is the widest possible difference; and hence, should he have failed, even in the most minute particular, to place matters so sacred in their true light, no man will lament more sincerely than himself that his history was ever written.
Various circumstances, however, induce him to hope not only that such will prove not to have been the case, but that his work will be found deserving of the approbation of all those upon whose good opinion he is disposed to affix any value. To much of novelty it cannot indeed lay claim ;—the subject is not such as to admit of novelty ; yet he is not desirous to conceal that neither labour nor research
have been spared for the purpose of rendering it acceptable to all classes of the reading and inquiring public. Above all, he is strong in the consciousness that his volumes have been composed with the most profound reverence for the statements of Holy Writ; to elucidate, and only to elucidate which, reference has ever been made to more doubtful, because to uninspired authorities. The author is not unmindful that
abler guides have gone before him in the same path. Of the labour of these, as often as opportunity occurred, he has never scrupled to avail himself; though he has in no instance adopted either their continuity or assertions without the most deliberate investigation; on the contrary, as he has uniformly ventured to exercise his own judgment on points both of speculation and detail, he stands fairly responsible for whatever doctrines may seem to be taught in his pages.
HISTORY OF THE BIBLE.
The important Volume of the narrative of which it is purposed to give here a continuous outline, holds a place in the literature of this and of other Christian countries, totally distinct from that occupied by any other work, either of History or of Science. Besides a connected and faithful, though succinct account of the earliest ages of the world; of the reduction of chaos into order; of the creation of man and other animals; and of the consequences, moral as well as physical, which ensued: the Bible professes to give a detail of numerous occurrences, in which the Creator, not less than the creature, was an immediate actor, and of which the object is represented to have been uniformly the same, viz. the benefit of the human race. In few words, the Bible advances claims upon the notice of persons in all ranks of society, not merely as explaining the course of events of which, but for it, they could have known nothing ; but as containing the substance of various dispensations, granted from time to time by God to man, for the purpose of instructing him in his duty as a moral and religious being, and, as a necessary consequence, of increasing his happiness.
That a volume which makes such demands upon the consideration of mankind at large should have attracted the closest scrutiny, wherever it has been known, cannot by any means surprise us. The claim to a Divine original by any human performance is what enlightened
men are always slow to admit,