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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1813,

BY ROBERT SEARS & EDWARD WALKER, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District

of New York.

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PREFACE.

It is impossible duly to estimate the change produced in the world since the rapid multiplication of books by the modern facilities of printing has brought at least some measure of KNOWLEDGE to every man's door. Indisputably, much advantage has resulted from the wide promulgation of Truth; but it may be doubted whether a habit of superficial reading has not also been fostered, and whether the mind, instead of being concentrated on a little which is most important, has not, in traversing a larger field, gathered much that is of no value. Perhaps its fine gold has been alloyed, and its wine diluted with water. Perhaps, when heretofore The Bible was the principal subject of study, its attention has been since diverted from that to merely human expositions.

« Ilast thou ever heard
of such a book! The author, God himseil ;
The subject, God and man, salvation, life,
And death-eternal life, eternal death
Dread words! whose meaming has no end, no bounds;
Most wondrous book! bright candle of the LORD!
Star of eternity! the only star
By which the bark of man could navigate
The sea of life, and gain the coast of bliss
Securely! only star which rose on Time,
And, on its dark and troubled billows, still,
As generation, drifting swiftly by,
Succeeded generation, threw a ray
Of heaven's own light, and to the hills of God,
The eternal hills, pointed the sinner's eye.
By prophets, seers, priests, and sacred bards,
Evangelists, apostles, men inspired,
And by the Holy Ghost, anointed set
A part, and consecrated to declare
To earth the counsels of the ETERNAL ONE,
This book, this holiest, this sublimest book
Was sent."

The Bible, therefore, ought to be the beginning and the end of all religious reading; it is the standard by which everything else must be measured—the touchstone by which every other book must be tried. Other authors are valuable as they direct our aitention to this ; they are profitable only as they derive their knowledge from this source. They must make their continual appeal "to the law, and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” 'The errors which have been introduced into the world have sprung either from the perversion or from the neg. lect of The BiblE. Men have put away the divine teacher, and have leaned to their own understandings, or they have not chosen to receive its declarations in simplicity of heart, and have put interpretations upon them which they never were intended to bear. And as even in the best and wisest book that ever proceeded altogether from a human pen, there is much that is uncertain, and much that is imperfect, no man can be assured of his security in the way of truth, unless he is perpetually examining the guides which men have set up, by that light which was given from on high to be a lantern to his path.

We consider the present volume as Scripture itself, teaching the knowledge of its own divine precepts, and urging the practice of them by interesting examples. Young Persons of superior education, whose natural inquisitiveness has been quickened by intelligence, are especially intended to be benefited by it, aiding them in their studies, while eagerly inquiring for sacred knowledge, and seeking, with deeply-felt interest, for a more comprehensive acquaintance with the Oracles of God.

There is not among the many interesting traits of Christian character with which the history of the early Christians abounds, one that stands out more frequently in beautiful and prominent relief, than the tender solicitude and the winning arts which they employed to imbue the susceptible minds of the young with the knowledge and the faith of the Scripture. While hey were fondled on the knee, and still watched by the careful eyes of their nurse, the first words they were taught to lisp and articulate were the sacred names of God and the SAVIOUR. And the whole range of nursery knowledge and amusement was comprised in narratives and pictures, illustrating episodes in the life of the holy child, or parables the most simple and interesting in the ministry of Christ. As their minds expanded, they were taught, along with the grand doctrines of Scripture, which, according to the approved fashion of those days, were rendered familiar by apposite similitudes from nature, the Proverbs of Solomon, and those passages of the sacred volume which relate particularly to the economy of life.

Religion, in short, was the grand basis of education, the only subject which, during the first years of life, they allowed their children to be taught; and in order to present it to their minds with the greater attractions, and entwine it with their earliest and purest associations, they adopted the happy expedient of wedding it to the graces of poetry, and rendering it more memorable by the melody of numbers. From the earliest period of Christian antiquity there were authors who, like Watts in modern times, “condescended to lay aside the scholar, the philosopher, and the wit, to write little poems of devotion, adapted to the wants and capacities of children,” and these, set to well-known and favorite airs, borrowed from the profaner songs of the heathen, were sung by the Christians at their family concerts, which enlivened their meals, and by which alone the still and peaceful tranquillity of their homes was ever broken. Ere long, their children were taught common, and frequently short-hand writing, in lines taken from the Psalms, or in words of sententious brevity, in which the leading doctrines of the gospel were stated; and at a later period, when the progress of toleration allowed Christian seminaries to be erected, the school-books in use consisted chiefly of passages of the Bible versified, and of the poetical pieces which illustrated or enforced the great subjects of faith and duty. The most cel ebrated of these were compositions of the two Apollinaries, grammarians of high reputation in Syria—the elder of whom, in imitation of Homer, wrote the Antiquities of the Jews in heroic verse, down to the reign of Saul, while the first of the sacred story he described in such metrical forms as corresponded to the verses of the Greek tragedians, and the lyrical ballads of Pindar. The department undertaken by his son was that of reducing the history of the evangelists and the epistles of Paul into the form and style of Plato's dialogues; and with so much taste and elegance were both of these works compiled, that on their first appearance they took their place among the most esteemed productions of the l'athers. Besides these, there was a collection of miscellaneous poems on sacred subjects, and in all sorts of verse, by the famous Gregory Nazianzen, in very extensive circulation. By means of these, and of many other evangelical books which have long ago become the prey of time, the Christian youth were introduced to the elements of pure and undefiled religion, and their taste for knowl. edge and the beauties of learning created and formed by works in which salvation was held up as the one thing needful, and no achievements described, no characters lauded, but such as were adorned with the fruits of righteousness. Thus did the pious care of the primitive Christians intermingle religion with all the pursuits and recreations of the young, and never allow them to engage in the study of science, or to plunge into the business of the world, until they had been first taught to view everything in the spirit and by the principles of the Word of God.

“ A NEW AND COMPLETE UNIVERSAL History Of The Holy Bible” has long been needed. We have, with great care, study, and expense, been enabled to present one to the public. Commentators, lexicographers, oriental travellers, and biblical critics of the greatest name, have been extensively consulted in preparing this work. The attention of the reader is respectfully requested to the copious supply of notes, critical and explanatory, at the foot of the pages, designed to render the publication intelligible and instructive to all classes of readers. Literature, profane and sacred, is here united with the arts of printing and engraving, to produce a work, which shall be a valuable addition to the biblical literature of our country. Something more, however, than a mere compiler is required to do it justice. Patient labor will effect much; but without searching discrimination, without great power of original conception, a dull and ponderous work will be the result

, the perusal of which will take up as much time as did the composition of it, and leave as little clear and pleasing impression on the reader, as the author had distinct conception of his subject, or real love for it. The Scripture History ought, least of all, to be overlaid with tediousness. Too little is understood of the character of the revealed dispensations, and the mode in which they were communicated; and that writer does a great benefit to his race who familiarizes the Sacred History, by giving a plain and easy narration of the events which it records, and elucidating the circumstances and peculiarities of the people who were originally concerned in them.

In preparing the present Work we have endeavored to blend instruction and entertainment in such a manner that, while the reader is sensibly pleased, he will find himself imperceptibly improved, and be amazed at his extensive knowledge of the Scriptures, acquired in so rapid a manner. A complete History of the Bible is indeed absolutely necessary to accompany that sacred book, in order to elucidate many important matters, which, in this age, might not be understood by many pious and well-disposed people. The sacred writers, for instance, often named places which they did not describe, because those to whom their writings were addressed well knew them. It is our business, therefore, to point out the situation, together with the ancient and modern state of those places. They mentioned customs peculiar to the early ages, and oriental countries in which they lived, and which we have here illustrated with great care and expense.

The Editor refers here with pleasure to the gratifying reception his former publications have met with more than Fifty THOUSAND COPIES of his different volumes having been circulated throughout the United States and British North America, within the short period of two years—his own expe

ations of their success having been more than fully realized. It would be unnatural, if not irreligious, for him not to feel honored and delighted with the numerous favorable testimonials, relative to their character and design, he has received from the public press, both political and religious; together with the unsolicited recommendations of numerous leading Clergymen of all denominations, Instructers of Youth, Sunday School Teachers, &c., beside knowing the fact, that there is, at

the present time, a continual and growing demand for them throughout the country

We respectfully offer the present volume to the patronage of Christian Pastors, Instructers, and Parents. In preparing it for the press, we have found much more labor than we expected, to render the whole instructive and agreeable to modern and intelligent re ers. In every part of it we have studied brevity, and labored at condensation. Without this, it would have been an easy matter to double its size with more extended matter, or additional notes; but these, however, in various respects desirable, have been omitted, for the

purpose

of preserving the size of the volume within moderate limits, that it might be more generally possessed by every class of Christians. “THE BIBLE," says an amiable and universally-admired writer, “ is a light to our feet, and a lamp to our path. It points us to the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It is our guide while we live, and our trust when we die. It is the charter of our salvation, and the pledge of our immortality: If there were but one Bible in the world, all the wealth of that world would not be adequate to the value of that Bible.” Another old writer observes : “HAPPY IS THE MAN THAT FINDETH WISDOM, AND THE MAN THAT GETTETH UNDERSTANDING ; FOR THE MERCHANDISE OF IT IS BETTER THAN THE MERCHANDISE OF SILVER, AND THE GAIN THEREOF THAN FINE GOLD. SHE IS MORE PRECIOUS THAN RUBIES; AND ALL THE THINGS THOU CANST DESIRE ARE NOT TO BE COMPARED UNTO HER.

LENGTH OF DAYS IS IN HER RIGHT HAND; AND IN HER LEFT HAND RICHES AND HONOR. HER WAYS ARE WAYS OF PLEASANTNESS, AND ALL HER PATHS ARE PEACE.” Proverbs, iii. 13-17.

DESCRIPTION OF THE FRONTISPIECE.

THE JUDGMENT OF SOLOMON;

AFTER THE ORIGINAL, BY PETER PAUL RUBENS.

Then came there two women unto the king, and stood before him. And the one woman said, O my Lord, I and this woman dwell in one house: and I was delivered of a child with her in the house. And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also : and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house, and this woman's child died in the niglit; because she overlaid it. And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold it was not my son which I did bear. And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king.

Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is dead : and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is dead, and my son is the living. And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. Then spake the woman whose the living child was, unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my Lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.

And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged: and they feared the ling, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment. (1 Kings, iii. 16–28.)

Such a mode of decision as this which Solomon adopted, was not unknown, under absolute monarchies, in the east.

Ariopharnes, king of Thrace, being appointed to arbitrate between three young men, each claiming to be the son of the king of the Cimmerians, discovered the real son by desiring each to shoot an arrow into the dead body of him they called their father. Two of the claimants obeyed without 'hesitation, but the third refused, upon which the arbitrator judged him to be the genuine prince.

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