Imatges de pÓgina
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The Rev. THOMAS STACKHOUSE, Frontispiece, J. Woolaston,

, RUTH AND Naomi,

Engraved Title,

H. Le Jeune, THE CURSE PRONOUNCED,

J. Martin, . THE EXPULSION,

J. Tenniel, · SECHEM, or SyChar (Naplouse),

W. L. Leitch, THE DISMISSAL OF HAGAR,

Horace Vernet, THE MEETING OF ISAAC AND REBEKAH,

Schopin, JOSEPH SOLD BY HIS BRETHREN,

Overbeck, Joseph INTERPRETING PHARAOH'S DREAM, .

C. H. Schmolze, . MAP TO ILLUSTRATE ISRAEL'S WANDERINGS IN THIE

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WILDERNESS,

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PUBLISHERS' PREFACE.

The character, intention, and usefulness, of STACKHOUSE'S HISTORY OF THE BIBLE, are so well known, and so universally acknowledged, that it would be waste of time to enlarge on them. The great object of the Work is to methodize, and bring down to the capacities of all readers, the important historical truths narrated in the Scriptures; to clear difficult passages from seeming inconsistencies; to aid the infirmities of the human understanding by explanation and illustration suited to the limited reasoning powers of man; and to enable the devout Christian to obtain the most satisfactory and comprehensive view of the benevolent purposes of God in Christ, which is the sum and substance of Divine Revelation from the first page to the last.

In proportion, however, as it is unnecessary to explain the design of the original Work, and to insist on its usefulness, it is incumbent on the Publishers to state fully the object they had in view, and the ends they have achieved, by the publication of a New Edition of this book.

A History of the Bible, while it comprises a systematic arrangement of the Scriptural Narrative, is, at the same time, a condensation of the accumulated stores of human intellect and research applied to the explanation of the Volume of Divine Revelation, and unveiling, as it were, the vast effulgence of the Sacred Mind as therein made known to man. It must be obvious, therefore, that a Work of this nature admits of improvement; that facts daily elicited, and inquiries continually pursued, will, in the course of time, furnish many new, important, and striking illustrations, which could not have presented themselves to the writer of the original book.

The attention of the good and learned has been directed in late years, no less than in former times, to the subject of Biblical criticism; and the results of their labours are seen in the elucidation of many passages in Holy Writ, which, though reverently received as truth, being from the Fountain of Truth, had previously been comprehended only to a limited extent. The facilities which are now afforded for visiting Palestine and the adjoining countries, and the descriptions thence brought by travellers, both Christian and Sceptical, have tended materially to increase the satisfaction of the pious mind, by furnishing it with indisputable proofs of the truth of those things which ignorance and infidelity had chosen for the butt of their scorn; and demonstrating that the predictions of Sacred Writ, have been so literally fulfilled, as to compel the doubter to acknowledge that they could only have been uttered under the guidance of the Spirit of Him who "declareth the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done,” and to whose ken all things, even the thoughts and the heart of man, are naked and bare.

It has been the aiin of the Editor and Publishers of this Edition of Stackhouse, to avail themselves, to the fullest extent, of those sources of information adverted to in the preceding paragraph; and they trust it will be found to include new treasures of Biblical criticism, many additional illustrations of Eastern manners and customs, and geographical and topographical descriptions of “the land of the Gospel," more definite and satisfactory than had been previously given. As instances of the attention that has been paid to the last-named department, they may refer to the supplemental chapter, on the journeyings of the Israelites, and to the copious descriptions of the mountains, lakes, and rivers of Palestine. But it would be far beyond the compass of this Preface to advert particularly to the great body of information that has been collected for the present Edition. They may only add, that, in the

VOL. I.

chronological department they have availed themselves of Dr Hales' admirable Analysis of Chronology, -certainly the most successful work in rectifying mistakes, and explaining difficulties, arising from the difference of dates, that has yet appeared: and while alluding to the additions that have been made, the Publishers take the opportunity of offering due acknowledgment to a Friend of high attainments in Biblical learning, to whom they are indebted for much valuable assistance in various departments of this Work, but whose name they are not at liberty to make known.

It remains only briefly to notice the Indexes and Table of Scriptural Passages. The former of these will be found abundantly copious for all purposes, and great care has been taken in the arrangement, to make them of easy and satisfactory reference. The Table of Scriptural Passages forms a most important feature in the book. It includes nearly FIVE THOUSAND SACRED TEXTS, which are closely applied, illustrated, and explained in the course of the Work.

The Editor and Publishers contemplate the close of their labours with much satisfaction: they feel that they have rendered good service to the Christian cause by the publication of this Enlarged and Improved Edition of Stackhouse, in which they have brought all the past stores, and recent advances of human learning and research, to the illustration of the Sacred Volume. Nor is it the least part of their gratification, that they have produced this valuable book at a price, and in a form, that places it within the reach of all classes of the community.

PREFACE TO THE NEW EDITION.

The lapse of time, and the ever-increasing store of materials for the illustration of the Sacred Volume, have again made it necessary to send forth a new edition of this invaluable Work, which has long maintained, and still maintains, the reputation of a standard. The aim of the Publishers, in past editions, has been to keep it abreast of the times by such additions as modern discoveries presented. The present edition is distinguished mainly by an Appendix containing a succinct account of the labours of Botta, Layard, Rawlinson, and others, in the field of Assyrian Antiquities; and of those of Champollion, Rosellini, Wilkinson, and their associates, among the tombs and temples of Ancient Egypt. From these sources so large and valuable stores have been obtained for illustrating the HisTORY OF THE BIBLE, that no work bearing that name can be deemed complete without the use of them. The Editor has confined himself very nearly to such matters as presented striking illustrations of the Sacred Text, or were essential to the understanding of these. He leaves it to those who wish to have a more general view of the subject, to consult the works just mentioned, with others he has had occasion to notice during the course of his Appendix.

This Edition is illustrated by a series of highly finished Engravings, consisting of representations of striking incidents in the Sacred narrative, and of views of important Scripture localities; the former include some of the finest works of the Old Masters, and several admired productions of modern art; the latter are derived from authentic sketches. The Appendix is abundantly illustrated by Engravings from the Monuments,

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THE AUTHOR'S PREFACE.

The Holy Bible itself, being principally historical, but do this, 1 say, I thought I had undertaken a work the history of an history may seem a solecism to those which might possibly be of public use and benefit; who do not sufficiently attend to the nature of these seasonable at all times, but more especially in the age sacred writings, whose scope and method, and form of wherein we live, and, if I may be permitted to apply diction, are vastly different froin any modern composi- to myself the apostle's words, such as might make me ' tion: wherein the idiom of the tongue in which it was 'unto God a sweet savour in Christ, in them that are penned, and the oriental customs to which it alludes, saved, and in them that perish; to the one the savour of occasion much obscurity; the difference of time wherein death unto death, and to the other the savour of life it was wrote, and variety of authors concerned therein, unto life.' a diversity of style, and frequent repetitions; the inter- I am very well aware, that several have gone before mixture of other matters with what is properly historical, me in works of the like denomination; but I may boldly a seeming perplexity; the malice of foes, and negligence venture to say, that none of them have taken in half that of scribes, frequent dislocations; and the defect of pub- conipass of view which I here promise to myself. Blome lic records, in the times of persecution, a long interrup- has given us a very pompous book; but besides that it tion of about four hundred years; to say nothing that is no more than a bare translation of Sieur de Roythis history relates to one nation only, and concerns amont's History of the Old and New Testament, it itself no farther with the rest of mankind, than as they omits many material facts, observes no exact series in bad some dealings and intercourse with them. Whoever, its narration, but is frequently interrupted by insertions I say, will give himself the liberty to consider a little of the sentiments of the fathers, which prove not always the form and composition of the Holy Bible, and the very pertinent; and, in short, is remarkable for little or weighty concerns which it contains, must needs be of nothing else but the number of its sculptures, which are opinion, that this, of all other books, requires to be badly designed, and worse executed. Elwood, in some explained where it is obscure ; methodized where it respects, has acquitted himself much better ; he has seems confused ; abridged where it seems prolix; made a pretty just collection of the Scripture account supplied where it is defective; and analyzed when of things; but then, when any difficulty occurs, he usually its historical matters lie blended and involved with gives us the sacred text itself, without any explanatory other quite different subjects. This I call writing an note or comment upon it; and so not only leaves his history of the Bible : and hereupon I thought, with my- reader's understanding as ignorant as he found it, but his self, that if I could but give the reader a plain and suc- mind in some danger of being tainted by the unlawful cinct narrative of what is purely historical in this sacred parallels he makes between the acts of former and later book, without the interposition of any other matter; if times and by a certain levity which he discovers a upon I could but settle the chronology, and restore the order several occasions, not so becoming the sacredness of of things, by reducing every passage and fact to its pro- his subject. Howel has certainly excelled all that went per place and period of time; if I could but, by way of before him, both in his design and execution of it. He notes, and without breaking in upon the series of the has given us a continued relation of Scripture-transacnarrative part, explain difficult texts, rectify mis-trans- tions; has filled up the chasm between Malachi and Christ; lations, and reconcile seeming contradictions, as they has annexed some notes, which help to explain the diffioccurred in my way; if I could but supply the defect of culties that are chiefly occasioned by the mistakes of the Jewish story, by continuing the account of their our translators : but in my opinion, he has been a little affairs under the rule and conduct of the Maccabees; if too sparing in his notes, and, as some will have it, too I could but introduce profane history as I went along, pompous in his diction. He has omitted many things and, at proper distances of time, sum up to my reader that might justly deserve his notice, and taken notice what was transacting in other parts of the then known of others that seem not so considerable. Some very reworld, while he was perusing the records of the Hebrew markable events he has thought fit to pass by without worthies ; and at the same time, if I could but answer any comment; nor has he attempted to vindicate such such questions and objections as infidelity, in all ages, passages as the lovers of infidelity are apt to lay hold has been too ready to suggest against the truth and on, in order to entrench themselves the safer. authority of the Scriptures; and with all, discuss such

1 2 Cor, ii, 15, 16. passages, and illustrate such facts and events as make

a Vid. his account of the plague of lice; of Pharaoh and his the most considerable figure in Holy Writ: If I could | people; the story of Samson's foxes, and that of Esther.

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