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THE first sentiment which presents itself to the mind of the Editor, on the termination of this Work, is-and ought to be-humble GRATITUDE to that merciful PROVIDENCE, which has spared him until its completion; notwithstanding circumstances repeatedly threatened to suspend his labours, and did, in fact, occasion some irregularity in the publication. That much of the Work was written in the prospect of death and eternity, or whilst suffering the most painful bereavements, will not, he presumes, render it less acceptable to serious Christians, though it may have occasioned some minor defects in the composition.
It would be ungrateful also, not to acknowledge the kind patronage with which the Work has been favoured, both in the Established Church and among Dissenters. In reference to the former, his first acknowledgments are unquestionably due to that venerable Prelate, who has so long distinguished himself as the Patron of Sacred Literature, and the advocate of Revealed Truth,-The LORD BISHOP of SALISBURY; who liberally permitted the Editor to inscribe to him this humble attempt to illustrate the holy volume of inspiration, for the benefit of the middle and lower classes of society, who, while they are aspiring to general and scientific knowledge, will not, it may be hoped, neglect the study of that book, which alone is "able to make them wise unto salvation."
To the Rev. GEORGE Townsend, M. A., Prebendary of Durham, the writer has to confess his obligations, not only for the expression of his favourable opinion of the Work, but especially for the handsome
manner in which that opinion was conveyed. To the Rev. LUKE Booker, L.L.D. F.R.S.L., Vicar of Dudley,-the Rev. JOSEPH BOSWOrth, M.A. F.A.S. F.R.S.L., Vicar of Little Horwood,-the Rev. THOMAS MORTIMER, M.A., Lecturer of St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, and of St. Olave's, Southwark,-the Rev. R. MARKS, Vicar of Great Missenden, Bucks,—and to several other Clergymen, whose friendly opinions have been intimated in a more private way, he can only express the deep sense he entertains of their kindness, and the encouragement which he derived therefrom during the progress of his arduous undertaking.
Nor will any of these Gentlemen be displeased to find that the Work has met with equal approbation among Divines of various denominations, both in London and in other parts of the United Kingdom, to whom his best acknowledgments are no less due ; namely, his Rev. and venerable friends, Dr. A. WAUGH, and Mr. G. BURDER, (author of the well-known "Village Sermons"), both of London ;—Dr. WM. MANUEL, late Minister of the Scots' Church, London Wall,-the late Dr. JN. RYLAND, President of the Baptist Academy, Bristol,— ROBERT MORRISON, D.D. F.R.S. M.R.A.S., President of the AngloChinese College, at Malacca (then in England); and "last, but not least," the Rev. JOHN PYE SMITH, D.D., Theological Tutor of Homerton College, whose repeated favours have been of a nature, and to an extent, which the writer is not allowed to mention. Nor must he omit his most grateful thanks to his kind friends, the Rev. JOHN BLACKBURN, of Claremont Chapel,-Rev. JOSEPH FLETCHER, of Stepney, Rev. WM. JAY, Bath,-Rev. WM. ROBY, Manchester,-Rev. JOHN GRIFFIN, Portsea,-Rev. Dr. COPE, Wakefield,-Rev. Messrs. COPLEY, Oxford,-COLES, Bourton,-NEWMAN, Ebley,-HOWLETT, Burford-THORNTON, Billericay,-BELSHER, Greenwich, &c. &c.; and, in the Sister Kingdom, to the Rev. Messrs. COOPER (sen.) and URwick, of Dublin, &c., to some of whom the writer was personally unknown.
The Editor has the farther gratification to subjoin, that ALL the PERIODICAL WORKS which have hitherto noticed this Publication, either in England or in Ireland, so far as he has seen, have been pleased to speak of it with unequivocal approbation, and several of them in terms which he cannot but think far beyond its merits. This general approbation, he flatters himself, may, in some measure, have arisen from his sedulous endeavour to render the Work acceptable to every denomination of Christians, who believe in the proper Deity and atonement of our SAVIOUR, and in the paramount importance and necessity of the HOLY SPIRIT's influences; without entering into those minor points which, unhappily, divide the Christian world into sects and parties.
The general plan and design of the Work having been explained in the Preface to the First Volume, need not be here repeated. It was originally intended to comprehend the whole in two volumes; but, as the writer approached the New Testament, he was seriously cautioned by friends, to whose judgment he could not be indifferent, against passing over too slightly, either the divine discourses of our Lord, or the rich treasures of evangelical truth in the Apostolical Epistles, for which the space of a whole volume was considered as almost too contracted.
With respect to the last and most mysterious book in the sacred Canon, the editor begs permission to observe, that though he has availed himself of the labours of the ablest writers down to the present time, and has even ventured some suggestions of his own, he has been careful to refrain from dogmatizing, and from any pretensions to those supernatural influences which he considers peculiar to the sacred writers; the assumption of which, by some modern authors, he conceives to be both presumptuous in itself, and injurious to the sacred cause of Christianity. The object of a Commentator on the prophecies,
should certainly be-not to predict, but to expound, May it please God to bless this humble work, to their edification for whom it was especially designed its object being simply the elucidation of the sacred text, without adding to, or diminishing from, its genuine import.
To each Testament is subjoined a "Chronological Index" of persons and events and at the end of the Old Testament will be found, 1. "Remarks on the Apocrypha;" 2. An "Historical Connection,' which fills up the vacuum of 400 years between the Old and New Testaments; 3. A “Geographical Index of the chief places mentioned in Scripture;" 4. "A Chronological Table," comparing the sacred and profane writers; and some other useful information."
The writer cannot persuade himself to conclude this Preface without also acknowledging the urbanity and kindness of his Publishers, under the afflictive circumstances above alluded to, and which have made an impression upon his mind never to be obliterated.
London, September 10, 1827.
Namely, Tables of Jewish Monies, Weights and Measures (page 694).—A Hebrew Calendar will be found at the end of the Book of Leviticus (vol, i, p. 310.)
The Editor takes this opportunity of acknowledging the receipt of various private letters in the course of this Work, containing many valuable hints and observations. Those who favoured him with their address received his thanks at the time, and others were not unattended to. To one Correspondent, who complained of the frequent references made to different writers, he begs leave to say, that those being always placed within marks of parenthesis, they may be easily omitted in family reading; but they were judged necessary, to ward off the charge of plagiarism, which is a literary crime that he abhors.