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The very close connexion which subsisted between the holy land and Persia, after the restoration of the Jews from their captivity; and the manner in which their adversity and prosperity, as well as their progress in the building of the Temple and city were influenced, or rather affected by the politics of the court of Persia, rendered it impossible to separate the accounts of the two countries; they are incorporated, therefore, into one history, and the prophecies are placed in their respective situations. The principal dislocated passages included in this period, are those of Ezra, and part of Nehemiah. The whole book concludes with the nine first chapters of the first of Chronicles, and a passage from Nehemiah, both which were either written by the last editors, or verses in them were interpolated by the last editor, that is, by Simon the Just and the great Sanhedrim, as some expressions in them allude to the times of Alexander the Great. The concluding passage from Nehemiah speaks of Jaddua the high priest, who met Alexander: and mentions also Darius, who was conquered by that sovereign, in terms which seem to imply that Darius lived many years before the time when the passage in question was written; and as Alexander died about 324 B.C., and Simon the Just in 291, these passages are dated a few years before the death of the latter, and assigned to the year 300 B.C.

generally considered as incorrect.

Thus is the biblical reader presented with a complete history of the World and the Church, from the delivery of the promise to our first parents in obscure terms, till the dawn of the day of the Messiah approached. The light of prophecy gradually became clearer, till the express testimony of Malachi was given, "the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly "come to his temple."

Such is the brief outline of that arrangement of the contents of the Old Testament, which is now submitted to the judgment and candour of the Christian world. It is designed only to assist the reader of Scripture in his study of that

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great scheme of Providence, God revealed by Omnipotence. The visible world, so magnificent, and so beautiful, is a temple worthy of God the Creator: the spiritual world, described in the pages of Scripture, is a temple equally worthy of God the Redeemer. Both equally demonstrate the mercy, and the love, of the same all-wise Providence to the bodies, and the souls of man. In the privileges, and in the certainty of a covenanted redemption, as in the changes of the seasons, and other blessings of the visible creation, every child of Adam, is alike interested: and if the researches of science to promote the happiness of the body, or to illustrate the laws, and the harmony of the universe, are regarded with favour, in such a manner it is trusted the present attempt will be received, which is intended to promote the happiness of the soul, and to elucidate the great scheme of Almighty God in the moral government of the world.

Considering the subject in this view, it may be justly said that every class, and description of the admirers, and readers of Scripture, are interested in an arrangement of its sacred contents.

The unlearned will be more able to comprehend those difficulties of Scripture which originate in an ignorance of the occasion on which a Psalm or Prophecy was written. The passages which seem at first sight to contradict each other, will, by harmonizing the several accounts, be clear and consistent; those innumerable false interpretations of single texts, the chief source perhaps of popular theological misapprehension, will be obviated, by fixing that primary meaning which was intended to be conveyed to the mind of the persons to whom the passage was originally addressed.

The learned will find his labours lessened in tracing the meaning of peculiar words, the object of obscure expressions, or the intention and scope of passages, which require more particular attention. As the meaning of a sentence is better and sooner apprehended when the preceding and subsequent passages of the context are evident, so, also, will the meaning

of the obscurer difficulties of the inspired narrative be more easily discoverable, if the preceding and subsequent events of the connected history are known.

The clergyman will of all others be most interested in a work of this nature. In expounding the Scripture to his hearers, the primary meaning of a passage is of the utmost importance. As the books of Scripture were all, in some measure, originally designed to accomplish some temporary object before they were committed as a lasting testimony to the Church of God-the spiritual application of every part of the Old Testament to Christians of the present day will be immediately perceived, when the original application to the circumstances of the ancient church has been satisfactorily ascertained. The lessons appointed for every day in the year will become more interesting, in proportion as they are better understood. The beauty and sublimity of many passages will be made evident, when that part of the history of the dispensations of Providence, to which they refer, is thus more fully developed.

The attendant on public worship, who has but little time, except on the Sunday, for studying the Scriptures, when his attention is arrested by any passage or expression which appears obscure and difficult, if he has not, on his return home, access to commentaries and more valuable and laborious works, will find an arrangement of the text of the Old Testament solve many difficulties, and supply in some degree the place of a more extensive commentary.

The pious mother of a family, who is anxious to lay the foundation of Christian morality upon Christian principles, and endeavours to make her children acquainted with the wisdom" that maketh wise unto salvation," by engaging their tender minds through the medium of connected annals, will be more able to interest them in the finest volume of all history. Many of the most important parts of the Old Testament are with the utmost difficulty made pleasing to children, who do not, and cannot, at a very early age, perceive

the connexion, the consistency, and the harmony that pervades the whole. While their attention is arrested by the beautiful narratives of the Sacred Volume, they are too often embarrassed and confused by the attempts of the anxious parent to explain the connexion between the parts of that variety of interesting matter, which makes the Scripture so attractive, as well as useful. The best foundation of a good education is a knowledge of Scripture; and that knowledge will be acquired with delight, if the child becomes interested in the Bible as a complete history. By such an arrangement, therefore, the labour of the parent is lessened, and the child at once interested and improved.

The students of history, it may be justly supposed, will be particularly interested in an arrangement of the Bible. As the history of the world in general has been called “ philo"sophy teaching by examples," the history of the Bible may be called "religion teaching by examples." Without this inestimable collection of records there would be no foundation for the ancient history of the world: we should be in utter darkness with respect to the most important questions: we should know nothing of the origin of all things-the cause of the mixture of good and evil-the manner in which man began to be, and continues to be the being that he is: we should know nothing of the origin of nations, or by what means the world was overspread; we should be still ignorant of the primitive condition of society in the patriarchal ages, before the corruptions of the Postdiluvians had introduced, or perfected, the incongruous and detestable system of idolatry which characterised Egypt and Greece and Rome, and the whole Pagan world, and which now disgraces the nations of the East in general, and particularly Hindostan. Events which are only hinted at, or referred to in Scripture, are related at length in history. In the arrangement of the narrative of Scripture the student of history may read the prophecies that foretold events, and in the events recorded in history he will read the accomplishment of those prophecies.

History will thus be the commentary on Scripture and on prophecy; and the influence of religion will be confirmed, while the knowledge of the enquirer is encreased. The falsely-called philosophical reader of history, who rejects the notion of a particular Providence in overruling the affairs of men, may imagine he can discover adequate causes for the several changes in dominion and power among the ancient monarchies; but he who looks beyond what are called secondary causes perceives that all these powers in their turn were raised up to protect, or to punish, the visible Church of God; and that when they had accomplished this object, their pride, their greatness, their pomp, and their glory, were annihilated. The history of the Bible alone acquaints us with the real cause of the origin, the decline and fall of all the ancient monarchies, and when that history is arranged in its order, a clear explanation is given to many obscurities of ancient history, to the plans of Providence in the government of the world, and to the pre-disposing causes which led to the various circumstances connected with the history of the Church.

Nor will an arrangement of the Bible be less useful to the general reader, and to the lover of literature; to that large portion of the community, who, though they have no objection to peruse works of instruction, uniformly prefer those which promise amusement only. It never ought to be said that the sacred Scriptures are given for our amusement; but while they abound in the most solemn and important lessons on the observance or neglect of which both our present as well as future happiness depends, it is equally true that the lover of poetry may elevate his mind, and kindle his imagination, in admiring ideas which no other book contains, in language which the epic or the dramatic power of Greece itself has neither surpassed nor equalled. The literary beauties of the Scriptures, considering those Scriptures only as specimens of composition, are superior to all that can be selected from the tenderest, the sublimest, the most admired efforts of human

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