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genius. Those only are worthy to be placed near them, the authors of which have wandered on the heights of Sion's hill, and visited the flowery brooks beneath.
By an arrangement of the Bible, the lover of literary excellence will be more able to appreciate these invaluable compositions. The jewels of the temple will be set-the apples of gold will be enclosed in the net-work of silver; the man most indifferent to their spiritual value will learn to admire the harmony and simplicity of the narrative, and the magnificence of the poetry. And when he permits the question to propose itself fairly to his consideration, why this wonderful volume was written? Whence was the more than human intellect thus displayed throughout? then it may be, that the same Holy Spirit of God, which gave eloquence and poetry, as well as purity, holiness, and truth, to his servants, may render the impression, which the answer to such a question would suggest, effectual and per
The infidel and the sceptic, who have thoughtlessly or wilfully rejected Revelation, because in truth they have never submitted to the labour of exploring and examining its evidences, may perceive in an arrangement of the contents of the Old Testament, the most incontrovertible demonstration of the Bible's authenticity, its genuineness, and inspiration.
The absurdities of the deistical Creed are so great, that the wildest reveries of the most unbridled enthusiasm are sober common sense when compared to them; and the arguments in favour of the Scriptures are so complete and satisfactory, that no additional reasoning can be expected to influence those who have disregarded them: yet a powerful and a novel corroboration of those arguments is afforded by the wonderful harmony which pervades this miscellaneous collection of writings, called the Old Testament. Lord Bacon has observed with equal force and truth, that "The harmony of a science, supporting each part the other,
"is, and ought to be, the true and brief confutation and "suppression of all the smaller sorts of objections." And the remark will apply to the arrangement of the Bible. The contents of this book were written at different times: the various writers were unknown to each other. Like the writers of the New Testament, the greater part of them were exposed to suffering and persecution on account of their doctrine; the times in which they wrote were remote from each other; their compositions were delivered to the people, and were preserved by the priests in their unconnected form. One primary object was principally intended by each writer, and by every paragraph; yet all these miscellaneous compositions, when they are put together, are found to contain a perfect history, confirmed by the testimony of all other authenticated histories. The researches of the learned and the enterprising have alike contributed to demonstrate the truth of the narrative, which is so wonderfully complete in itself, that ingenuity has been in vain engaged, for two thousand years, in attempting to discover some imposition, or to overthrow one recorded fact. The history, therefore, contained in the Bible, is true, and the system of infidelity is consequently false, or all the writers of the Old Testament without exception were impostors, or dupes, and every history of ancient nations is not to be credited, or, what is still more difficult to suppose, all ancient history is uniformly falsified in those particulars which corroborate the sacred Scriptures. These and many similar absurdities unavoidably consequent on any deistical scheme it is needless to confute; and these absurdities, the mere statement of which form their immediate refutation, are made more glaring by perusing the Scripture narrative, in the form of an arrangement of the sacred text.
The pious and humble Christian, as a member of the Universal Church, cannot but be interested in that portion of sacred history which is related in the Old Testament; and in perusing it in its historical form, he will be able to perceive more clearly the developement of the plans of Providence.
He will there discover in what manner events apparently unconnected all tend in a greater or less degree to the fulfilment of some wonderful events which were previously foretold, but which at the time when these results were delivered appeared impossible to be brought about; he will perceive that all the circumstances recorded in the Scripture tend to one end with as much regularity as the incidents in a regular drama bring about the catastrophe. He will see them combine in one purpose, prove one point, develope one mighty scheme, which was planned in the councils of Omnipotence, gradually revealed to mankind, and is still in progress among mankind; he will perceive that the scheme of prophecy has been in great measure surely accomplished, and will be more and more convinced that the remaining prophecies shall be all fulfilled; he will hail the day when the curse shall be removed, the house of Israel restored, and the reign of universal righteousness commence: he will learn to apply to himself the doctrine of a peculiar Providence: he will see that though prophecy and miracle have in one sense been discontinued, though the canon of the scripture be closed, yet the gradual fulfilment of the prophecies it contains may be regarded as a perpetual miracle appealing to the hearts and to the consciences of all the generations of mankind. The same unchangeable God still governs the world and the Church, and orders the events that occur to both according to the purposes of his own will. He rules over the least as well as the greatest events; and as the beauty of a flower, and the mechanism of an insect, declare the universality of his Providence as loudly and as plainly as the sun in the heavens, or the moon walking in her brightness; so does the declaration of his own immutable Scripture, that not a sparrow falls unpermitted to the ground, convince the Christian who views the stupendous events recorded in his Bible, that he too is not and cannot be unnoticed nor neglected in the government of the universe. Happy is he, who, having a hope full of immortality, through Him who
has become the propitiation for the sins of man, reads his own lot in the conduct of God towards his Church, and resigned, and contented with the present, rejoices in the prospect of the future.
In this edition, which has been carefully corrected, the marginal references, and various readings, are given. And, in order to render this arrangement still more extensively useful, the whole has been divided into Sections, in such a manner, that, by reading one Section daily, the Old Testament (with the exception of the Genealogical Tables, some parts of the Levitical law, and a few other passages,) may be read through once in a year. The Tables of Sections, which have been formed chiefly for THE USE OF FAMILIES, will be found in the annexed Calendar, which is constructed on the same plan as that prefixed to the Book of Common Prayer, in which the reader is referred to the portion of Scripture appointed for every day throughout the year.