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THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
CHARLES LORD COLCHESTER,
ETC. ETC. ETC.
AND MOST RESPECTFULLY
THE SECOND EDITION. *
THE Author of the present work cannot offer a new edition to the Public, without expressing the grateful sense he entertains of the very favourable manner in which his volumes have been received. In addition to the extensive circulation, which his work has obtained in the Universities and other Theological Seminaries in England, he has the satisfaction of knowing that it has recently been adopted as a text book in the College at Princeton, New Jersey, in North America.
Thus encouraged, the Author has sedulously availed himself of the various hints which have been liberally communicated to him, for altering and improving the arrangement of the former impression, and also for supplying its deficiencies. By enlarging the pages, as well as employing a small, but clear and distinct, type in several parts of the work, he has been enabled to introduce a large mass of new and important matter.
THE INTRODUCTION TO THE CRITICAL STUDY AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE Holy SCRIPTURES, now offered to the Public, is designed as a comprehensive Manual of Sacred Literature, selected from the labours of the most eminent Biblical Critics, both British and Foreign. It originated in the Author's own wants many years since, at an early period of life; when he stood in need of a guide to the reading of the Holy Scriptures, which would not only furnish him with a general introduction to them, but would also enable him to solve apparent contradictions, and to study the Bible with that attention which its supreme importance demands: for “every sentence of the Bible is from God, and every man is interested in the meaning of it."! At this time the Author had no friend to assist his studies, or remove his doubts,-nor any means of procuring critical works. At length a list of the more eminent Foreign Biblical Critics fell into his hands, and directed him to some of those sources of information which he was seeking ; he then resolved to procure such of them as his limited means would permit, with the design in the first instance, of satisfying his own mind on those topics which had perplexed him, and ultimately of laying before the Public the result of his inquiries, should no treatise appear that might supersede such a publication.
* Printed in 1821.
The idea thus conceived has been steadily kept in view for twenty years; and although, during that interval, several valuable treatises have appeared on the study of the Holy Scriptures, to which he gladly acknowledges himself indebted for many important hints and illustrations; yet, since no one has been published in the English language, embracing all those important subjects, which the Author apprehends to be essential to the CRITICAL STUDY of the Sacred Volume, he has been induced to prosecute his investigations, the result of which he tenders for the assistance of others.
The Four Volumes, of which the work now consists, will be found to comprise the following topics:
VOLUME I. contains a Critical Inquiry into the Genuineness, Authenticity, Uncorrupted Preservation, and Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures ; including, among other subjects, a copious investigation of the testimonies from profane authors to the leading facts recorded in the Scriptures, particularly a new branch of evidence for their credibility, which is furnished by coins, medals, inscriptions, and antient structures.—This is followed by a full view of the arguments afforded by miracles and prophecy, for
1 Bishop Horsley.
the inspiration of the Scriptures, and by a discussion of the internal evidence for their inspiration, furnished by the sublimity and excellence of the doctrines, and by the purity of the moral precepts, revealed in the Bible; the harmony subsisting between every part ;--the preservation of the Scriptures to the present time; and their tendency to promote the present and eternal happiness of mankind, as evinced by an historical review of the beneficial effects actually produced in every age and country by a cordial reception of the Bible; together with a refutation of the very numerous objections which have been urged against the Scriptures in recent deistical publications. An Appendix to this volume comprises a particular examination of the miracles supposed to have been wrought by the Egyptian magicians, and of the CONTRADICTIONs which are falsely alleged to exist in the Scriptures, whether historical or chronological ;-contradictions between prophecies and their accomplishments; -contradictions in morality ;-apparent contradictions between the sacred writers themselves, and between sacred and profane writers ;--or seeming contradictions to philosophy and the nature of things. This discussion is followed by a table of the chief prophecies relative to the Messiah, both in the Old and New Testament, and by an examination of the pretensions of the apocryphal books of the Old and New Testament.
In the former impression of this work the Author had given a very brief outline of the evidences for the genuineness and inspiration of the Old Testament, and a more extended view of the genuineness, credibility, and inspiration of the New Testament; and, being unwilling to augment, unnecessarily, the number of treatises extant on these subjects, he referred his readers to a few which are justly accounted the most valuable. In preparing the present edition for the press, it was his intention to condense these remarks, and to subjoin a few additional consider