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This book has been written with the hope of contributing, in some useful degree, to the assistance of serious inquirers after knowledge and certainty, in relation to one of the most important questions that can engage the mind of man.
It pretends to no rivalship with other works on the same subject, ancient or modern; many of which have been, and long will continue to be, of extensive benefit to the Christian cause. In the field of truth there is room for every variety of honest
itself thoroughly acquainted with the evidence on any subject of interesting knowledge. If the cautiousness of the proceeding should make it appear occasionally tedious, the reflecting and judicious reader will not estimate it so much by the trouble of the means, as by the value of the
To some the following work may appear to contain a larger proportion of philological discussion than they may deem useful or edifying to themselves. Their candour will, however, call to mind that the great object of this attempt is to ascertain by full and conclusive evidence the REAL sense of scripture on the point under investigation: and if they will make the experiment, they will find that the critical part of the work, which is almost entirely confined to the Notes, is so expressed that the unlearned may in general form a rational judgment both of the grounds of each argument, and of the validity of its conclusion. It has been the author's particular endeavour to lay before his readers the whole materials for the formation of their own determi
nations; that, in every case, they may be able to judge for themselves, and may clearly see their way to an inference, before they are called to acquiesce in it. Citations from ancient or foreign authors are always translated, if they required or even admitted of it: and in some cases, for the sake of brevity, a translation alone is given, for the fidelity of which the writer is pledged; but this has been done only where no essential benefit whatsoever could be answered by transcribing the original words.
With some diffidence the writer must acknow
ledge his decided opinion, that it was his duty to make his own translations of passages from the Holy Scripture. He has done so from no affectation of accuracy or beauty, but solely from a persuasion of important expediency, not to say necessity. This is a controversy in which, more than in most others, a perpetual appeal is, on both sides, made to the original text of the Bible; with a demand for the closest minuteness of at
tention, and the severest rigour of scrutiny. On the correct interpretation of that text, every thing depends. If the passages, by the true sense of which the inquiry must be decided, were quoted from King James's authorized version, in numerous instances corrections and improvements must have been proposed and vindicated in the notes; and
upon those alterations, reasonings material to the argument would often have rested. This tedious proceeding is escaped, and we arrive by a direct course at our object, or at the nearest point to it, by the method which has been adopted; that of translating the passages with the closest fidelity from the original texts, according to the most critically established readings. The reasons of deviating from the common version are, in general, such as will present themselves to the attention of a scholar immediately on his consulting the original ; but where those reasons are not obvious, they are briefly assigned