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PUBLIC LIBRARY

1781666

ASTOR, LENOX AND
TILDEN FOUNDATIONS

1916

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COPYRIGHT, 1916, BY THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY COMPANY

COPYRIGHT, 1916, BY ABRAHAM MITRIE RIH BANY

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Published October 1916

PREFACE

This little volume is sent forth in the confident hope that it may throw fresh light on the life and teachings of Christ, and facilitate for the general public the understanding of the Bible. As may be readily seen, from its perusal, the present work is not intended to be a commentary on the Bible, nor even an exhaustive study of the subject with which it deals. That it leaves many things to be desired is very evident to the author, who fears that his book will be remembered by its readers more by the things it lacks than by the things it contains.

Yet, from the cordial reception with which the opening chapters of this publication (which made their first appearance in the Atlantic Monthly) met from readers of various religious affiliations, the author has been encouraged to believe that his aim has not only been clearly discerned, but thoroughly approved. The books which undertake the systematic “expounding of the Scriptures” are a host which no man can number, nor is there any lack of “spiritual lessons drawn from the Bible.” Therefore, as one of the Master's fellow countrymen, and one who has enjoyed about twenty years of service in the American pulpit, I have for several years entertained the growing conviction that such a book as this was really needed. Not, however, as one more commentary, but as an Oriental guide to afford Occidental readers of the Bible a more intimate view of the original intellectual and social environment of this sacred literature. So what I have to offer here is a series of suggestions, and not of technically wrought Bible lessons.

The need of the Western readers of the Bible is, in my judgment, to enter sympathetically and intelligently into the atmosphere in which the books of the Scriptures first took form: to have real intellectual, as well as spiritual, fellowship with those Orientals who sought earn

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