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IN publishing this Collection of Notes, with a view of illustrating passages of Scripture, obscure from antiquity, or reference to some eastern usage, nothing is less desired than to supersede any other work on the subject. Travellers in the East, during the last century, have furnished an ample commentary on difficulties formerly deemed unrelievable; but what strikes one, may escape the observation of another; and in this lower application, the Apostle's suggestion holds good: "Ye may all prophecy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted."
The Cingalese, among whom the writer resided about ten years, though a different people from the Hindoos, and settled far from Judea, appear to have been no distant neighbours of the chosen race, previous to the period when they were expelled from the Continent, and took refuge in Ceylon. Their usages, being immutable, and frequently bearing a resemblance to those of the Jews, may heighten the palpability of the cloud of witnesses for the truth of Scripture, and dart illumination on a variety of passages, to a Western reader quite obscure.
In the library of a minister habituated to estimate
books by their tendency to illustrate the Sacred Volume, the best authors on this subject are indispensable; while in general, they are too voluminous and expensive for the younger classes of readers, into whose hands this publication may fall. What the writer, chiefly for their sakes, has borrowed in the words of another, is distinctly acknowledged. In some cases, a casual remark led to a particular inquiry, and an appropriate illustration. For many hints, the writer thankfully owns himself indebted to the invaluable labours of Father Calmet, and his ingenious and judicious Editor;-and for most of the notices relative to the Hindoos, it will be easily seen, that the Illustrations of Scripture by the late lamented Mr. Ward, of Serampore, have been consulted.
Though Asiatic usages forcibly tend to illustrate Scripture, they come under the personal observation of few among those who feel most interested in inquiring, what are the true sayings of God. The writer, therefore, indulges the hope that the result of his labours will not be unacceptable; and commends them, in humble confidence to the blessing of Him who spake in time past unto the fathers, by the prophets, and hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son-that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion, for ever and ever. Amen.
Genesis, iv. 15. And the Lord said unto him, Therefore, whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
Without attempting to support any of the opinions relating to the mark supposed to be fixed on Cain, which Dr. Shuckford has been at the pains to collect, and which may induce readers of his valuable Connexion to anticipate more frequent recreation than they are likely to enjoy,-the grounds on which Calmet's learned Editor* judges the English reading defensible, are entitled to great attention. Cain, apprehensive that his sin was inexpiable, and sensible that his life was in continual danger, penitently deplored his condition. From a God of mercy he received an assurance,-probably with a remission. of the moral consequences of his offence, (see Psalm xcix.8,) that his life was secure; but he was nevertheless sentenced to suffer a judicial infliction of the commutatory kind,-perhaps similar to the designatory brand fixed on the forehead of the criminal, convicted of a high offence by the statutes of Menu, -derived, it may be, from this very fact. The
The late Mr. Charles Taylor.
mark, it should seem, admonished Cain of his offence, and not only reminded the beholder that God had reserved the chastisement of the criminal to himself, but operated as a warning against intercourse with him, lest it should be followed by consequences fatal as the death of Abel. Judicially and necessarily a fugitive, and finding banishment from society a life of misery, he moved off with his family, and formed a distant settlement.
Genesis, iv. 23. And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.
The difficulty in this passage is insuperable, without adopting the opinion of Dr. Shuckford, that the true reading is the interrogative: "Have I slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt?" In this view, the speaker, alluding to the murder of Abel by the patriarch of the family, on whose account he seems to have been menaced with danger, confidently appeals to his personal innocence; and analogically predicts accumulated vengeance on whoever would compass his death: "If Cain [though guilty] be avenged seven-fold, truly Lamech [being innocent] seventy and seven-fold.”—Mr. Bate, I find, is of this opinion. See his Critica Hebræa, under "Hear my voice, ye wives of Lamech, bearken unto my speech, nan, Have I slain a man to my wounding?" Is it so?" "If Cain shall be avenged seven-fold [who did slay one], truly Lamech [who hath not], seventy and seven-fold."
Genesis, vi. 1-4. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
The first verses of Gen. vi. seem very obscure,