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A GENERAL INTRODUCTION,
ON THE AUTHENTICITY AND INSPIRATION OF THE SACRED BOOKS;
A COMPLETE VIEW OF THE MOSAIC LAWS, RITES, AND CUSTOMS.
Πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος καί ὠφέλιμος πρὸς διδασκαλίαν, πρὸς ἔλεγχον, πρὸς ἐπανόρθωσιν, πρὸς παιδείαν τήν έν
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR, BY WILLIAM MOORE;
AND FOR ANDREW DUNCAN, PATERNOSTER-ROW; HATCHARD, PICCADILLY; SEELEY, FLEET-STREET; DARTON AND
ANDREW DUNCAN, GLASGOW; AND MR. KEENE, DUBLIN ;
AND SOLD BY THE PRINCIPAL BOOKSELLERS IN TOWN AND COUNTRY.
THE writings of Moses and the prophets are confessedly instructive, important, and highly interesting; yet in these particulars they are far exceeded by those of the evangelists and apostles of our Lord. The histories, the ritual services, the commands and promises of the former were indeed suitable to the pædagogue state of the church; and if properly regarded, they showed that another and more perfect dispensation would fulfil and supersede them. They were but shadows of future good things, and referred to them as their end and design. The first promise, and the appointment of animal sacrifices in illustration of it; the subsequent covenant with Abraham and his seed, that in him all nations should be blessed; the covenant made with his descendants at Horeb; the clearer predictions of the prophets in successive ages, all contributed to excite the hope of Messiah's appearance and kingdom. At length he came as the Great Prophet, High Priest, and King of the church; and as such he made known the divine will, gave laws, appointed the rites of baptism, and of his own supper; and then yielded himself up as a holy, willing victim, to expiate the sins of the world. But it was not possible that he should be holden of death; on the third day he rose according to his own repeated declarations; aud having continued forty days, often appearing to the apostles, and teaching them the nature of his kingdom, he ascended to heaven, and fulfilled his promise by the outpouring of the Spirit, and thus enabling his disciples to execute his commission, and go out into all the world and preach the glad tidings to every creature.
The new Covenant contains the authentic writings of our Lord's apostles, and the important doctrines which he taught, and which he commissioned them to propagate in the world. They have been deservedly held in the highest esteem by the wise and the good, as the ground of faith and hope, and as containing the purest system of morals, enforced by the strongest motives. As they display the love and grace of God, they require of man suitable returns of love, esteem, and gratitude to his Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. They also inculcate the cultivation and exercise of the personal and social virtues in the highest degree; while they strongly condemn all excess of passion, or self-indulgence, and all hatred, discord, and strife among men. The spirit they breathe is that of sympathy, kindness, and universal good-will. In the beautiful parable of the good Samaritan, we are taught to regard every man as a brother, however he may differ from us in opinions, or to whatever nation he may belong; and if he stand in need of our aid, charity, or counsel, to afford it with readiness and pleasure.
In proportion to the importance of these Holy Writings, they should be carefully perused, studied, and regarded; and as far as possible, preserved pure, and transmitted from one generation to another. This has been done in a commendable degree; for although innumerable various readings are found on comparing ancient manuscripts, there are comparatively few which affect materially VOL. III.