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PRE FACE.

IN laying before the Public the fruits of many years assiduous labour, the Author feels it incumbent on him to briefly premise the circumstances which led him to the subject, the motives which induced him to undertake so elaborate a work, the system adopted in the execution of it, and the advantages which the reader may expect to find in its use. Nearly twenty years ago, when advancing towards the close of his academical course at the University of Cambridge, and employing much of his attention upon the studies preparatory to Holy Orders, the Author, above all, anxiously and diligently explored the sources from which he might hope to derive an accurate and certain interpretation of the Scriptures. He had previously paid much attention to Classical and Oriental literature, and he hoped that these aids of philological science would, together with the assistance supplied by the ordinary guides to exegetical and doctrinal theology in our own language, suffice to furnish him with the requisite information. In this expectation, however, he was completely disappointed ; nor was it without surprise that he discovered how ill furnished is the theological literature of our country in those most important (because fundamen. tal) species of sacred annotation, the exegetical and the philological.

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In further prosecuting his researches, the Author soon discovered a truth, (which few will, at this day, be disposed to question, but which was first laid down and established by the Father of all legitimate interpretation, the acute, eloquent, and judicious Chrysostom,) namely, that the only sure means of arriving at the genuine interpretation of Scripture, is first to ascertain the literal, grammatical, and historical sense, since on that alone can be founded the moral, spiritual, doctrinal, or mystical ; though the latter is, not unfrequently, the more important, and sometimes the only true one.

Under these circumstances, the Author was compelled to have recourse to such aids as he could find in foreign theology, and here that which had long been furnished by the indefatigable diligence of the German Divines, seemed likely to supply the very kind of annotation in which our own theological literature is so defective. In truth, he did find in them much various and valuable information of this kind, the substance of which, indeed, was often to be found in the earlier Commentators, but here digested, simplified, and moulded into a more regular and useful form; yet, not unfrequently, intermixed with new, and, , in some respects, more enlightened views, at least on points of grammatical and philological discussion, for which the writers were chiefly indebted to the great masters of Grecian literature in which the eighteenth century stood so pre-eminent, as Bentley, Hemsterhusius, Valcknaer, and many others. It was not, however, without concern, that the Author found these advantages almost over-balanced by an occasional laxity of opinions, and a latitudinarian spirit of interpretation, equally at variance with the sound principles of Orthodox Protestantism, and with the letter and spirit of Scripture in general ; a temerity in hazarding hypotheses, and an excess of philological speculation that knows not where to stop, and which, by corrupting the best auxiliaries

, to legitimate interpretation, criticism, and philology, leaves no cure for the disorders which it breeds. This is surely, if any thing, what Pliny calls the morbus sapientice, by which, as we learn from far higher authority, έμωράνθησαν οι σοφοι.

Under these circumstances, it became necessary for the Author to have recourse for himself to the fountain heads of all sure interpretations, as they are found in the ancient Versions, Fathers, and Interpreters, in the earlier Commentators of the modern school, and, above all, in a diligent study of the phraseology of the sacred text itself. Various, however, and formidable were the difficulties which he had to encounter; since the materials for forming such accurate knowledge were dispersed amidst very numerous works, some of them very bulky, and many more obscure and ill digested. Forcing his way, however, through the complicated difficulties which environed him, the Author made a copious collection of such exegetical observations as he considered most useful and important, and likely to be serviceable to him in his private study, or public exposition of the Sacred Scriptures. He, moreover, at that time laid down a rule, from which he has never since deviated, namely, that whatever

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might be, at any time, the nature or subject of his literary researches, to suspend his attention to the more immediate object in view, whenever an opportunity should offer itself of illustrating any passage of Scripture, or elucidating any point of theological doctrine, and to immediately enter down and record the illustrations so obtained. This plan the Author has continued to pursue for the last eighteen years, and with incalculable advantage, since some of the most apposite illustrations to be found in the present work were thus obtained. It is true that the opportunities for the acquisition of such incidental illustrations were very numerous ; since, during the whole of that period, his attention was (in a most sequestered retirement) wholly devoted to classical, biblical, and literary researches in general; insomuch that, in the course of that period, every Greek author of the least importance had been critically read, and annotated upon, the most important of them twice or thrice; and of these his Classical labours, the fruits will, ere long, be laid before the Public in a new edition of Thucydides, together with an English translation of that writer, and in a series of miscellaneous emendations and illustrations of the Greek authors, especially the Historians and Dramatists. All these researches were materially aided by the incalculable advantages of a most extensive and very choice collection of the best classical and theological writers, and, what is more, were employed under the perpetual advice, and in frequent and familiar intercourse with, perhaps, the

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