« PoprzedniaDalej »
NOTWITHSTANDING the previous attempts to illustrate the NEW TESTAMENT, whether by the skill of the artist, as exhibited in copying from designs supplied to him by the old masters in the pictorial art, whose fame is principally derived from their Scripture pieces, or by merely setting before the reader accurate views of the more striking scenes, and interesting localities and objects occurring in the sacred record,—it is presumed that the present edition, embodying a perfectly novel series of pictorial Illustrations, from designs by a very eminent Artist, will not prove unacceptable to the public. Nor is it confined to these alone; inasmuch as the volume is also adorned with various Woodcuts, faithfully exhibiting, it is believed, some of the more remarkable places, cities, and ruins, now existing in Palestine, which have engaged the attention of travellers. Wherever practicable, some topographical account of these sketches is given, as deduced from the most authentic sources. In general, the views of places, such as towns, cities, &c., are not intended to represent what they were in remote ages, but rather to exhibit them as they exist at the present time; and where ruins are introduced, they either serve to give some idea of what the place may have been in the days of its ancient splendour; or, if they do not satisfactorily do this, they at least indicate the sites of the respective places of which they still stand the solemn mementos. Care has been taken to select for representation such as are likely to be most interesting to the general reader.
With regard to the Notes, it will be perceived that brevity has been particularly attended to in their compilation. And it may be necessary to observe, that they are intended to be solely of a descriptive and explanatory character, without the introduction of any thing of a theological or dogmatic tendency. In this design the Editor flatters himself that he has entirely succeeded. The Notes are much more numerous and of greater length in the Gospels than in the succeeding parts of the work. This may be accounted for by various circumstances: in the first place, it must be admitted that the former is the more important portion of the New Testament, and this would necessarily require a larger measure of notice; and secondly, the form and position of the illustrations sometimes precluded, and at others, the nature and import of the text itself did not seem to demand, on the plan pursued, any thing additional in the way of annotations.
For the descriptive matter and other information contained in the Notes, the Editor is mainly indebted to the works of Dr. Kitto, particularly his Biblical Cyclopædia, to the Archæologia Biblica of Dr. Jahn, the Researches of Dr. Robinson, and some other travellers of safe authority. The first-mentioned of these works is a storehouse of learned criticism and historical fact: from its pages, as also from the work of Professor Robinson, may be gathered all that would seem necessary for a work of this kind, of
the ancient history, strictly so called, of the districts and localities into which the Holy Land was divided, as well as of the political and physical changes which have taken place in those regions by the lapse of time or the result of conquest. Hence, likewise, some account is derived of their social and statistical condition downwards to the present moment.
In order to understand many portions of Holy Writ, it is requisite to have some knowledge of the domestic customs and manners of the Eastern nations, more especially as they obtained in the time of the Saviour. This knowledge has now, in great part, been supplied to us by the excellent work of Dr. Jahn; which, in connexion with those of the authors above mentioned, will be found to have been largely consulted for information on this particular topic. This kind of illustration is not only instructive but entertaining, and has formed a prominent object in the compilation of the Notes to this work.
To the same learned performance of Dr. Jahn we are under considerable obligations in respect to Jewish Rites, Ceremonies, and Sects; without some attention to which, many facts of the New Testament would remain inexplicable. Nor have the manners and customs of the ancient Greeks and Romans been overlooked, wherever an acquaintance with them might tend to throw light on the interpretation, or assist the reader in comprehending the spirit, of the passage. And to render each book the more intelligible, we have prefixed, in general, a short account of its author, the time when, and the circumstances under which it was written.
With the aids thus afforded, it is presumed the reading of the New Testament may be rendered attractive as well as advantageous to the youthful mind, inasmuch as some clue is furnished to the right understanding and due appreciation of it. The same may be said with respect to the reader of more advanced age. The original and boldly conceived designs of the talented artist (Mr. K. MEADOWS),— which constitute, indeed, the distinguishing feature of the work,-and the series of carefully executed cuts dispersed throughout, together with the body of merely elucidatory notes, may be considered as rendering the present undertaking a useful and acceptable acquisition, not only to those younger students who have a classical taste, but to the reader in general.
To render the work still more valuable and attractive, a birds'-eye View of the Holy Land is prefixed, exhibiting the places and cities mentioned in the Old and New Testament.
198 STRAND, LONDON, 1847.