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a perverse people, with a sense of their duties and their privileges; and to preserve them from the contaminations of their idolatrous neighbours, to which they were exposed for a series of ages. But to answer such purposes, no other order was necessary or practicable, than the order of time. This mass of materials, however, so heterogeneous to us in its appearance, contains incontestable evidences of wisdom more than human, in the execution of a plan worthy of the Deity; and truths in which the whole rational creation is equally interested. But these important subjects are blended together, in a manner which embarrasses a superficial reader, and with various other subjects, in which we seem to have no interest. The author hopes that many of these difficulties will be effectually removed, simply,by arrangements more adapted to modern readers; and by his having collected in a more conspicuous point of view, subjects which, in the current history, are separated from each other by the intervention of adventitious matter. The mercantile reader will fully comprehend his meaning, when he intimates, that he has attempted to digestthe miscellaneous contents of a day book, into a methodized ledger. The particular object which the author had in view, when he applied himself to the perusal of the Old Testament with attention, was, that he might extract and arrange those doctrines respecting religion and morality, which were correspondent to the principles investigated in his Ethical disquisitions; and this circumstance has, at the same time, enabled him to trace the harmony that pervades the whole, notwithstanding the great diversity of the parts; and also the relation of this whole to the common interests of mankind. It would, at all times, have been desirable to render the moral history of the world, which is contained in these Sacred Records, more intelligible, pleasing, and instructive to biblical readers. But at the present period, the pious ardour which is diffused over these happy lands, the unanimity with which Christians, of every denomination, exert themselves to communicate light and knowledge to the Pagans in distant regions, and to instruct those who are nearly as ignorant as Pagans, at home, render every attempt to remove some of the obscurities which hang, like a mist, over the Divine Book, of peculiar importance. The period is approaching, and must arrive, in which that Book will become perfectly intelligible to believers, perfectly rational to unbelievers, and most acceptable to those who
on NATURAL AND REveALED RELIGION, As CONNECTED
- CHAP. III.
II. The selection of a particular family
from surrounding idolaters - - III. The religious ceremonies of the Jews, their object - - - - - -
IV. The propensity of the Hebrews to idolatry, its causes, dangers, and preventions - - - - - - - - W. The religious and moral character of the Hebrews, at different periods, and its consequences - - - - WI. The instrumentality of the prophets in the preservation of true religion VII. The captivity of Judah and Benjamin, and the consequent establishment of Monotheism in Judea -
The selection of the Jewish Nation from the Pagan World, was not for their benefit exclusively - - - - - - - - - - -
Sect. I. The moral character of the Jewish na
tion did not entitle them to this ex
clusive honour - - - - - II. Express declarations respecting the diffusion of happiness, through the medium of this dispensation - - III. On the natural and moral influence of the Jewish religion, in mitigating the horrors of Paganism - - CHAP. IV.
Observations and inferences respecting the divine origin of the Jewish dispensation