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in any degree, in the subsequent pages, must be decided by the candid and intelligent examiner.
It may be proper to inform the reader, that it was not my intention to write a complete commentary on the book of Genesis, or, in any sense, a practical one. He need not therefore be surprised, if many things are here passed over which could not properly have been omitted in a more voluminous work, composed on a more extensive plan. The book now submitted to his inspection is intended as a companion to the first part of the Pentateuch. Far from being designed to lessen the importance or supersede the use of the inspired record, it does but accompany it as a servant and attendant. It is expected, therefore, that the reader will peruse it, and especially the Analysis, with the sacred volume open before him. Those who are acquainted with the original Hebrew, will, of course, prefer the fountain head of the truth. Others will find our admirable and generally accurate English translation among the very best and purest of the streams.
In the preparation both of the Analysis and the Notes, it has been my object to illustrate the book of Genesis by a constant reference to the original text, to other portions of Scripture, and to the best sources and aids of interpretation. In the hope, that, of those who may favor this volume with their attention, a considerable number will be competent to examine original aut! selves, it appeared to be due to that class of readers,
not to leave them without the means of determining on the correctness of the Author's representations. It is with this view, that I have occasionally introduced the authorities appealed to in their original language. It is hoped, however, that this will not deter the merely English reader from giving his attention to this work, as, in every instance, the · original passages are accompanied by a translation, which, if not always literal, is yet sufficiently so to put him in possession of the writer's meaning. He will not object, because to one class of readers an advantage is afforded, of which it is his misfortune that he cannot avail himself.
It will be perceived that the literal sense of the words is adhered to, when there is no sufficient reason for adopting a figurative meaning. And when a passage is susceptible of more expositions than one, I have thought it most in accordance with that candor which should govern the expositor, not to limit the reader to that, which to my own mind may be most satisfactory: being well assured of this, that uniformity of opinion respecting the meaning of difficult passages of Scripture is not to be expected, both on account of the nature of the grounds whereon such passages ought to be interpreted, and the character and habits of the mind, varying, as they do, in consequence of different natural capacity, and also from the influence of education and incidental circumstances. If the data whereby to form a judgment respecting the
meaning of a passage have not appeared sufficiently clear or complete to settle the true and necessary sense, I have purposely avoided the expression of a decided opinion, being of nothing more strongly persuaded than of this, that an affectation of knowledge merely displays ignorance, and that an attempt to shroud in mystery what is clear, or to explain what is to us unintelligible, necessarily tends either to superstition or infidelity.
Page 15, line 4 from bottom, for In read in. 68, - 11 from bottom, for 60 read 40.
- 7, for He read The.
1, for xi. read ix.
— 18, for 50 read 51.
131, - 7 from bottom, for idolatriæ read idololatriæ. - 380, – 6, for 7j3am read 13ams.
380, — 19, for adapted, read adopted.