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The Author of the present work has adopted Dr. Good's division of the Song of Solomon into twelve Canticles—each Canticle containing a subject in itself, though with a certain bearing upon the general subject. The method pursued in the work is this :
1. A plan or sketch of each Canticle.
4. Practical Comments. In the “Metrical Paraphrase,” the Author has endeavoured to give an English dress to the oriental style ; retaining, as far as practicable, the words of the English version; and only supplying so much of new matter, as might make the meaning more clear and intelligible to the English reader.
In the “ Explanatory Notes," he has availed himself of all the materials within his reach, which might serve to illustrate the manners and customs of those times and countries, which are referred to in the Song ; thus throwing upon things ancient, and therefore obscure, what light may have been obtained by modern research and discovery.
In the “Practical Comments,” his study has been to avoid all those fanciful interpretations, and minute applications of Scripture, which may be called over-spiritualizing--a practice from which the Song of Solomon has especially suffered. He has endeavoured rather to make this “Song of Songs” a vehicle for conveying to the mind sound and sober views of divine truth ; and at the same time a medium of illustrating and describing real Christian experience.
The Author would thankfully acknowledge the pleasure, and he trusts the profit also, which he has himself derived from the researches involved in the preparation of his “Explanatory Notes” and “Practical Comments.” The direct assistance, which he has received from the labours of others, who have gone before in the same field, will be found acknowledged in the several places where the quotations occur.
For the “Metrical Paraphrase,” with all the defects which doubtless belong to it, he must be held solely responsible ; and can only indulge the hope that it may not altogether fail of its design, which is to render this sacred Hebrew poem more clear and intelligible to English readers.
AND PRACTICAL COMMENTS.