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BY F. G. HIBBARD,
AUTHOR OF "HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY OF PALESTINE," ETC.
IN TWO PARTS.
GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE WHOLE BOOK.
PUBLISHED BY CARLTON & PORTER,
478241 April 3, 1951
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856,
BY CARLTON & PORTER,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New-York.
FROM WHOSE LIPS MY FIRST BIBLE LESSONS WERE LEARNED;
FIRST INSPIRED MY YOUNG HEART WITH LOVE FOR SACRED TRUTHS—
TRUTHS WHICH HAVE BEEN THE GUIDE AND STRENGTH OF
HER ACTIVE YEARS;
IN THE LIGHT OF WHICH THE WAY-WORN PILGRIM NOW WAITS,
UNTIL HER CHANGE COME
TO WHOM, IN ALL THE TRIALS AND VICISSITUDES OF
More than fourscore years,
AMID THE CARES OF A NUMEROUS FAMILY, WHO NOW ARISE TO CALL HER BLESSED,
HAVE BEEN "AS SONGS IN THE HOUSE OF HER PILGRIMAGE:"
WHO, WITH MANY PRAYERS AND TEARS, GAVE TO
THE CHERISHED "BENJAMIN" OF HER OLD AGE, HIM WHO HAD FONDLY
OF HER LAST YEARS:
To my Blessed Mother
THIS HUMBLE VOLUME IS DEDICATED, AS A TRIBUTE OF AFFECTION,
BY HER YOUNGEST SON.
1. THE great idea of this work is comprehended in the fact, that it is an attempt to place the reader in exact sympathy with the author of each Psalm at the time of writing. In order to this, the reader must first be placed in the real circumstances of the sacred lyrist. He must know who he is, where he is, what is his external condition, what his internal exercises, and what the occasion and design of his writing. In this way he naturally glides into the spirit, drift, and sentiment of the Psalm. This method of studying the Psalms, when judiciously pursued, supplies the most important of all human helps to an understanding of their scope, their beauty, and their power.
2. Although we have not servilely followed any author, we have made free use of all accessible sources, so far as they were available to practical ends; but have been compelled to institute, at every step, an independent inquiry as to the dates, authorship, and occasions of Psalms, deferring to what we deemed the best authority, where simple authority was to decide. The unpractised reader can form no estimate of the difficulty, and we might say, delicacy of this kind of work, while the candid scholar will well know how to make allowance for diversity of opinion, and even for an occasional fault.
We have made free use of Mr. Townsend's Chronological Bible—a work of standard merit, too much, alas! neglected by Bible readers-though in numerous instances we have seen cause to digress from his order. His arrangement of the text of the Psalms, according to the excellent edition of Dr. Coit, has been entirely adopted in this work, including the marginal readings and references. The reader is informed that no change whatever is made in the translation; it stands, in this respect, precisely as in the common English Bible, only the poetic form of parallel lines, answering to the form of the original Hebrew, is here retained.
3. The reader should consider the distinction between what may be called the general and the special occasion of any particular Psalm. Some of the Psalms appear to stand out alone, as the sole surviving poetic representatives of their authors and the occasions which gave them birth. In such cases the several Introductions are somewhat complete in themselves. But, for the most part, it is found that a series of Psalms belongs to the same general occasion, although each particular one may date at some one particular event in the series. In such cases, the circumstances of the author at the