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CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY.
J. PARSONS, B.D.
HONORARY ASSOCIATE OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LITERATURE.
Interpretationem librorum sacrorum esse summum, idemque
Ernesti Prolegom. ad Institut. Interpr. N. T.
ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD;
SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, AND CO. STATIONERS' HALL COURT;
T. JEW, GLOUCESTER.
It is a common practice with authors of all descriptions to plead the solicitation of friends as an apology for appearing before the public. In the present case, however, it may perhaps be allowed that there is nothing unreasonable in such apology. Having wasted many of the best years of my life in the obscure diligence of a collator; in unravelling and winding up a complicated and laborious work, of which all the credit, as well as all the solid advantage, was secured to himself by the original projector, few will suppose that I should be in haste to be again dabbling in printer's ink. But some of my kind friends in the neighbourhood of my present residence, having, on more occasions than one, expressed a wish that I would put together, and commit to the press, a few of those discourses, which by their partial judgment had been approved when heard in the church, I could not refuse to comply with their request; and if the perusal of the following pages shall afford them satisfaction on any point therein discussed, I have no right to expect anything further.
In the choice of my subjects I have restricted myself, for the most part, either to such topics as I conceived to be particularly interesting, or to such passages of Scripture as, from some peculiarity in the mode of expression, appeared to require elucidation. How far I have succeeded in this latter point must be left to the decision of my readers. I can only say that I have seldom ventured to obtrude my own opinions upon them, unless when supported by the best authorities within my reach.
Many, doubtless, there are in these days, by whom anything like a critical sermon will not be favourably received. Of the censure to which this unfashionable style of preaching will expose me I must be content to submit. But when publications of a different cast are so numerous, the most spiritualised can be in no want of matter suited to their taste; while to some perhaps a little variety may not be disagreeable. There is one sermon, however, (xviii.) in which my readers may think that the spirit of criticism is carried too far, and for which an apology may be required. I was led to choose this text only because I had never seen any tolerable explanation of it. For the substance of that which is here given I am indebted to the first of two dissertations, published A. D. 1752, by the Rev. George Costard, M. A. an accomplished orientalist, as well as a man of science. His History of Astronomy, published in one vol. 4to. 1767, is a most ingenious and useful work, though not so generally known as it deserves to be. He was the author of several curious Treatises on difficult passages of Scripture, and of some papers, I believe, in the transactions of the Royal Society. The last of his publications was a defence of the Mosaic Chronology against the objections of N. B. Halhed, Esq. in his Preface to the Code of Gentoo Laws. This was printed in 1778; he soon after died Vicar of Twickenham, the only preferment he could ever obtain.