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OF THE WHOLE
AND OF THE
HISTORY OF THE JEWS
BETWEEN THE PERIODS OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS :
INCLUDING NOTICES OF
BIBLICAL ANTIQUITIES AND GEOGRAPHY ;
ORIENTAL MANNERS AND CUSTOMS;
PATRIARCHAL, MOSAIC, AND CHRISTIAN,
WITH QUESTIONS FOR EXAMINATION.
for the use of Schools and families.
REV. J. E. RIDDLE, M.A.
This book has been composed in accordance with the suggestions and advice of many persons engaged in the work of education, who have strongly expressed their want of a compendious narrative of Sacred History, corresponding at once to our present resources, and to that accurate and solid system of instruction which, happily, is now demanded in every department of knowledge. The Manual is indeed, in plan and substance, no more than a school-book; but my estimate of the true nature and value of a book fit for either the public or the domestic school-room, especially on a subject such as this, is very high ; and I do not hesitate to say that I have accordingly bestowed upon this small elementary volume a considerable amount of thought, research, and labour.
The plan of this Manual includes the following particulars : - A continuous narrative of the events recorded in the Old and New Testaments, arranged in chapters of moderate length, to each of which are appended two sets of Questions, one set being of an elementary or general character, and the additional set consisting of such questions as may be usefully proposed to the more advanced pupils, or such as relate to subjects which demand attention from the more thoughtful and inquiring reader; — perpetual reference to those characteristics of Sacred History which mark it as one consistent and harmonious whole, having its centre in the person and work of Christ; or, in other words, which exhibit it as a record of events conducted and controlled by Him who worketh all in all, and who has pursued, with unwavering aim, the designs of His high moral government, and His great work of redemption, throughout şuccessive dispensations; -a careful account of the Mosaic Institutions, together with an elucidation of the true nature and office of Type and Prophecy in different ages of the church ;- pervading indication of the Dates of events recorded ; a brief view of Common History, regarded as contemporaneous with the subjects of Scripture History ;- more particular allusion to the affairs of those nations or empires by which Jewish or Christian interests were especially affected; - a succinct narrative of Jewish affairs in the interval between the period of the Old Testament history and that of the New; a concentration of the light which has been shed by modern scholars, and especially by recent Oriental travellers, upon many events recorded in the sacred narrative, upon the localities mentioned in Scripture, and upon ancient manners and customs, not a few of which are still prevalent in the East; allusion (chiefly in the notes) to various Historic Parallels of ancient or modern date ; -- and, lastly, reference to those passages of Greek or Roman authors which bear testimony, more or less direct, to separate incidents, or to the general state and progress of affairs, exhibited in Scripture.
It will be seen that I have thus attempted to digest into a small compass a large amount of most important matter; and I publish this little work with an earnest desire and prayer
that the Author of all good will make it useful in contributing to a comprehensive and intelligent acquaintance with that course of Sacred History which is, in fact, neither more nor less than the History of Redemption, and concerning which the Christian instructor
say every pupil, “ Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned, and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Tim. iii. 14, 15.
My chief aim has been to provide a Manual for the use of our Middle and Higher Schools ; but I trust that the design and contents of this history will be found to include also much
that may commend it to the attention of Students in our Universities, Candidates for sacred Ministry and other intelligent readers. I may add that the construction of the work renders it available for use either as a Class Reading-Book, -as a Book of Exercises, — as a Manual for Superintendents of Bible Classes and other Scriptural teachers, or as a book for private perusal.
J. E. R.
July 25, 1857.