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PRE FACE.

CATTERED over the world, long scattered,

and everywhere conspicuous, the Jewish people

have maintained a national character, religious rites and customs, and distinctive features, unparalleled by any other nation. Numerous and remarkable vicissitudes of occasional prosperity and cruel persecutions, comfort at one time, and heart-rending sufferings at another,-all these find them unchanged, a living miracle and standing evidence of the truth of the prophecies contained in their own sacred books.

Other races mentioned in the tablets of history have either been swallowed up in the vortex of time, or been so amalgamated with one another as to lose all marks of their original idiosyncrasy, while the Jews remained, and are even at the present day, what they were three thousand years ago.

How deep a subject of meditation and study to all men, and especially to the Christian! In the Jew he beholds the involuntary witness to the truth of all that God had spoken to men from the beginning of time, and through successive ages, concerning His Anointed; in him he sees the very flesh and blood from which

carnate.

Jesus Christ himself, as the Son of Man, became in

The Christian faith is based upon the Jewish. Jews were selected as the writers not only of the Old but also of the New Testament Scriptures ; theirs are not only the Patriarchs, the Law and the Prophets, but also the Apostles and the Evangelists. All the inspired writers were Jews—with the sole exception of St. Luke, whose mother only is said to have been a descendant of Jacob; and thus the oracles of God were committed to them, both in the new and the old dispensation.

To every Christian the Jewish Scriptures are the sole and true

source and fountain-head of spiritual comfort and consolation. Though Gentiles became partakers of the kingdom of God in the sequel, no Gentile hand contributed to the sacred volume, and on no Gentile prophet or evangelist was the inspiration of God bestowed. The series of books forming the New Testament is opened by the Jew St. Matthew, and closed by the Jew St. John; upon Jews the Holy Ghost descended at Pentecost; to Jews the Gospel was preached exclusively for some years; three thousand Jews were the first-fruits of the spiritual harvest ; by Jews the first churches were built in Judæa—by Jews the gospel was first brought to the benighted Gentiles; -in fine, the doctrine of salvation, proclaimed by Jews, has spread rays of truth and gleams of bright sunshine over the whole world.

The interest due to this unique nation and to the

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country from which it sprang, has at no time been more intense among all classes of society than at the present moment. Out of the ruins of God's ancient edifice, remnants have of late years been brought to light—thanks to the Palestine Exploration Fund which furnish irrefutable ocular testimony of the past glory of that sacred spot. The increasing facilities of communication in the vicinity of the Isthmus of Suez are calculated to bring new life and vigour to that land so long deserted. A highway from Jaffa to Jerusalem has been constructed, and Jews from Russia and Poland have gone to settle again in the City of David, and at present there are upwards of eight thousand Jews living in Jerusalem. A host of visitors are flocking now to the land of the Bible, and refreshing within themselves the reminiscences of the people of God that dwelt there of yore. Kings and princes, the great of the world, have quite recently made pilgrimages to that country, and worshipped the Lord on the very ground where He suffered and laid down His life for the redemption of mankind.

A brief outline of the history of the ancient people of God, from the call of Abraham down to the present time, is embodied in the following pages. It forms the substance of a number of lectures delivered by the author, and it is in deference to the wishes of several Christian friends, and at their special request, that it is now published in this form. It it scarcely incumbent upon the writer to prove its raison d'être ; suffice it

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to say, that, although the literature of Jewish history in the English language abounds in works of great and indisputable merit, most of these are either so voluminous as to be practically inaccessible to the general reader, or else are confined to special periods, more particularly the one comprised in the Old Testament, and the later Jewish wars. On the other hand, the unpretending little volume now laid before the public has for its object to make the history of the Jewish nation in all times more generally known to all classes, especially to the rising generation.

The author being himself a descendant of Israel, has brought to bear on his subject all the love for the people from which he has sprung, combined with the sincerest attachment to the Christian Church, of which, by the grace of God, he has become a member.

May our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Jews, bless the reading of these pages to all who peruse them, whether Jew or Gentile.

J. ALEXANDER.

124, Stockwell Park ROAD, S. W.

March 1, 1870.

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