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IN this edition, the work has been carefully revised by the author, and many additions made to the testimonies adduced in the former editions; and also several important docuIments not contained in the former editions have been placed in the appendix. Some alterations have also been made in particular passages, but not of sufficient importance to require specification.
In the London edition of this work by the Rev. Doctor Morison, some complaint was made of the want of references sufficiently distinct, to the authors from which the testimonies have been taken. In most cases, the works from which they have been derived are mentioned; and in a popular treatise of this kind, which has more the character of a compilation than of a work of original research, it is not deemed important to burden the margin with many notes of reference; which indeed are seldom used when most abundant.
The author has freely availed himself of all the information within his reach; but the authors to whom he is especially indebted are, Cosins’s Scholastic History of the Canon of the Old Testament—Jones’s New Method of Settling the Canon of the New Testament—and Lardner’s Credibility of the Gospel History—The Isagoge of Buddæus—The Thesaurus Philologicus of Hottinger, and Prideaux’s Connection. Dr. Wordsworth’s work on the Canon of the Old and New Testaments, and Routh’s Reliquiæ have also been consulted. Several valuable works on the Canon have been published in Great Britain, and also in this country, since the first edition of this work; but, though more valuable for the scholar, none of them, in the judgment of the author, are such as to supersede this as a popular treatise, which can be read with advantage by the unlearned as well as the learned. In a Scotch edition of this work, a copy of which the author has seen, there is an important error in giving the author’s Christian name in the title page. Instead of Archibald, they have put Alexander; making the first and second name the same. The only reason for mentioning this is, lest some doubt should hereafter arise respecting the genuine authorship of the volume.
As the design of this work is to ascertain where the revelation of God is to be found, it is assumed usually that the whole of divine revelation has been committed to writing. But there are many under the Christian name who strenuously maintain, that an important part of the revealed will of God has been handed down through the Church by tradition. It therefore seemed necessary, in order to render the work complete, to examine the claims of tradition; in which the author has departed from the common method of treating this subject. And as the Jews, as well as the Romanists, pretend to have received an Oral Law, handed down from Moses by tradition, a chapter has been devoted to this subject, and another to the traditions of the Church of Rome.
As the inspiration of the gospels of Mark and Luke had been called in question by John David Michaelis and others, and the author could find no satisfactory answer to the objections of this learned writer, he felt it to be a duty to endeavour to vindicate these books of the New Testament, and to prove that they have a right to a place in the Canon; where in fact they had always stood. And he has been gratified to learn that his arguments on this subject have received the approbation of learned and pious men. The Rev. Dr. T. H. Home has inserted the substance of them in his “Introduction to the New Testament,” and the Rev. Richard Watson has extracted a part of them and inserted them in his Theological Dictionary.
There never was a time when the friends of the Bible as an inspired volume had a more important duty to perform in its defence, than at the present. The assaults upon the plenary inspiration of the sacred Scriptures are, perhaps, more dangerous, because more plausible and insidious, than when divine inspiration is openly denied. On this subject the friends of revelation must be firm, and not yield an inch of the ground hitherto occupied by the orthodox. “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
If this volume may be in any measure useful in the defence of divine revelation, the author will not regret the labour bestowed upon it. With an humble prayer for its success he commits it to the Christian public.
Princeton, N. J., Jan. 1, 1851.
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