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nothing can more conduce to illustrate the history of our Lord, than giving as it were a plan of those places which made up the scene, whereon the particulars of his holy and unspotted life were transacted; especially if the geographical description be ranged after an historical method, or according to the series of time, wherein the places were visited by our blessed Lord.
This is the design and method of the first Part of this work, which therefore cannot be reasonably disliked, whatever the performance may be. Though even this, I hope, carries nothing in it, but what is very excusablé by a reader of candour, and not unapprehensive of the nature of the subject.
In describing the ancient state and condition of places, as they were in the times of our Saviour, I have chiefly followed (where I could) Josephus, the celebrated Jewish historian, as being beyond dispute the best qualified author to inform us therewith; forasmuch as he lived in the first century, and was not only a native. of the Holy Land, but also a great commander or general in it.
But judging it might be not less (if not more) acceptable to the genius of the age, I have inserted also the best account we have of the present state and condition of places mentioned in the Gospels, and lying within the Holy Land. This I have taken chiefly from the late reverend and ingenious Mr. Maundrell, then Chaplain to the factory at Aleppo, in his Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, A.D. 1697. This worthy person appears by his writings to have been so well qualified for a work of this nature, that it is much to be regretted, that he had not the opportunity of taking a survey of all the parts of the Holy Land, but especially
of the Sea of Galilee, and the country round it. Sure I am, it is much to be wished, that this might be done by some other worthy person belonging to the forementioned factory, and no less qualified for such an undertaking. It is obvious of what great use this might be, for the clearing some passages in the Gospels, which relate to our Saviour's journeyings about the Sea of Galilee.
I need not enlarge on the great use that maps are of to the better understanding of all sorts of geographical treatises. For which reason, I have added to this first Part a map, shewing the places mentioned in the four Gospels, and lying chiefly within the Holy Land: as I have also added another map to the other part of this work, shewing such places as are mentioned in the other books of the New Testament, and lay chiefly without the Holy Land. So that in one of these two maps is to be found any place mentioned or referred to in the whole New Testament.
It is here to be further remarked, that I have not contented myself with giving a bare geographical account of places; but have also taken notice of such famous persons, or actions, or other circumstances, as the places are memorable for in history, or at least deserve our present observation. And this I have done to the end that this work might be useful in more respects than one; and not only more useful, but also more pleasant and entertaining to the reader. On this historical account, as also by reason of the historical method I have made use of both in this and the other Part, I have given to this work the name of an Historical Geography of the New Testament.
I have purposely avoided, as much as I
could, all critical disquisitions, this work being chiefly designed for the service of such as are not wont to find any great pleasure in criticisms, at least, of this nature; and are not much skilled in any other but their native English tongue. For which last reason, I have likewise made use of the English translation of Josephus by Sir Roger L'Estrange, where I have had occasion to cite any passage out of the said Jewish Historian.
As Geography is esteemed one eye of History, so Chronology is no less justly esteemed the other; and therefore, to give all the light I could to the history of the New Testament, I have added two Chronological Tables, one of the history of our blessed Saviour, and the other of St. Paul's travels, taken from the tables published by Mr. Marshal, and approved of (to say no more) by Dr. Lloyd, late Bishop of Worcester, who was generally esteemed one of the most learned in chronology of his age.
It is also to be here further observed, that, whereas in the former editions I followed what is commonly thought the series or course of the history of our Saviour; having since had occasion to inquire more strictly into that matter, (namely, in order to the drawing up of my table of the harmony of the Gospels lately published,) I have thereby seen cause to look on the course of our Saviour's history commonly followed to be wrong: and therefore to alter and transpose some passages of our Saviour's journeyings in the former editions.
THE second Part of the Geography' of the New Testament being of the same nature in
general with the first, it is needful only to observe, that my particular design is to give a geographical and historical account of the places mentioned, or referred to, in the books of the New Testament, which follow after the four Gospels. The far greatest number of which places being contained in the history or Epistles of St. Paul, I have distinguished this second Part by the title of the Travels and Voyages of St. PAUL, the Apostle of the Gentiles.
In describing the places, I have observed the same historical method used in the other Part; ranging them according to the series of time, when they were visited by St. Paul; this being the most conducive way to illustrate the history of our Apostle.
Through the whole performance, I haveguided myself by the same measures, as in the first Part. The ancient state of several places, which lay without the Holy Land, is taken from Strabo, who lived in the first century; and the present state is taken chiefly either from Sir Paul Ricaut, or Mr. Maundrell. To Mr. Maundrell we are beholden for the present state of Damascus and Ptolemais, which he visited in 1697: to Sir Paul Ricaut for the present state of the seven Churches in Asia, to which the seven Epistles, recorded in the Revelation of St. John, were sent; which he visited in 1678.
WITH respect to my Geography of the Old Testament, I need say no more of the design of this work in general, and the method observed therein, than that they are of a like nature
with the design and method of my Geography of the New Testament.
The most observable difference between one work and the other, is this, that in my Geography of the Old Testament I have found it requisite to have frequent recourse to the Hebrew language, and to make use of some terms of the Hebrew Grammarians; which because it is likely some readers may not be acquainted with, I judged this the most proper place to explain them in.
It is observable, that none of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet are vowels, there being originally no characters for these, as is probable, forasmuch as in the old Hebrew text no vowels are expressed. The characters, whereby the vowels are expressed in the present Hebrew Bibles, as also those whereby the consonants are expressed, were taken from the Chaldeans, and learnt by the Jews, and brought into use among them, during the Babylonish captivity. So that what is now-a-days called the Hebrew text is in reality no other than the Hebrew text expressed in Chaldee characters, whether consonants or vowels. The true old Hebrew characters are those now-a-days called the Samaritan characters; among which, as I said above, there are none for vowels.
Lastly, it is only further observable, as to our present purpose, that the Hebrew letters are distinguished into radicals and serviles. For the Hebrew Grammarians call their primitive words, Radixes, or Roots, as being those from which the derivative words do as it were spring or arise. Hence such letters as go to make up the radix or primitive word are called in respect thereof Radical letters. But such other letters as, being added to the radix, serve to form any derivative word from it, are