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To the lover of antiquity, how interesting is any thing that presents to his imagination scenes and transactions of past ages! Hence the pleasure enjoyed at the sight of an ancient ruin-an ancient castle, for instance. And why such pleasurable feeling? Imagination presents to his view certain individuals as having distinguished themselves on that very spot-battles fought and won there—and indeed a variety of important events, recorded in history as having there occurred. And pained as he may be, if a man of religious feeling, upon reflecting on the dominion of irregular appetites and passions in
ons in many of those occurrences, yet he cannot but feel himself interested. To the same source may be attributed the delight of the classic traveller, when viewing the ancient remains of Greece and Rome. But why indulge this taste for antiquity about things recorded in profane history only? Why should not the lover of his Bible be allowed to indulge his taste in things that remind him of sacred history, especially if he thinks that the research it occasions will illustrate and confirm, as well as augment his esteem for, that most ancient and inspired Record ? Suppose, for instance, he sees a circle of huge unhewn stones, placed on an extended plain or moor, which tradition tells him was once a heathen place of worship; or suppose a huge pillar or obelisk attracts his attention, which also, tradition says, was once an object of idolatrous regard, why may he not in his thoughts trace the origin of such artificial structures up to the remoter periods of time? And if he can find certain Scripture facts that have given rise to such an existing monument of antiquity, ought it to excite surprise that he should feel interested? And if, further, he conjectures that, in these times of infidelity, the discovery should serve to illustrate and confirm the sacred records, is he not warranted in pursuing his researches ? See, then, the origin of this undertaking. The writer considers the Bible as a revelation from Him " of whom are all things,” and “ through whom and to whom are all things;" he considers it as a book whose tendency is to pacify the conscience of man as a responsible and guilty creature, to deliver him from that iniquity which proves his ruin ; to impart health to the mind, to solace the heart under the troubles of life, and even to extract the sting of death itself. And in viewing it thus, can he feel uninterested in anything that tends to strengthen his own or others' faith in such revelation; or that might tend to illustrate or exhibit its utility ? Assuredly not. Now such are the author's views concerning the subject before us. It appears to him that there are many monuments of antiquity now existing, which derived their origin from certain facts that occurred thousands of years ago, as recorded in
Scripture, and he thinks that the accordance of existing facts with historic record in such cases, has a tendency to produce the effects above mentioned. Nor is this all : it appears to him, that, although notice has been taken by other writers, incidentally, of the probability that one or two of those remains of antiquity concerning which we are about to treat had their origin in certain Scripture facts, yet he is not aware that the matter has been taken into such matured consi. deration as is attempted in these Essays. Moreover, it will be allowed, that something may have escaped the observation of one which might have been noticed by another.
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