Sidor som bilder

the order of time and events in those psalms which seemed to have an historical connection, and at the conclusion of the series has inserted the didactic and descriptive psalms.

It is not pretended that in every case the right appropriation of a psalm has been made. It has been thought enough, where certainty was not attainable, if a probable assignment could be made, and a psalm set in a connection where its language would conform to the circumstances of the case and derive illustration from them.

In the form of an introduction to each psalm, such notices are given as appeared desirable to show the course of events; and notes are added where it seerned needful to explain and illustrate. Critical remarks are occasionally given, selected from Lowth and others, to exhibit the structure of the several compositions, and call attention to their beauties. The common version is used, but its language is freely corrected from that of Professor Noyes, and sometimes from that of Professor Alexander, or from the Prayer-book version. But the compiler has refrained from substituting any phraseology of his own, wishing to be able to assure the reader, at the outset, that variations from the established text are made by approved authority.*

* The only exceptions recollected are in Psalms cxli. 5 and Ixxvi. 6, where the concluding words are slightly different from any other version.

The numerous notes marked N. are taken from Dr. Noyes's version, to which the reader is referred, and where he will find the fullest information, on the whole subject, in the most attractive form. Those marked A. are from the translation lately published by Professor J. A. Alexander, of Princeton, N. J.; those marked A. C. are from Dr. Adam Clarke's Commentary; and those marked H. are from the Bible of Rev. John Hewlett, B. D., London. Use has also been made of the annotations of the German commentators.

The want of some such aid to the ready apprehension of the Psalms has been freely acknowledged by writers whose veneration for the Sacred Scriptures cannot be doubted. It is thus expressed by a late writer, the Rev. James Hamilton of London, in an essay on the “ Literary Attractions of the Bible," published as a Tract by the American Tract Society: “ For practical and devotional purposes, we could desire no better version than our own truthful and timehallowed translation. But for the sake of its intelligent literary perusal, we have sometimes wished that some judicious editor would give us, each in a separate fasciculus, the several contributions of each sacred penman. ..... One volume might contain all the psalms of David ; another, those psalms — nearly as numerous —

which were indited by Moses and Asaph and others.” Dr. Adam Clarke also, in his Commentary, freely gives his sanction to a similar measure. He proposes a chronological arrangement of the Psalms, assigning to each, according to his judgment, the occasion on which it was composed. And in his Introduction to the Book of Jeremiah he expresses his approbation of the attempts of Blayney and others to bind up its chapters in a new arrangement.

The plan adopted in this volume appears to the compiler to have the effect of making the Psalms more readily intelligible, and of placing their beauties in a clearer light. The Psalms thus arranged constitute one whole, a grand narrative poem, on the subject of God's dealings with that remarkable people to whom he saw fit to intrust the great doctrines relating to his being and attributes. No theme can surpass in interest the one thus presented, — the noblest spiritual truths committed in the infancy of the race to a people in an early stage of civilization, to be kept safe for succeeding ages. That people passes through various fortunes. It emerges from obscurity and becomes a powerful nation. It degenerates, is subdued, and reduced to vassalage by its neighbors. After a considerable lapse of time, not long enough, however, to remove by death all the generation which witnessed the

catastrophe, it is restored, and commences a new career of prosperity and glory.

The time embraced in the epic is a thousand years; the varieties of fortune are most striking; the characters of the actors, marked by the noblest virtues and the darkest crimes; the scenery is most picturesque; and, above all, the story is told in the words of the actors themselves, in poetry which has been the source and model of much of that of succeeding ages, and which, in its particular province, has never been surpassed or equalled.

If it shall appear that the compiler has been successful in either of his objects, — to make the Psalms more interesting by linking them in a chain of narrative, - to give a clearer perception of their beauties by the critical illustrations, — or to soften any repulsive features which they may have worn in the imperfect translation in which they are usually read, - it will be to him a source of great satisfaction.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »