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THE PATRIARCHAL EVIDENCES OF REVEALED RELIGION:
CONTAINING TRANSLATIONS, WITH AN ALPHABET AND GLOSSARY, OF
THE HAMYARITIC INSCRIPTIONS
RECENTLY DISCOVERED IN HADRAMAUT.
THE REV. CHARLES FORSTER, B.D.
ONE OF THE SIX PREACHERS IN THE CATHEDRAL OF CHRIST, CANTERBURY ;
AND RECTOR OF STISTED, ESSEX :
They call their lands after their own names. - Psalm xlix. 11.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
Over us presided kings far removed from baseness,
in a book, to be kept ; And we believed in miracles, in the resurrection, in the return into the nostrils of the breath of life.
Adite inscription, engraven on the rock at Hisn Ghorúb.
Oh that my words were now written ! oh that they were printed in a book !
the earth : And though, after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet, in my flesh, shall I see God : Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.
For he earth. After my sayself,
THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY.
IN submitting the following pages to Your Grace's censure and indulgence (and to whom can the fruits of Oriental studies be inscribed more appropriately, than to the venerated successor of their first and most illustrious patron in this country ?) I would avail myself of the privilege of again publicly addressing you, to say a few words upon the origin and design of the work itself, as well as upon some results most unexpectedly arrived at, during its progress through the press.
The present work, like that on the authority of the Epistle to the Hebrews, was commenced under the auspices of Bishop Jebb; and, like it also, has been brought to its close, and before
the public, under Your Grace's countenance and protection. It was with feelings which they alone are competent to understand, who have known what it is to possess a friend “ closer than a brother," that, within the last two years, I resumed the prosecution of researches, which (under Providence) had contributed to preserve the elasticity of the mind during the last years of that friend's long and great affliction, and which had been interrupted only by his last illness and death.
The interest and importance of the subject became first known to myself, from lights obtained in the prosecution of a more limited inquiry, essential to the argument of a former publication. The idea and plan of the present work originated in the favourable reception experienced from those to whose judgment it was my duty to defer, as well as from the public at large, by the proofs of the descent of the Arabs from Ishmael, in the Appendix to“ Mahometanism Unveiled.” For, if infidelity could be silenced, and revealed truth vindicated, by exact scrutiny, at a single point, into the Mosaic accounts of the origin of the Arab tribes, ... it was clear that the most valuable results might justly be anticipated from exact scrutiny into
those accounts on an extended scale, and as comprizing the patriarchal origin of all the primitive tribes of Arabia.
How far the anticipation is realized in these volumes, it will be for others to determine. For the present, I shall venture only to observe to Your Grace, that, whatever weight may have been allowed to my former argument on that head, in the following Memoir, and its illustrative maps, the proof of the descent of the Arabs from Ishmael is further certified and enlarged by the recovery of all the chief Ishmaelitish tribes, both in the classical and in the modern geography of the Arabian peninsula, upon the same ground which they occupied in the days of Moses, and which they continue to occupy in our own : while the application of the same process of investigation to the four great patriarchal stocks, who, according to Moses, together with Ishmael peopled the peninsula, has conducted us to precisely similar results; the families of Cush and Joktan, who preceded, and those of Keturah and Esau, who followed, the son of Hagar, proving all to be extant, in the ancient and modern geography of the country, in the very localities, and along the very lines, where they are placed by “ Moses and the Prophets."