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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1834, by
GOULD AND NEWMAN, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
The design of publishing a volume of “ Biblical Extracts” was announced in the spring of 1831-in the preface of the Rhetorical Reader. The author there says “It was my intention to include in the Exercises, Part 2nd, (of the Rhetorical Reader) a greater proportion of Extracts from the Bible, than I have done in Part 1st; both because I think it furnishes many of the best lessons for rhetorical reading ; and because the book which, more than all others, is adapted to promote the Salvation and Sanctification of the Young, has been too much neglect.ed in all departments of Education. But as I wished to make this selection, not for the young merely, but also with a special view to those who are called to read the Bible as heads of families, or still more publicly, as preachers of the Gospel, sufficient room could not be found for it, in the present volume. I therefore concluded to defer this part of my plan, with the hope that I may compile a separate collection of Biblical Exercises, of perhaps 150 pages, to which a rhetorical notation will be applied, and which may be a proper sequel both to the Analysis and Rhetorical Reader.”—This design was carried into effect, by the author, so far as the compilation and notation were concerned ; and it was his intention to publish the work within a few weeks, if the Almighty Disposer of events had not seen fit to remove him from this sphere of labour. Nothing remained for him to do, in its preparation for the press, but to write the preface, and insert one or two additional notes, which were already written in abbreviated characters, upon loose papers.
The selections were made, for the most part, and the notation applied, during his last journey to the South, in the winter of 1833. His health was too feeble during the last winter to allow of his attending, with his usual assiduity, to more important studies; and this work has consequently been taken up as an occasional amusement, and received a considerable share of his attention. His adopted daughter, (whose death preceded his own but a few weeks) carefully reviewed the notation in the course of the winter, under his superintendance, and it had been his intention to avail himself of her aid in correcting the proof-sheets, for which his strength was wholly inadequate.
After her sudden death, when he began to recover from the shock which his health then experienced, it was the privilege of his adopted son (brother of the deceased) to assist in further attention to the work; and the author had directed him to proceed with its publication as soon as convenient, and had sketched the plan of a Preface, intending to fill it out within a few days. Under these circumstances the attention which the Public have paid to the Author's other works on Rhetorical Reading seemed to demand the publication of this, according to his intention.
As stated in the quotation from the Preface of the Rhetorical Reader, the object of this Book is to aid in reading the Bible. There are few books which may be made to excite greater interest, when read with suitable emphasis and inflections. Yet few books are read with such an utter want of expression.—A sort of “sacred tone” or chant, is adopted in reading the Bible, by many whose tones are perfectly natural in reading other books. When this is not the case, there is frequently a total neglect of that antithetic stress which is so peculiarly necessary in reading many parts of the Scriptures.
An example of this stress may be found in Luke 11 : 10 and 11.. “For every one that asketh, receiveth ; and he that seeketh, findeth ; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”—If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone ? or If he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent ?” In both these verses the Italic words are evidently antithetic, and require a significant stress of voice. Without such a stress, they lose all their force and beauty. The Psalms are generally
read in the same uninteresting manner. They are delineations of emotion. Now, the Psalmist pours forth his soul in deep contrition, “ Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness. Against thee, thee only have I sinned,” &c;—now he expresses his holy wonder, while “the Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy work"--and again he is filled with holy rapture, and exclaims “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men !” It is certainly proper to employ the tones of emotion, in reading such passages ; yet they are generally read with the monotony of the schoolboy, or with the heavy cadence of the cathedral-chant.
The ANALYSIS and RHETORICAL READER were intended to supply rules and principles by which such tones might be broken up. This work is designed as a series of Lessons for practice, upon those principles.Another object, kept in view by the Author, was to supply heads of families, and clergymen, with a variety of Extracts from the Bible, suitable for public and private worship, to which a Rhetorical Notation should be applied with more accuracy than their own time, or acquaintance with principles, would enable them to prepare for themselves. This work does not contain all those parts of the Bible, to which a notation might be advantageously applied. The Prophets, and the Psalms are so rich in rhetorical passages, that the author had partially prepared them for publication, entire, in a separate book.