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OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS:
TO WHICH IS ADDED THE
NATURAL HISTORY OF THE BIBLE.
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE STUDY OF SACRED GEOGRAPHY.
WILLIAM FLEMING, D.D.
PROFESSOR OF ORIENTAL LANGUAGES IN THE UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
THE EDINBURGH PRINTING AND PUBLISHING COMPANY.
SMITH, ELDER & CO., AND W. S. ORR & CO., LONDON.
THE utility of such a Work as this must be obvious to all, and the want of it has long been acknowledged. It is evident that a knowledge of the Geography of Holy Scripture is indispensably necessary to every one who wishes to make progress in the study of the Inspired Books, and nothing will more completely impress the mind with the conviction of their authenticity, than a diligent investigation of the geographical localities and historical events which they record. To facilitate this important inquiry is the object of the present Work, and how far the attempt is successful the reader will determine.
As the importance of the Study of Sacred Geography is fully considered in THE ESSAY, it is only necessary to request attention to some particulars with respect to the design and detail of this Work. By glancing at the LIST OF AUTHORITIES, it will be at once evident that the utmost care has been taken in the collection of facts and historical illustrations; but on this subject the reader is referred to the observations at the head of that LIST. To give the past history and present state of the countries, cities, and towns, mentioned in the SCRIPTURES, it was necessary to peruse diligently the works of recent travellers, who have done much to elucidate and explain the ancient history of the Oriental Nations. Even CALMET is deficient in this respect; and he indeed confesses to have "confined himself to represent the condition of such places and cities only to the taking of Jerusalem by the Romans, and to the end of the First Century." But since the time of CALMet— whose elaborate and ponderous work is altogether different from this-many important discoveries have been made, which throw
light on several interesting subjects, and greatly elucidate the Inspired Writings. In this Work, therefore, the substance of hundreds of valuable volumes is collected and condensed; many difficult and obscure passages of the SCRIPTURES are explained; the Oriental customs and manners are brought before the reader; their curious traditions are not forgotten; and, altogether, it is hoped that this GAZETTEER will not only supply the long-acknowledged desideratum, but that it will be found suitable as a manual for the student of sacred literature, and useful as a book of reference in the private library, or in the family circle.
In a Work such as this, which contains a vast collection of historical facts and geographical illustrations, of almost every description, a few inaccuracies may be found; but the reader is assured that the utmost vigilance has been exercised, and wherever these inaccuracies may occur, they cannot be of very great importance. Nothing is stated on individual responsibility, but every historical fact is fortified by references to the best and most authentic sources of information. With reference to dates, the Bible or Hebrew Chronology is generally followed; but as this is a subject so perplexed and jarring, that no authentic system can ever be adopted, the computations of other chronological authorities are also given.
The division of the Work entitled NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SCRIPTURES, chiefly aims at giving a popular outline of that interesting subject. Some repetitions will doubtless be discovered between it and the GAZETTEER, but these were to a certain extent unavoidable; nor are they of any importance in the detail, as both divisions of the Work are completely distinct from each other.
It is necessary to state that the utmost neutrality, in theological matters, will be found to pervade this Work. It is designed for THE MANY FOR ALL-of whatever Church or Denomination of Christians. No speculative opinions on doctrinal subjects are introduced, and he who expects to find any controversial statements in the GAZETTEER, or any bias in favour of one particular religious communion to the prejudice of another, will be disappointed.