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In presenting this small volume to the attention of my friends, and of the public in general, I feel that it is incumbent on me to offer a few words, in the shape of explanation, as to the method which I have pursued with regard to the original work. To M. Jaquelot I acknowledge I am altogether indebted for those powerful arguments, which I am enabled to use in the following pages, for the support of holy writ. Having said this, I trust I shall not be accused of temerity in acknowledging, that after I had translated literally the “ Traité de la Verité et de l'Inspiration des Livres du Vieux et du Nouveau Testament," I found it necessary to recompose it; considerably abridging some parts, and altering others, while I endeavoured carefully to retain the true sense of the author. I have also added, together with some few remarks of my own, various passages of Scripture, which appeared to me to give considerable weight to the arguments of M. Jaquelot.
In the whole of this undertaking, my earnest wish has been to seek the glory of God; and in so doing, to put the work into such a shape that it may readily find readers, even among those who are to be considered as forming the unlettered part of mankind. With this object in view, I have tried, as much as possible, to divest my book of the digressive and prolix style of the original, without swerving from those clear principles of truth which are established and enforced by the pious writer. How far I have succeeded, is not for me to determine. I do not presume to claim the praise of the learned ; I do not expect to receive the approbation of the critic; but I most earnestly desire to be permitted the privilege of becoming an humble instrument, in the bands of Providence, for proving the Divine truth of the Bible: and looking to Him for help, in whose hands are the understandings both of the proud and the humble, of the lowly and the noble, I have endeavoured to make this small volume," all things to all men,” that it might" by any means ” be instrumental to the teaching of some. In these days of scepticism and infidelity, even the feeblest voice should be raised in support of the truth of God's word: weak as my efforts are, they may not be altogether useless. If God should vouchsafe to bless them, he alone knows to what extent they may be beneficial in raising a spirit of pious inquiry in the minds of some who have never before entertained one serious or truly religious sentiment; in leading others, who are entirely ignorant of the contents of the Bible, to turn to the revealed word itself, and in it to listen to the voice of Him, who, in the glorious Unity of the Godhead, and Trinity of Persons, is the Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier of mankind.
In the Preface to the original French Edition, we are taught, that M. Jaquelot, my truly Scriptural guide, who was the Protestant Preacher in the King of Prussia's Chapel, at the end of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth century, had appeared in the character of an author before. He had been a zealous advocate for the truth in a more voluminous treatise on The Existence of God, addressed to the infidel world in general; and in another on the Messiah, addressed to the Jews in particular. The treatise, from which I have drawn so much of the contents of this volume, appears to have been written some time subsequently to the other two; and, in fact, was not published till after his death in 1708. We also learn from the Preface, that M. Jaquelot having expired, before this work was revised and corrected by himself, it was published precisely in the way in which he left it, with the exception of the last chapter of the second part * ; his friends having considered it as most advisable not to make any other alteration in it. This will be a still further apology for my venturing to abridge the writings of so pious and learned a man, and making rather a paraphrase than a translation of the work in question.
Having said thus much, I trust that I shall meet with every indulgence, as to my deviations from the French ; among which I must acknowledge the introduction of some remarks with regard to the final restoration of Israel, as on that part of the Prophetical writings my author was almost entirely silent. In these days of pious inquiry respecting this subject, I found it impossible to do other than call the attention of the reader to it by some few observations, but especially by references to particular parts of Scripture.
* The last chapter in the Traité de la Verité, &c. we are informed by the writer of the French Preface, was not written by M. Jaquelot, but added after his death; he having been known to have intended to conclude the work in question with some remarks on the subject, which occupies that portion of the book. That this was his intention, may be gathered from many passages in the work itself, as well as from the assertions of the writer of the French Preface.
Before I conclude this address, I request permission to acknowledge with gratitude the condescension of those exalted individuals, and the kindness of all those, who by becoming subscribers to this volume, have encouraged me to commit it to the press.
It only remains for me to ask for the prayers of every pious person who peruses the following pages, that, so far as they are consistent with God's word, and conducive to the glory of the Lamb, who was slain for the sins of many, their contents may sink deeply into the hearts of those who read them, and produce the fruits of an earnest seeking after heavenly wisdom. I beg leave to dedicate this small volume
TO EVERY SINCERE SEARCHER AFTER
DIVINE TRUTH, TO ALL THOSE WHO DESIRE TO BE TAUGHT OF
THE SPIRIT OF GOD, AND THROUGH GRACE TO FIND IN THE BIBLE
"THE WAY TO
EVERLASTING LIFE AND PEACE.
I remain their humble and devoted servant,
WILHELMINA A. BINGHAM.
Vicarage, Hale Magna, near Sleaford,
Lincolnshire, April 2, 1829.