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quite adequate to the conviction of any candid examiner, many centuries before the worthy Mr. Harmer undertook to compile these “Observations." But though his labours have established little, they have explained much; their results are not merely of the “ curious and amusing kind, he is modestly disposed to represent them ; on the contrary, they furnish us wiib ample means, in many instances, tu refute the sneers, to silence the objections, and to lessen or remove the apparent difficulties, of which infidels in various periods, and especially Voltaire, have often availed themselves in at empting to impeach the authenticity of the Scriptures. He was riot indeed, in the strictest sense, the first who had thought of illustrating Scripture by the modern customs and peculiarities of the East. Many useful otservauions had been casually introduced by Sandys, in the account of his travels, a century before : Chardin and Shaw had priblished a still greater number of similar notices; and the formet, especially, had even anticipated Mr. Harmer to some extent in his six volumes of MS. memoranda, from which, through the liberal intervention of Bishop Lowth, Mr. H. was enabled to enrich his second edition. On the continent, also, the excellent Michaelis had furnished the travellers, sent out by his Danish majesty, with a set of queries, respecting the present state of the countries referred to in Scripture ; and from the report of Niebuhr, the only one who accomplished the intention of the mission, Mr. H.'s later publications were considerably improved. He had the merit, however, of being the first to apply himself assiduously to this kind of investigation, of furnishing the public with a large and valuable collection of results, and of stimulating travel: lers to extend our knowledge of the Oriental regions, and authors to convert it to the purposes of Biblicat Criticism. His steps have been followed with great diligence, and in general with great success, by the learned and ingenious editor of "Calmet's Dictionary” and the works connected with it. From both these writers, and from some other sources, Mr. S. Burder nas compiled his “ Oriental Customs.” The diffusion of knowledge, which has been chiefly accomplished by the extensive circulation of these works, together with some lesser publications in this country, and some very respectable ones on the Continent, assisted also by the proposition of prize questions on the subject in some of the German seminaries and our own university of Cambridge, must have undoubtealy produced very salutary effects on the minds of general readers The scoffer at Revelation may now, we should bope, descend pretty low in society, before he finds any one so ignorant of Eastern customs as to be the dupe of sneers and sophisms, which at one time would have per
plesed the learned ; and the student of the Sacred Books may now discern confirmations of their genuineness and troth, in those very obscurities which would fornrerly have foiled his sagacity and shaken his faith.
Having frequently found reason to regret that a work, to which the Christian world is so much indebted, should remain so long out of print, and should have become so scarce and costly as to be inaccessible to the rising race of biblical students, we are much gratified with the opportunity of recommending a new edition of it to the public favour.' Whatever its original claims might be, they are greatly augmented by the diligence, learning, and skill of the present editor. The nature and value of the improvements it has received, should in strict propriety be the priucipal subject of our critique: for the merits of the work, considered merely as a republication, are too well understood to require any farther discussion or commendation.
Mr. Harmer's work was published at two, or rather three, different times; and the two latter volumes were arranged in a second series like that of the two foriner. It therefore became "necessary to amalgamate the first with the third, and the second with the fourth.” This must obviously have been a troublesome task, “as multitudes of the Observations had to be variously transposed, to bring them into connexion with those of a similar denomination, without which a heterogeneous mixture must have been the
consequence.” Pref. p. xi. xii. Beside this very desirable change of form, the work is indebted to Dr. C. for some valuable additions, of which we shall insert his own account.
About the time. I began this work, fortunately the two first volumes of the former edition, once the property of the late Dr. Russell, fell into
my hands. These I found to contain a great number of valuable notes written in the margin with his own hand, generally confirming and farther, elucidating the Observations of Mr. Harmer. Dr. Russell had read Mr. H's work with great attention, and reconsidered not only the facts for which he was quoted by Mr. H. but likewise the generał tenor of the work ; and from his long and extensive acquaintance with the natural history, customs, manners; &c. of the East
, and his reverence for the Sacred Writings, he was qualified, beyond most, to cast light upon every subject discussed in the Observations. His invaluable, though short remarks, I have taken care to introduce in their proper places, referring them always to their author. For this part of my work, I doubt not, I shall have the thanks of all my readers.
- Besides what I have inserted: from Dr. Russell's MS. notes, I have introduced many important matters from Dr. Shaw, which Mr. Harmer had professedly left untouched, from the supposition that Shaw's Travels were in the hands of every reader! However this might have been in Mr. H.'s time, I cannot say: but at present the work is very scarce, and
very dear. I have borrowed also, from a variety of authors (who are referred to in the notes,) many of the materials with which I have endeavoured to enrich this edition. Much of the matter concerning Egypt is entirely new ; as are many articles in the department of Miscellaneous Matters.' These have been chiefly furnished by Shaw, Sonnini, Anquetil du Perron, Bruce, and Dr. Buchanan's Travels in the Mysore. From Mr. Jackson's Journey overland from India, I have also collected some valuable materials.' PP.
xii, xüi. The style and punctuation are improved, though it would scarcely have been possible to exclude all the quaintnesses and imperfections of the original edition, without actually rewritiug the whole work. The Hebrew and Greek words cited by Mr. H. are now inserted in their proper character, with the Masoretic pronunciation in Italic. Many curious and appropriate quotations are introduced in the notes from Arabic and Persian authors. The editor has also added a series of “Observations,” intitled, “A Specimen of the advantage that may be derived from the Greek and Roman classics for the explanation of various passages in the Sacred Writings, extending over many pages. A Table of the Contents of each Observation is now prefixed to each volume, and a running title is inserted at the head of the several pages, specifying their subjects. A character of Mr. Harmer by Dr. Symonds, and Brief Memoirs of his life, character, and writings, by an anonymous, but apparently respectable writer, are 'reprinted from two numbers of a periodical work in 1789 and 1792. Nothing of importance could be ascertained by the inquiries of the editor, in addition to the information supplied by these documents. He was so fortunate, however, as to obtain access to an original painting of the venerable author, and has embellished the present edition with a fine engraving from it, by way of frontispiece, . He has also introduced å plate, containing “a correct outline of the famous Prenestine Pavement, with its description taken partly from Father Montfaucon, and partly from Dr. Shaw." Mr. Harmer's prefaces to the editions published in his life time, are very properly retained.
A few particulars of Mr. Harmer's life may not be unacceptable to our readers. He was born at Norwich, in 1715, of respectable and religious parents. “ The Christian mi. nistry, among the Protestant Dissenters, was the object of his own choice;" and after a course of preparatory studies chiefly “under the direction of the learned Mr. Eames,” he settled, at the age of twenty, with a small society of the Independent denomination at Wattesfield, Suffolk, over which he presided till his death, Nov. 27, 1788. He appears to have been not only an industrious student, but a pious diligent minister, and a very useful member of civil society.
• His strain of preaching was practical and evangelical, though he frequently entered into a critical examination of his text; and in his expositions of Scripture (which made a considerable part of his public work) he displayed great learning ; yet he was not content to leave the pulpit, till he had addressed the hearts and consciences of his hearers, which he did with great plainness and affection, frequently with many tears.” pp. xlix, I.
His literary knowledge honoured him with the esteem and acquaintance of the learned of all denominations; and in Ireland, as well as England, his correspondents were amongst men of the highest dignity in the established church ; for Mr. H. though a zealous dissenter, was a man of such candour and moderation, of such piety, learning and affability, that he conciliated the esteem, and obtained the confidence of the worthiest men of all parties,' p. xlviii.
To this information, we add the testimony of Dr. Symonds. ), 2
• He was a man of unaffected piety, equally kind as a master, parent, and husband ; meek and modest in his deportment, and invariably averse from every degree of intemperance and excess. Superior to all those narrow and illiberal prejudices which we are apt to imbibe from education or habit, he was governed by a general principle of benevolence;
and though he was commonly called the Father of the Dissenters, yet M his good offices were so far from being confined to his own communion,
that he acknowledged and encouraged merit wherever he found it. will apply to Harmer," was the usual language of every injured person in the neighbourhood ; and it seldom happened that the aggressor was not soon induced, by his persuasion, to repair the injury that he had done ; and I do not exaggerate, when I affirm, that there is not probably a single instance of an individual to be found, who, by a mild and seasonable interference, prevented more law-suits than Mr. H.' pp. xli, xlii.
The “ Observations," as many of our readers know, are not arranged in the order of the texts they particularly illustrate, nor in the form of a dictionary; but are classed together according to their subjects, the first chapter relating to the weather of the Holy Land, the second to the custom of living in tents, &c. &c. Each method is so marked with advantages and inconveniences, that we should not easily decide which to prefer. Mr. Harmer's plan is evidently the most pleasing, and the best adapted for regular perusal; and the purpose of reference is satisfactorily provided for by the copious indexes.
Prefixed to this series, are Mr. Harmer's Observations on the advantage of employing Oriental customs in illustration of the classics, together with the “ Observations” added by the present editor, which we have already mentioned. On these we have no room to comment; and shall therefore content ourselves with transcribing two ingenious Observations, by way of specimen.
Observatión IX. An I!hustration of the Term Bosom, used by St. Luke, ch: vi. V. 38. with a curious Story from Herodotus.-lmost all ancient nations, and particularly those of the East, Wore Jong, wide, and looge gavnients ;, and when about to carry any thing away that their hands could not contain, they useck a fold in the bosom of their pibe, Dearly in the same way that women in England use their aprons. To this custom our Lord alludes when he says Luke vi. 38. Good measure shall men give into your Bosom. The word kommer basamor lage frequently occurs in this sease in the best and purest Greek writers. The following example fiom Herodotus will at once both illustrate this use of the teini, and hew the extravagant and ridiculous nature of covétousness.
· When Cræsus had promised to Alomeon as much gold as he could carry about his body at once ; in order to improve the king's liberality to the best advantage, he put on a very wide tunic, evdus. sc. Gayoc pisayas, leaving a great space in the boson, xazov Bax uzta? TO 48905, and drew on the widest buskins he could procure. Being conducted into the treasury, he sat down upon a great heap of ingots, anil having first stuffed the buskins round' his legs with as much gold as they could contain he afterwards filled his whole bosom, x02TON Teuta Tamausvos, and loaded his hair with ingots, and put as many as it could contain into his mouth, and then waddledt of the treastry, dragging his heavy laden Baskins along, having scarcely any thing remainmg in his appearance indicative of the human form! Herodot, Erato, p. 375. Edit. Gale.
• Observation X. A difficult Passage in the Gospel of St. John, explained by a Orotation from Herodotus.--Him hath God, the Father secked. John ti. 28. This saying is difficult, and has been variously understcod. Among the different explanations given of it, the following has certainly a right to 'shet itself; and I hope it may do so without of. fending any, whatever bis peculiar creed may be. Most christians believe that our blessed Lord laid down his life as an atonement for the sin of the world ; and to this he seems to allude ver. 51. and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world; and to this circumstance the saying above, Him hatha God the Father sealet!, seems evidenily to refer.
It certainly was a custom among nations consignolik to Judea, to set a secil apon the victim tliat was deenied proper for sacrifice. The following account of the method of providing white lulls among the Egyptians, for sacrifices to the god Apis, (Herodot. Euterp. p. 104. Elt. Galt.) will cast some Kight" on this subject._* If they find even one back hair on him, they deem him unclean. That they may know this with certainty, the priest appointed for this purpose examines the whole animal both standing up and lying down; afterwards he draws out his tongue to see by certain signs whether it be clean : and lastly looks on the hairs of his taily to see if they be all in their natural state. If after this search, the animal is found without blemish, he signifies it by biriding 'a latel to his horns, then antlying wax, seals it with his ring, καν και ατα γη σημαντριδα επιπλασα, επιβαλλει τον δακτυλον, and the beast is lud way; for to sacrifice on, not taus sealed, is punished with death, ασημα τον δε θυς αν θανατος η ζημιη επικεφται. " and these are the rites of this sacrifice : αγαγοντες το σεσημασμενον. κτενος. κ. τ. λ.