Page images
PDF
EPUB

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by

HENRY BILL,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the District of Connecticut.

Rand, Avery & Frye, Electrotypers and Printers, Boston.

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

IBLE History,” says Dr. Lange, which is nowhere found but in the Old Tes

"differs from the general history of tament. True, there are fabulous legends the kingdom of God, in that it delineates and cosmogonies in which may be found a only the foundation of this kingdom by confused intermingling of traditional lore and means of and during the course of revelation. the inventions of the imagination, but they It traces, in historical succession, the narra- are wanting in all the essential elements of tive contained in the Scriptures in all its authentic history. essential features. In the Old Testament it The Bible supplies, either by express shows us all the elements of the life of faith, statement or obvious implication, facts and and sets before us many a precious example principles which constitute genuine history, of faith and patience for our imitation; and go far to give the past all the value which while in the New Testament it exhibits the it can possess for the men of these times. bistory of faith and salvation made perfect,' The history of the pre-Christian era emboth in the miracles and triumphs of the braces, 1. The primeval ages till the deluge, Lord, and in the deeds of His apostles. and the re-settlement of Noah and his family Thus Bible history forms the basis of Church in Armenia. 2. The dispersion of the posterhistory.”

ity of Noah's three sons till the calling of As a department of useful knowledge, it Abraham. 3. The origin and establishment possesses an intrinsic value and interest, sur- of the Hebrew Theocracy, and its relations to passing whatever can be claimed for any the ancient empires of the world, comprising other history. It covers a long period in the the period from Moses to David

the period age of human society, whose chronicles, in an of the kings from David to the Babylonian authentic form, have been nowhere else pre-exile — the period of sacerdotal rule under served. It runs back to the eventful epoch the Maccabæan administration, or what is whence the creation of the world, in its pres- called the middle period. 4. Primitive Chrisent organic state, dates its existence; and tianity to the close of the first century. furnishes the only reliable record of the ori- Thus surveyed, it appears that Biblical gin of man, of his primitive condition, his history covers a period of four thousand fall, his subsequent development, and the for- years or more -- from the morning of creatunes of his family.

tion to the establishment of Christianity in Biblical history is the source of all we know all parts of the Roman empire. When conof the antediluvian period, and subsequent sidered in respect to the infallible sources ages of the world down to the time of Herodo- whence it is derived, and the long flight of tus, the father of history. It contains the ages which it embraces, it must be regarded only truthful account of the ancient and long as possessing the highest claims to our caresince vanished civilizations. Herodotus was ful study. a contemporary of Ezra and Nehemiah, the - Viewed merely as a literary production, last of the Old Testament historians. The the Bible,” says the able and learned editor of antediluvian period, and that intervening Dr. Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scrip. between the Noachian deluge and the times tures, “ is a marvellous book, and without a of Nehemiah, embrace an era of about three rival. All the libraries of theology, philosthousand five hundred years, the history of ophy, history, antiquities, poetry, law, and

ix

man ;

policy would not furnish material enough for trations of scenes in sacred history, which so rich a treasure of the choicest gems of afforded him much pleasure, and induced human genius, wisdom, and experience. It him to read the Scriptures. The course of embraces works of about forty authors, rep- an eventful life is not unfrequently shaped resenting the extremes of society, from the by some single incident in the experience of throne of the king to the boat of the fisher- childhood. In the case of Kitto, it is very

it was written during a long period evident that there was a connection between of sixteen centuries, on the banks of the his interest in the old family Bible, with its Nile, in the desert of Arabia, in the land of pictures, and his subsequent fondness for promise, in Asia Minor, in classical Greece, Biblical studies. and in imperial Rome; it commences with When he was ten years old, he was the creation, and ends with the final glorifi- brought back to the parental home; his cation, after describing all the intervening father, a journeyman mason, required John stages in the revelation of God and the spir- to assist him. In the mean time, he imitual development of man; it uses all forms proved every leisure day and hour in reading of literary composition ; it rises to the high- such books as he could find or borrow. est heights, and descends to the lowest depths While other boys were at play, he was readof humanity; it measures all states and ing. conditions of life; it is acquainted with In the year 1817, the thirteenth of his every grief and every woe; it touches every age, young Kitto suffered an injury which chord of sympathy; it contains the spiritual cast à disheartening cloud over his future biography of every human heart; it is suited prospects. He was employed in carrying to every class of society, and can be read slates to the roof of a house which his father with the same interest and profit by the king was repairing, when, stepping from the ladand the beggar, by the philosopher and the der to the roof, his foot slipped, and he fell child ; it is as universal as the race, and to the pavement below. He was conveyed reaches beyond the limits of time into the in a senseless state to his home, and for two boundless regions of eternity.”

weeks there seemed to be but little hope of The Illustrated History of the Bible is his recovery. At the expiration of this one of the important works of Kitto, who time he opened his eyes and consciousness has contributed several other valuable and returned. His first thoughts were directed voluminous works to the cause of Biblical to his books, his mind reverting to the sublearning. For the numerous notes intro-ject with which it was occupied at the time duced, recourse has been had to the most of the casualty. He seemed greatly surreliable authors, and especially to the later prised to find himself weak and helpless. researches in the department of sacred lite- As yet he was not aware that, in conse

quence of the injury he had received, he As some readers may be interested in a had become entirely deaf. On inquiring for brief biographical notice of the distinguished a book which he was reading just before he Christian scholar referred to above, the fol- fell, he heard no answer.

Why do you lowing is here inserted.

not speak ?” he asked with some impatience. John KITTO was born in Plymouth, Eng- The painful information was given to him, in land, Dec. 4, 1804. His father was a com- writing, that he was deaf. mon laborer, in humble circumstances. Be- The fact of his deafness, depressing as ing addicted to intemperance, he squandered it was, and unfitting him as it did for most his earnings in ale-houses, and his family kinds of business, did not extinguish his was subjected to poverty and mortification. thirst for knowledge. He resorted to a vaHis son, John, was consequently removed riety of resources and expedients for earnto the home of his maternal grandmother, ing small sums of money, which he expended. where he was tenderly cared for and in- in the purchase of cheap books. But his structed. Very early he manifested a strong scanty earnings were not sufficient for the desire for knowledge, and sought the society purchase of such books as he now craved, of those who would entertain him with sto- and for procuring food and clothing, which ries or loan him books.

his parents in their poverty could no longer In his grandmother's library he found a provide for him. Consequently, in the fiffamily Bible, containing many pictorial illus-1 teenth year of his age, the poor deaf boy

rature.

was sent to the poor-house. This stern, hu- where he engaged in the department of labor miliating necessity seemed intolerable to his for which he had been set apart. On finding noble and sensitive spirit. After a while, that his work was less favorable to intellectual however, he became resigned to this hard lot, and spiritual growth than he had expected, and conducted himself in a manner that won he resigned the situation. the sympathy and kindness of the overseer. As a missionary company was about to be

In the latter part of the year 1821, John sent to Bagdad, he readily accepted an inviKitto was apprenticed to a shoemaker, who tation to join the same. The voyage to that proved to be an unreasonable and cruel mas- oriental city occupied six months, which time ter. But in these circumstances, trying as he improved in careful observations on men, they were, and though required to work six-customs, and places. While residing in that teen or eighteen hours a day, he redeemed time city, it was visited by the plague, the terrifie from sleep for the pursuit of knowledge. ravages of which swept off more than oneHis was a mind that rose above the pressure half the inhabitants in two months. Amidst of the most depressing adversity.

this fearful desolation he remained calm and The promising abilities of this unfortunate active at his post. His connection with this youth were at last brought to the notice of mission continued about three and a half several gentlemen in Plymouth. Measures years. were proposed by them in 1823, with a view On returning to England, he settled near to procuring for him a situation favorable to London, and engaged in literary pursuits. the attainment of that knowledge and cul- About this time he was married to a very ture on which he was so intent. As the result excellent woman, who aided him in his labors. of these humane efforts, he was removed His first work was a book of travels in the from the work-house to the position of sub- East. Soon he commenced his great work, librarian in the Plymouth Public Library. the “ Pictorial Bible,” in three volumes. Having triumphed over discouragements and His “ Pictorial History of Palestine and the difficulties which would have utterly disheart- Holy Land,” followed. Then another great ened a less brave and resolute spirit, he work, the “Cyclopædia of Biblical Literafound himself on the upward career of suc- ture,” was published in two very large volcessful literary culture and achievement.

Another work was the " Gallery of Two grand ideas now impressed and af- Scripture Engravings and Landscape,” in fected his mind, viz.: that he must make three volumes. Among his last productions himself, and that usefulness should be the may be mentioned the Daily Bible Illustraruling purpose in the prosecution of his lite- tions,” in two series of four volumes each, rary labors and attainments. The eventful designed for morning and evening reading. history of his life affords abundant evidence Other works, besides numerous contributions that these noble ideas were not theoretical to magazines, were among his literary proelements, but practical forces, the influence ductions. They have, as a whole, greatly of which was signally manifested in the enriched the department of Biblical Literastrength and affluence of a cultivated intel- ture, and been regarded as valuable helps in lect, and in the widely appreciated useful- the explanation and illustration of the Sacred ness resulting from his manifold and elabo- Scriptures. Their acknowledged value has rate contributions to the department of Bib- secured for them a wide circulation among lical learning. There were other elements Bible students in England and in our own of character which contributed to his mas-country. terly activity and signal success. These The religious change in the experience of were singleness of aim, thoroughness of exe- Dr. Kitto, which occurred at the age of cution, rigid system, personal independence, twenty-two, is referred to by him in a manand strong faith in God.

ner showing that it was deep and thorough. The friends of Kitto advised him to en- He speaks of it as the rising of " the daygage in the work of a printing-office, for the spring from on high" upon his soul, through purpose of qualifying himself to superintend the grace of God. a mission press. He did so, and in 1827 His intense and unremitting application to he received from the Church Missionary So- literary labors impaired his health, so that, ciety the appointment of lay missionary. In when fifty years of age, he was compelled to this capacity he sailed for the Island of Malta, suspend his labors, and resort to measures

umes.

xii

PREFACE TO THE REVISED EDITION,

for recruiting his overtasked constitution. I and irrelevant matter. As an humble conHe visited Germany for this purpose, but tribution to the department of Bible history, without any benefit. He rapidly declined, this work is offered to Christian readers, and and died at Cannstadt, near Stuttgard. especially to the young, with the prayer and His wife, who was with him, has furnished a the hope that it may not only contribute beautiful record of his last days, which shows something towards a popular and attractive that his end was peace.

illustration of the Historical Scriptures, but It has been the special care of the editor, create an increased interest in the sacred book in preparing this work, to verify references, given of God for the edification, enlightento review, and, in some instances, revise the ment, and spiritual benefit of all nations and marginal notes, and to eliminate doubtful | all ages.

A.

B.

PREFACE TO THE REVISED EDITION.

The extensive sale of the Illustrated His the department of Biblical Geography and tory of the Bible (over a hundred thousand Topography. From the fresh materials thus copies) has required the issue of so many supplied, such selections have been made as editions, that the type has become too much will impart to the work a more modern aspect. worn for further use. It has been decided, Appended to the first chapter will be therefore, that the future editions be printed found a supplemental article on the relation of from new and larger type. This arrange- Geology to the Mosaic record of the work ment has afforded opportunity for the editor of creation, prepared by Prof. C. H. HITCHto subject the work to a careful revision. In COCK, late of Amherst College. The main the text, but few changes have been judged body of the history has been thoroughly advisable; but many have been introduced compared with the third edition, published among the notes, some of which have been by the author in London. The sources from omitted, others abridged, and many new ones which was compiled the history of the midadded. In selecting the new notes, recourse dle period of the Jewish nation, from has been had to the London edition of Dr. Malachi to the advent of Christ, have been William Smith’s “ Dictionary of the Bible.” reviewed. The improvements in the work Other writers also have been consulted. As will, it is believed, enhance its value, and travellers and scholars have explored the render it still more worthy the favor Holy Land since Dr. Kitto wrote, new and and patronage it has so extensively received. valuable information has been acquired in AUGUST, 1868.

A. B.

NOTICE BY THE PUBLISHER.

To prevent any misapprehension which may arise from finding in the community an occasional copy of Dr. Kitto's work, it is due to the public to state that an edition was issued by an American publisher, under his own name, some time since.

The literary reputation of this publisher not being generally known, the work failed of attaining the extensive circulation which its intrinsic merits warrant.

The present publisher of this work has restored the author's name; and, as other improvements have been made by the editor, Dr. Bond, it is now offered in a new and much more attractive form.

HENRY BILL. NORWICH, CONN., August, 1868.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »