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To consider at length all the questions which the spirit of modern inquiry has raised concerning the books of the Old Testament -- their genuineness, integrity, date, chronology, and credibility; their relation to science, to profane history, to each other, and to the New Testament -- would far exceed the limits allowed by the plan of the present work. To the Pentateuch alone, or even a single book of it, as Genesis or Deuteronomy; to the books of Chronicles; to Isaiah or Daniel, a whole volume might be devoted without exhausting the subject. In the present Introduction to the books of the Old Testament, the aim has been to give the results of biblical research, ancient and modern, with a concise statement of the lines of argument employed, wherever this could be done without involving discussions intelligible only to those who are familiar with the original languages of Scripture and the ancient versions. For such discussions the biblical student is referred to the more extended Introductions which abound at the present day. The author has endeavored, first of all, to direct the reader's attention to the unity of Scripture. |Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.| The plan of Redemption is the very highest of these works, and it constitutes a gloriously perfect whole, gradually unfolding itself from age to age. The earliest revelations have reference to all that follow. The later revelations shed light on the earlier, and receive light from them in return. It is only when the Scriptures are thus studied as a whole, that any one part of them can be truly comprehended. The effort has accordingly been made to show the relation of the Old Testament, considered as a whole, to the New; then, the relation of the several great divisions of the Old Testament -- the law, the historical books, the prophets, the poetical books -- to each other, and the place which each holds in the system of revelation; and finally, the office of each particular book, with such notices of its authorship, date, general plan, and contents, as will prepare the reader to study it intelligently and profitably. To all who would have a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the New Testament, the diligent study of the preparatory revelation contained in the Old, is earnestly commended. The present Introduction will be followed by one to the New Testament on the same general plan. It is hardly necessary to add that for much of the materials employed, in these two parts, particularly what relates to ancient manuscripts, the author is dependent on the statements of those who have had the opportunity of making original investigations.