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District of Massachusetts, to wit :
DISTRICT CLERK'S OFFICE. BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the sixteenth day of De& Seal, Şcember, A. D. 1813, and in the thirty eighth year of the u n independence of the United States of America, J. A. Cum.
"MINGS of the said district has deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as author, in the words following, to wit: "The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. With an Introduction giving an account of Jewish and other sects; with Notes illustrating obscure passages, and explaining obsolete words and phrases; for the use of schools, academies, and private families. By J.A. CUMMINGS, author of ancient and modern geography."
In conformity to an act of the congress of the United States, entitled, “ An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned;" and also to an act entitled, “ An act supplementary to an act, entitled, an act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned; and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints.”
W. S. SHAW. Clerk of the district
It is much to be lamented, that the New Testament is not more generally used in our schools. There is no book better adapted to the improvement of youth. The style, for the most part, is plain and easy; and there is almost every variety in its composition ; simple narrative, interesting and judicious parables, strong and convincing reasoning, and the most ardent and persuasive eloquence ; and the subjects, of which it treats, are the most important, that the imagination can conceive; no less than life, death, and eternity; the knowledge and love of God, and the redemption and salvation of inan. · It is said, children, who take their first lessons from the Bible, generally read with a disagreeable tone. If this be true, it is not to be attributed to the Bible, but to those employed to teach from it. No composition is better suited to form correct habits of reading, and to correct bad ones. Much of the New Testament approaches near to simple dialogue, in which the sentences are short, and the transition from one speaker to another, is frequent and abrupt.
The interest of the narratives no one will question. What child can read the history of our Saviour without wishing to read it again and again, hoping on every perusal, that the scene of his sorrows and death may be reversed, and that the innocent sufferer may escape from the hands of his relentless persecutors ? What child can read the parable of the prodigal, without dropping a tear at the affectionate embrace of the father and son ? And who can read
the reasoning and eloquence of St. Paul, without trembling with Felix, and being almost persuaded with him to become a Christian? Who can read and reflect on the sublime truths of Christianity-man estranged by sin from his Maker, and under sentence of death—God manifest in the flesh, and through the merits and death of Jesus Christ, offering pardon—the assurance of a resurrection—the general judgment—the award of the wicked to everlasting punishment, and of the righteous to the favour and enjoy-, ment of God who can read and refleet on these truths without feeling that concern in them, which will restrain from sin, and excite obedience, and the fear and love of God?
It may be said, these subjects are above the apprehension of children. This objection, if true, would prove too much; that the Scriptures are unfit for the perusal even of men; for who can fully understand the mysteries of godliness ? But enough is intelligible for our instruction in righteousness, and for our salvation, if we read with a humble and teachable disposition, yield a ready and sincere obedience to the truth, and repose all our hopes on the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ; and we can never begin too early to learn the doctrines of life, and the terms of our acceptance with God.
There is reason to fear, that children left to grow up in ignorance of the sacred Scriptures, rarely feel a disposition to commence the study of them in maturer years, when the follies and cares of life engross attention and fill the mind; and there is reason to believe, that the scriptures, in proportion as children are taught them, will have a corresponding influence on their future lives. We all know that the Spirit of God is necessary to renew the heart and form the Christian; but we are assured this divine aid will accompany every sincere, though humble exertion.
That many things in the sacred volume are hard to be understood, is readily granted; but that many of these are
so, is in a great measure owing to words and phrases becoming obscure by the improvement of our 'own language, since the Bible was translated, and to our ignorance of the manners and customs of the age, in which it was written. To remove in some measure these obscurities, and thus render the Scriptures more suitable for the use of schools, and for the instruction of private families, is the object of this edition of the New Testament; in which are given a concise account of the Jewish and other sects, the moral state of the heathen world at the time our Saviour visited it, prefatory remarks to each book and epistle, and short notes and illustrations. At the end are subjoined tables of the offices and conditions of men, of weights and measures, and the pronunciation and accent of difficult words according to the best authorities.
In executing this work the following authors have been consulted, and their language freely used, viz. Clarke and Pyle, Doddridge, Campbell, Macknight, Porteus, Scott, Adams, Percy, &e.
It is not presumed this work will meet the approbation of all. Some will wish more had been done, others will regret there is so much. The design is to benefit common readers, not the learned and critical; and should some obseure passages be left unnoticed, it should be remembered, that no comment is better, than a doubtful exposition:
It is recommended that parents and teachers require their children and pupils to commit the notes, especially the short ones, to memory, and to study the Jewish and other sects so as to give a correct account of them.
Should this attempt to render the New Testament more intelligible and useful to children and common readers, prove successful, it will more than compensate for all the time and labour in the execution.
Of the Jewish and other sects mentioned or alluded to in
the New Testament. The word sect signifies a party, which is distinguished by some particular tenets, or articles of belief.
There was among the Jews in the time of our Saviour a variety of sects; but the principal were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenees. The Scribes, though not a distinct sect, yet from being so often mentioned in the New Testament, deserve to be noticed.
Beside these there were other sects of less importance ; as the Herodians, the Gaulonites, and the Nazarenes of Jewish origin; the Gnostics, the Nicolaitans, the Cerinthians, &c. whose opinions were composed of the extravagant conjectures of heathen philosophers and Christian heresies.
T'he sect of the Pharisees arose about one hundred and fifty years before our Saviour. They believed the inmortality of the soul, the resurrection and future reward of the righteous, whom they supposed to be Jews only ; but that there was no resurrection of the wicked, though their souls at death passed immediately into punishment. But what most distinguished the Pharisees was, a superstitious attachment to peculiarities of dress, food, and religious ceremonies. They affected a most profound regard to the law of God, and the sacred books; but they explained away their meaning, so as to make them conform to the traditions of the elders or ancients. This incumbered their religion with innumerable trifling forms and observances, such as frequent washings, fastings, praying aloud in the most public turnings or corners of the streets, an affected gravity of dress, gesture, and mortified looks, scrupulous tithings of all manner of herbs, their building the tombs of the prophets, to make themselves appear more righteous than their fathers, who killed them, and their over scrupulous obseryance of the Sabbath, even to the exclusion of works of charity and mercy. All these our Saviour told them they did to be seen of men ; while under the cloak of religion, they were in reality most notorious hypocrites, guilty of cruelty, injustice, oppression, extortion, and all manner of