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THE first portion of this book concludes the Prose Lessons of the Series. It supplies miscellaneous information illustrating Bible History, which would have interrupted the narrative if placed in its strict historical position, but will elucidate many expressions and customs in ancient Eastern life that differ from
The remainder of the book consists of selections from Sacred Poetry, intended to furnish (with those minor pieces interspersed throughout the Series) a fairly complete representation of the best standard works of this branch of sacred literature in modern times. The arrangement follows that of the order of events in the Bible, as the titles of the pieces will show.
Many of the poems have been selected with a view to recitation; and but few of them have been hitherto published in books of this class, for which they seem to be specially adapted.
The Editor's thanks are due to those Authors and Publishers by whose kind courtesy he is able to use them for that instructive purpose for which they are so admirably suited.
JAMES RIDGWAY, B.D., F.S.A.
THE VOICE OF NATURE,-God in Nature, Cowper,
VISIT TO RAMAH, THE HOME OF SAMUEL.
THE mountains of Palestine were the portion of the promised land first given to the Israelites for a possession, and they occupied these long before the sea-plain of the Mediterranean and the great inland valley of Esdraelon were subjected to their power.
The "lords of the Philistines" had grown into strength and riches upon the coast; and the Canaanites of the great valley, with their 900 chariots of iron, knew well how to defend themselves in battle, so that it could be truly said of Israel in those days, that she dwelt in the midst of her enemies; but she had a command from her God with regard to them, and a promise to sustain her in the performance of it.
The Philistines and Canaanites were only two branches of the same nation. They were atheists-i.e., disbelievers in any God, except such as they saw around them. They believed that all things were produced out of the land and the sea and the heaven. That these were eternal, and the earth produced everything, under the influence of the sun and moon. Theirs was a worship of nature, and they did not believe in a Creator, or any Spirit, or revelation, or miracle.
Abraham did believe in a Creator, and in revelation, so God sent him amongst these Canaanites to teach them better; and afterwards, he schooled the Israelites in Egypt to a higher faith, and sent them to Canaan to set up a revealed religion. At that time these Canaanites were too bad to learn better; so God gave Moses and the children of Israel a command about them.