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As has been stated from the beginning, the annotated text represents many minds and much learning. Before a line of the work was published this was part of the scheme which I set myself to work out, as will be seen on reference to the original and succeeding prospectuses. Again and again this has also been acknowledged in the volumes which have been issued.
I now thank publishers and authors who have at my request generously sent me their works to be used for the purpose of such annotations; and I especially record my obligations for such works as “The Speaker's Commentary,” Ellicott's “Old and New Testament,” “The Bible Educator,” and Clarke's “Foreign Theological Library." I must also warmly recognise such works as those of Drs. Cheyne, Driver, Ginsburg, George Adam Smith, Robertson Smith, Samuel Green, and Archibald Duff. As the work is emphatically designed for the People, in accordance with its distinctive title, the rule in selecting the annotations has been to secure the utmost clearness and simplicity. This department of the work has been almost wholly executed by competent assistants, to whom I tender most cordial thanks.
FATHER in heaven, take not thy Holy Spirit from us. Take what thou wilt, but take not thy Holy Spirit from the human soul. We live and move and have our being in God; thou wilt not willingly cut us off. As thou livest, thou hast no pleasure in death; there is no death in God, there is no graveyard in heaven. God is life, God is light; in him is no death, in him is no darkness at all. We would therefore receive God into our hearts, and say, Abide with us, for without thee we cannot live. We know thee through Jesus Christ thy Son; he revealed the Father; from the bosom of the Father he came; he proceeded forth and came from God. We heard the eternity of God in his voice. It was no voice of man; it was no voice of earth; never man spake like this Man. He made even our words divine by using them. Now we call thee Father; thou art in heaven, and we are upon the earth, yet there is no distance between us; thy heaven holds our little earth. Thou carriest all things, thou Creator of all. Watch over our life, we pray thee, in the name of thy dear Son, and make it precious in thy sight; make us good men, sound of heart, bright of mind, obedient of will. Teach us that obedience is greatness; show us that only true suffering truly borne is heroic; teach us that not to have our own way is the best way. Thus by loss, or pain, or trial, or sevenfold night, bring us into obedience. We pray for those who are sorely afflicted. How great is the darkness of God; how terrible are thy judgments when they come near to us! We pray for those whose house is desolated, whose firstborn lie dead. Thou knowest all the pain, the heartache, the blinding tear, the overwhelming sorrow, the sense of loss unutterable; now let them find the balm that is in Gilead, and fall upon the Physician that is there with all the trust of their love. Thou dost trouble this little world with great sorrows; sometimes the grief seems larger than the life itself, sometimes it is an overflowing water. The grace of God is sufficient for us all, but we cannot always seize it and apply it as we might do. Thou knowest our frame, thou rememberest that we are dust; thou wilt not plead against us with thy great power. But having shown us great and sore distresses, thou wilt comfort us again with unexpected solaces. Guide us during the few remaining days; for our days are but a handful at the best; give us the spirit of consideration; give us the sound large judgment that weighs things in the right scales; save us from making fools of ourselves by wasting what little daylight there is. Keep us VOL. XVIJ.
steadfast in the faith of the Cross of Christ. We nerd that Cross when our grief is keen, when our eyes are blind with tears, and when our choicest friend says he can do no more for us: then, Jesus, Refuge of my soul, may I find thee indeed an eternal Sanctuary! Hear the poor soul that says this, and give it answers from the Cross and replies from heaven. Amen.
HOSEA REVISED. OME persons were afraid that the Revision Companies would take the Bible
A Bible that can be taken away is not worth keeping. A God that can be stolen is a poor Lord to have dominion over any human soul. Take the Book of Hosea after the Revisers have had it under careful revision. Many passages are altered verbally ; yet the alteration has only been like making an opening for a larger window. A house is none the worse for having more light in it. What we should ask for about every book is the truth. We do not want words we have been accustomed to if they are not true. We may be sorry to surrender them; they have come to be part of our very breathing; yet if they are not true they must go. Always draw a vital line between superstition and religion; between prejudice and true judgment. The conservatism that would keep an error is a blasphemy against the spirit of truth and progress. In the Book of Hosea we may see some striking instances of change in the word without seeing any real change in the inner and divine thought. Let us proceed to illustrate this :
“And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel” (ii. 21, 22).
What does that mean? It means nothing as it stands. He is doing a useless work who tries to force it into meaning. Better confess that we are bewildered by these bold personifications. The image is graphic; but who can interpret the speech ? The Revisers change the word “hear” into the word answer"; then the prosopopeia runs thus: And it shall come to pass in that day, that the heavens will ask me to give their rain to the earth, and I will answer the heavens; and the earth will ask the heavens to give it rain, and the heavens will answer the earth; and the things that are in the earth will ask the earth to grow them to give them power such as it may possess of reproductiveness; and the earth shall hear every praying root that is hid in