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THREE years having elapsed since the following Translation was announced as in the press, the Editor feels himself called upon to account for the extraordinary delay which has taken place in regard to the publication. For the greater facility of correcting the proof-sheets, he was at the first desirous of printing the work in the town where he resides ; but, after much time being wasted in fruitless endeavours to accomplish this object, he was compelled to carry the manuscript to Edinburgh. On consulting with a respectable printer there, he found that, the distance at which he resided from Edinburgh being too great to admit of his seeing the proofs more than once, it would be necessary to have an assistant on the spot, whom the printer might consult, if any difficulties occurred, and who might revise the sheets as they were thrown off, after their
first correction. For this purpose, he applied to Dr. Moodie, at that time Professor of Hebrew and Oriental Languages in the University, who readily undertook the office. The press was then set to work. But before the second sheet came from it, Dr. Moodie was suddenly seized with illness, and died. Some months elapsed before the vacant Professorship was filled up. But, upon the late learned Dr. Murray's appointment, the Editor wrote to that gentleman on the subject of the following work, who also consented, upon his taking up his residence in Edinburgh, to assist in the task of correction. But to the great loss of oriental literature, Dr. Murray just lived to enter on the duties of his office as Professor, and no more.
Two years had now worn away without any progress having been made, when the Rev. D. Dickson, one of the ministers of St. Cuthbert's, Edinburgh, and an accomplished Hebrew scholar, offered his assistance, and, to save the time that would have been expended by transmitting the proofs to and from Dundee, kindly undertook the sole correction of them. Under his single revision, therefore, the two volumes have been printed; and the Editor's gratitude is due to Mr. Dickson, not only for the unremitting care
and attention with which he has executed his laborious office, but also for several useful hints suggested by him during their progress through the press, and particularly for the proper indexes which have been furnished by him, and render the work more complete.
The causes of delay having been stated, the Editor begs leave to say, with respect to the Work itself, that he does not conceive it to have been his Father's intention to furnish a translation to supersede the use of the public one in the service of the Church. Indeed, the reader will, in the following pages, find several of the Psalms, on which the Bishop has written either critical or explanatory notes, (sometimes both), but of which he has given no translation; in which instances, it seems reasonable to conclude that he approved of the one in use. The Work seems to have been intended for the edification of the Christian reader in his closet; the Translation being such, as, with the Notes, may form a perpetual comment on the text.
The Psalms, being all poems, and the original composition of them in the metrical form, the Bishop hath adhered to the hemistichal division; and the Translation, in most parts, is so close, as to exhibit to the English reader the structure of the Original. The Translation is accompanied with Notes explanatory and critical. The Explanatory Notes accompany the Text, being given at the bottom of the page, and the reference to these is by the usual typographical marks. The Critical Notes are placed at the end of the respective volumes, and the reference to these is by the capitals of the Roman alphabet.
It is much to be lamented that the Author left behind him no introductory chapter or prefatory essay to the Translation, explanatory of his scheme of exposition, and furnishing a general commentary upon the whole book. This deficiency, however, the Editor thinks he can in part supply, by subjoining an extract from a sermon of the Bishop's, on the 1st verse of the second Psalm, which appears to have been first written and preached in the winter of 1798. The chief purport of this discourse is to expound the prophetical passages of the Psalm from which the text is taken, and to apply them to the transactions of the times. But it is opened with some observations on the nature and design of the Book of Psalms in general, and these observations, the Editor thinks, will not be out of their place here. To the extract is added a classification of the Psalms,