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m> of the foregoing history, with zealous eslat. ) ms to the people, faithfully to worship and obey "
God, who had worked such amazing wonders hem: he promises them the noblest temporal A ings, if they should prove obedient; and adds most awful and striking denunciations agaiast -, should they rebel against, or forsake the true
are before observed, that the sanctions of the hic law were, temporal rewards and panish cs; those of the New Testament are eternal; e last, as they are so iufinitely more forcible
the first, were reserved for the last, best git ankind; and were revealed by the Messiah, ia fullest and clearest manuer:-Moses, in this , directs the method in which the Israelites to deal with the seven nations, whom thes appointed to punish for their profligacy and try; and whose land they were to possess they had driven out the old inhabitants. Re them excellent laws, civil as well as religious, 1 were, erer after, the standing municipal laws It people.This book concludes with Moses's and death.
servedly brought destrnction on them : this example, therefore, cannot be pleaded in behalf of cruelty, or bring any imputation on the character of the Jews.
With regard to other cities, which did not belong to these seven nations, they were directed to deal with tliem, according to the common law of arms at that time. If the city submitted, it became tributary, and the people were spared; if it resisted, the men were to be slain, but the womed and children saved*. Yet, though the crime of cruelly cannot be justly laid to their charge on this occasion, you will observe in the course of their history, mapy things recorded of them very diffe. rent from what you would expect from the chosen people of God, if you supposed them selected on account of their own merit: theic national character was by no means amiable; and we are repeatedly told that they were not chosen for their superior righteousness :- " for, they were a stiffnecked “ people, and provoked the Lord with their re“bellions from the day they lest Egypt.”—“ You “ have been rebellious against the Lord,” says Moses, " from the day that I knew yout."-And he vehemently exhorts them, not to flatter themselves that their success was, in any degree, owing to their own merits. They were appointed to be the scourge of other nations, whose crimes rendered them fit objects of Divine chastisement. For the sake of righteous Abraham, their founder, and per. haps for inany other wise reasons, undiscovered to us, they were selected from a world over-run with idolatry, to preserve upon earth the pure worship of the One only God, and to be honoured with the birth of the Messiah amongst them. For this end, they were precluded by Divine command, from mixing with any other people, and defended, by a great number of peculiar rites and observances, froin falling into the corrupt worship practised by their neighbours.
book of JOSHUA contains the conquests of raelites over the seren natious, and their sment in the Promised Land-Their treal f these conquered natioas may appear to your ruel and unjust, if you consider it as their it, unauthorized by a positive command: y had the most absolute injunctions, not to tese corrupt people;--" to make no corensat hein, nor shew mercy to them, but utterly stroy them." And the reason is giren ley should turn away the Israelites from ng the Lord, that they might serve other
The children of Israel are to be consi. instruments in the hand of the Lord, to ose whose idolatry and wickedness had de
The chte in the hand ickedness bado
The book of JUDGES, in which you will find thio affecting stories of Samson and of Jephtha, carries on the history from the death of Joshua, about two hundred and fifty years: but, the facts are not told in the times in which they happened; which makes some confusion; and, it will be necessary to consult the marginal dates and notes, as well as the index, in order to get any clear idea of the succes. sion of events during that period.
The history then proceeds regularly through the two books of SAMUEL, and those of KINGS. Nothing can be more interesting and entertaining than the reigns of Saul, David, and Solomon: but, after the death of Solomon, when ten tribes re. volted from his son Rehoboam, and became a separate kingdom, you will find some difficulty in understanding distinctly the histories of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah, which are blended together, and, by the likeness of the names, and other particulars, will be apt to copfound your mind, without great attention to the different threads thu's carried on together: the Index here will be of great use to you.--The Second Book of Kings concludes with the Babylonish captivity, 588 years before Christ; till which time, the king. dom of Judea had descended uninterruptedly in the line of David.
The first book of CHRONICLES begins with a genealogy from Adam, through all the tribes of Israel and Judah : and the remainder is the same history which is contained in the hooks of Kings, with little or no variation, till the separation of the ten tribes: from that period it proceeds with the history of the kingdom of Judah alone, and gives therefore a more regular and clear account of the affairs of Judah than the book of Kings. You may pass over the first book of Chronicles, and the nine first chapters of the second book : but, by all meaus read the remaining chapters, as they will give you more clear and distinct ideas of the history
from Jo standing Tealits
of Judah than that you read in the second book of. Kings. The second of Chronicles ends, like the secood of Kings, with the Babylonish captivity,
16 ON THE STUDY OP
The book of JUDGES, in which you will find this affecting stories of Samson and of Jephtha, carries on the history from the death of Joshua, about two hundred and fifty years: but, the facts are not told in the times in which theg happened ; which makes soine confusion; and, it will be necessary to romsult the marginal dates and notes, as well as the index, iu order to get any clear idea of the succes sion of events during that period.
You must pursue the history in the book of EZRA, which gives an account of the return of some of the Jews, on the edict of Cyrus, and of the rebuilding the Lord's temple.
NEHEMIAH carries on the history, for about twelve years, when he himself was governor of Jerusalein, with authority to rebuild the walls, &c.
The story of ESTHER is prior in time to that of Ezra and Nehemiah; as you will see by the margina! dates: however, as it happened during the seventy years' captivity, and is a kind of episode, it Biay be read in its own place
This is the last of the canonical books that is pro. perly historical: and I would therefore advise, that you pass over what follows, till you have continued the history through the apocryphal books.
The history then proceeds regularly through the two books of SAMUEL, and those of KINGSNothing can be more interesting and entertaining than the reigns of Saul, Dasid, and Solomon; bet, after the death of Solomon, when ten tribes spo rolted from his son Rehoboam, and became a sepa. rate kingdom, you will find soine difficulty in understanding distinctly the histories of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah, which are blended together, and, by the likeness of the names, and other particulars, will be apt to copfound your mind, without great attention to the difiereat threads thu's carried on together: the lodex hert will be of great use to you.The Second Book of Kings concludes witi the Babylonish captivity, 388 years before Christ; till which time, the kiar. dom of Judea had descended uninterruptedly is the line of David.
The history of JOB is probably very ancient, though that is a point upon which learned men have differed: it is dated, however, 1520 years before Christ: I believe it is uncertain by whom it was written: many parts of it are obscure, but it is well worth studying, for the extreme beauty of the poetry, and for the noble and sublime devotion it contains - The subject of the dispute, between Job and his pretended friends, seems to be, whether the Providence of God distributes the rewards and punishments of this life, in exact proportion to the merit or demerit of each individual. His antagonists suppose that it does; and therefore infer from Job's uncommon calamities, that, notwithstanding his apparent righteousness, he was in reality a grievous siuner: they aggravate his supposed guilt, by the imputation of hypocrisy, and call upon him to confess it, and to acknowledge the justice of his punishment. Job asserts his own in.
The first book of CHRONICLES begins with a
es thercrore a more regular and clear account of
more clear and distiuct ideas of the history
nocence and virtue in the most pathetic magner, yet docs not presume to accuse the Supreme Being of injustice, Elihu attempts to arbitrate the mat. ter, by alleging the impossibility that so frail and ignorant a creature as man, should comprehend the ways of the Almighty, add, therefore, condemns tlie unjust and cruel infercoce the three friends had drawn from the sufferings of Job. He also blames Job for the presumption of acquitting himself of all iniquity, since the best of men are not pure in the sight of God, but all have something to repent of; and he advises him to make this use of his afflic. tions. At last, by a bold figure of poetry, the Supreme Being is himself introduced, speaking from the whirlwind, and silencivg them all by the inost sublime display of his own power, magnificence, and wisdom, and of the comparative littleness and ignorance of man. This indeed is the only conclusion of the argument which could be drawn, at a time, when life and immortality were not get brought to light. A future retribution is the only satisfactory solution of the difficulty arising from the sufferings of good people in this life.
Next follow, the PSALMS; with which you cannot be too conversant. If you have any taste, either for poetry or devotion, they will be your dolight, and will afford you a continual feast. The Bible translation is far better than that used in the Common Prayer Book; and will often give you the sense, when the other is obscure. In this, as well as in all other parts of the Scripture, you must be careful always to consult the margin, which gives you the corrections made since the last translation, and is generally preferable to the words of the text. I would wish you to select some of the Psalms that please you hest, and get them by heart; or, at least, make yoursc)f mistress of the senti. ments contained in them: Dr. Delany's Life of Da. vid, will shew you the occasions on which several of them were composed, which add much to their beauty and propriety; and, by comparing them
ence and virtue in the most pathetic manner
justice. Elihu attempts to arbitrate the nato
of the Almighty, aod, therefore, condemns the at and cruel inference the three friends hed
for the presumption of acquitting himseli of all aity, since the best of men are not pure in the
of Gout --but all bare something to repeat of; he advises him to make this use of his aftlic 3. At last, by a bold figure of poetry, the reme Being is bimself introduced, speaking
the whirlwind, and silencing them all by the - sublime display of his own power, magnif. e, and wisdom, and of the comparative litter and ignorance of man.-This indeed is the only usion of the argument which could be drawa, time, when life and immortality were not set sht to light. A future retribution is the only actory solution of the difficulty arising from ifferings of good people in this life. ,
with the events of David's life, you will greatly en. liance your pleasure in them, Never did the spirit of true piety breathe more strongly than in these divine songs; which, being added to a rich vein of poetry, makes them more captivating to my heart and imagination than any thing I ever read. You will consider how great disadvantages any poems must sustain from being rendered literally into prose, and then imagine how beautiful these must be in the original. May you be enabled, by reading them frequently, to transfuse into your own breast that holy fame which inspired the writer !--To delight in the Lord, and in his laws, like the Psalmist,
to rejoice in him always, and to think “one day " in his courts better than a thousand !"-But, may you escape the heart-piercing sorrow of such repentance as that of David, -by avoiding sin, which huinbled this unhappy king to the dust,--and which cost him such bitter anguish, as it is impossible to read of without being moved ! Not all the pleasures of the most prosperous sinner could coun. terbalance the hundredth part of those sensations described in his Penitential Psalms ;-and which must be the portion of every man, who has fallen from a religious state isto such crimes, when once he recovers a sense of religion and virtue, and is brought to a real hatred of sin : however available. such repentance may be to the safety and happiness of the soul after death, it is a state of such exquisite suffering here, that one cannot be crough surprized at the folly of those who indulge in sin, with the hope of living to make their peace with God by repentance. Hapry are they who preserve their innocence unsullied by any great or wilful crimes, and who have only the common failings of humanity to repent of; these are sufficiently morti. fying to a heart deeply smitten with the love of virtue, and with the desire of perfection. There are many very striking prophecies of the Messiah, in these divine songs; particularly in Psalm xxii. such may be found scattered up and down almost throughout the Old Testament. To bear testimony
and will alis far better will often give as well
alwaystions made sis to the words of due !
it follow, the PSALMS; with which you
be too conversabt. If you have any taste, for poetry or devotion, they will be your do and will afford you a continual feast. The ranslation is far better than that used in the in Prayer Book; and will often give you the when the other is obscure. In this, as well I other parts of the Scripture, you must be always to consult the margis, which giver
corrections made since the last translation,
would wish you to select some of the