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in gaining possession of the lands of their enemies, under the guidance of their new leader; who, in the same manner as Moses, was assisted by the providence of God in conducting their affairs. This is shewn upon two remarkable occasions, wherein the Almighty interposed in their favour : once when the walls of Jericho were thrown down by the blast of their trumpets, to adnit them into that city; and again, when the light was miraculously prolonged upon Gibeon, until they had destroyed their enemies ; by Divine aid bestowed in a most extraordinary manner on that occasion.
According to the example of Moses, Joshua, when old and stricken in years, assembled the people together; he rehearsed to them God's great mercies, and made a solemn covenant, or agreement, that they should obey all his commandments, which he recorded in the book of the Law before his death ; a notice of which event is added at the conclusion of the last chapter.
The history is continued in the Book of Judges, who were rulers of the Israelites, twelve of whom in succession governed them, after the decease of Joshua ; though an interval occurred before their government began, during which they fell into great wickedness; for which they were severely punished; God allowing their enemies considerable success against them : they suffered also by violent struggles amongst themselves. This book takes in a period of upwards of 300 years,
The Book of Ruth, which next follows, contains the history of a remarkable person who lived in those times. She was not an Israelite, though an ancestor of King David, and therefore of that samily from which our blessed Saviour afterwards descended.
The regular history is continued in the Book of Samuel, who was the last of the twelve. Judges of Israel already mentioned, and who is supposed to have written the two preceding books of Judges and Ruth. The people becoming dissatisfied at the form of government they enjoyed, and demanding a king to rule them like cther nations, Samuel by Divine command appointed Saul to be their king, who possessed the throne of Israel for forty years. But Saul displeased the Lord, who therefore caused the government to pass to King David; to whom he shewed peculiar tokens of his favour, and inspired him with the power of foretelling future events, in a most distinguished manner.
As the death of Samuel is told in the 25th chapter of the First Book bearing his name, it is supposed that the remainder was the work of the prophets Nathan and Gad, who are mentioned as inspired historians in the Book of Chronicles.
The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel opens with an account of the death of King David, and the succession of Solomon his son to the throne. The building of the Great Temple at Jerusalem, which he erected by the command of God, is ninutely described, with other acts of his reign. The prophecies of Elijah and Elisha, and other inspired persons, who were made the ministers of God to his chosen people, are also nientioned in these books; and the reigns of those kings who severally filled the throne from the time of Solomon until the end of the sovereignty, are also recounted. The history contained in the two Books of Kings extends to a period of upwards of 400 years.
In order to prevent confusion, it is proper to mention in this place, that Abraham, being of the family of Heber, the fifth from Noah, his descendants had obtained the name of Hebrews. Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, was peculiarly distinguished by the Die vine favour, and received from God the name of Israel, when he renewed to him the promise of making a great nation of his family, who from thenceforward were called Israelites.
On the death of Solomon, and the accession of his son Rehoboam to the throne, ten of the twelve tribes of Israel rebelled from his weak government, and chose another king ; but the tribes of Judah and Benjamin yet remained faithful to their former sovereign.
The Israelites however having fallen into great wickedness and disobedience to God, upwards of 250 years after this separation from Judah, were signally punished for their ingratitude, in the conquest and total destruction of their kingdom by the Assyriaus; being led away into captivity by Salmaneser, the King of that country.
The tribe of Judah also in like manner fell under the displeasure of the Almighty, more than 100 years after, being conquered by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Chaldea; who carried off their wicked king Zedekiah, the last of their sovereigns, in chains to Babylon; ransacked the city of Jerusalem; destroyed the celebrated Temple of Solomon ; plundered the treasures, and led away the greatest part of the people into slavery. Thus did the chosen people of God receive the reward of their continued wickedness and ingratitude to their Almighty Benefactor; who had preserved them as a distinct people for 900 years, from the period when he first separated them from the rest of mankind.
The Book of Chronicles must not be confounded with the Chroni. cles of the Kings of Israel, so often referred to in other books of Scripture ; by which were meant the National Records of the Israelites, kept by Divine command from the time of Moses. From these it is supposed the Prophet Ezra drew up the Book of Chronicles that we now have iu our Bible; which, in the ancient translation of the Old Testament, was entitled, the Book of Kings omitted jo the foregoing. It contains an exact statement of the generations, from Adam to King David, and a particular account of the several tribes of Israel.
The Book of Ezra informs us that Cyrus, King of Persia, who had overturned the empire of Babylon, after that the people had been seventy years in slavery, according to the prediction of Isaiah, made a decree, by which he restored them to their city and possessions. The Prophet Ezra became afterwards their governor, and re-established their Laws and Religion; they rebuilt the Teinple upon the foundation of that of Solomon which had been destroyed ; Cyrus restoring many of the treasures taken away by Nebuchadnezzar.
A very small number of the Israelites seem to hare returned with those of the kingdom of Judah, who had so long continued at Babylon ; and therefore the people thus restored, received the common name of Judæans, or Jews, which they have ever since continued to bear.
Nehemiah succeeded Ezra in the government of Judæa, under the authority of the Kings of Persia ; and the people, at length made sensible of their great wickedness and ingratitude to the Almighty, were brought through his care and regulations to a thorough reformation, for ever abondoning their former inclination to the worship of: images. They are related in the Book of Nehemiah to have made offerings and atonements for their past sins ; and from that time forward became as remarkable for their rigid attachment to their Religion, as before they had been unmindful of it. This book being the latest of the historical writings of the Old Testament, brings down the sacred history to about 400 years before Christ.
The Book of Esther contains the history of a female captive of the Jewish nation, supposed to be written by Ezra ; who, through her influence with King Ahasuerus, (who had raised her to the throne. of Persia,) prevented an universal massacre of her countrymen, planned by Haman, the wicked Minister of tbat Monarch. This remarkable deliverance was observed as a solemn festival among the Jews in aftertimes, and called the feast of Purim.
The Book of Job delivers to us an account of a person eminent for piety, whom God permitted the Evil Spirit to tempt from his obedience; in which, amidst the severest trials, he steadily perseTered ; and it concludes with his being restored to the highest prosperity, as a temporal reward for his distinguished virtue. This very ancient book is supposed to have been written in the time of Moses. In the 19th chapter we find a most remarkable prophecy of Christ's coming to judgment; which has been judiciously inserted in our funeral service. The sublimity of thought and language in which the whole story is conveyed, has excited universal admiration ; and it moreover affords to us a most illustrious example of patience, humility, and piety, under all the sore afflictions which were heaped
upon his head.
The Psalms, which come next under our examivation, though generally called the Psalms of Dayid, are not all composed by that Monarch ; about one half of them being considered the work of other inspired persons.* They contain many remarkable prophecies respecting Christ ; predicting the peculiar circumstances of his birth, death, and resurrection,
The Proverbs of Solomon, and the Book of Ecclesiastes, (or the Preacher,) contain a most valuable and extensive collection of the visest maxims for the instruction of mankind; greatly excelling any others which have been preserved to us through ancient times. A great proportion of them were undoubtedly composed by that wspired Monarcli ; who, as the Seriptures inform us, was the wisest man of his time, and distinguished by the peculiar favour of God.
* The 49th is supposed to be Solomon's; the 137th during the Babylonian captivity; soine greatly before the time of David ; some even by Moses.
- The Song of Solomon, which follows the two books last mentioned, is an hymn of praise and thanksgiving to the Deity; composed on the occasion of his marriage with the daughter of Pharaoh, King of Egypt. In this song of praise, Solomon compares his bride to the future Church of Christ, which it had been revealed to him should in aftertimes be established. The mind of that man must be wretchedly depraved who finds occasion for ridicule in reading this very ancient writing, or who endeavours to deride those prophetical expressions which have an immediate reference to our Sacred Religion. The language abounds indeed in images and allusions onusual in this country. In reading this book we must therefore bear in mind, that the style of writing in all Eastern nations was necessarily very different from ours, although to this day the same peculiar manner of writing is practised in those countries.
Having thus completed our short review of the historical writings of the Old Testament, we postpone for the present our examination of the books of prophery contained in that holy volume.
Our readers must be prepared to meet with many obstacles still, which want of learning does not permit them entirely to overcome ; but an earnest endeavour to understand such things as are not difficult will get the better of many difficulties that at first sight may appear incapable of explanation.
In the Sacred Ilistory a few things are misplaced, owing to the mistakes of those employed in translating them from the Hebrew tongue, or in copying them from the older writings. Some short sentences have likewise been introduced, which were probably written by later writers on the margin of the pages, and afterwards put into the body of the work. The names of some few places have been altered by them, which in the long course of time had lost their ancient title. In desc ibing the condition of old cities and places, it is frequently said, as it is at this day ;'-which is another of those additions made by later copiers.
We find an account of the kings of Edom in the 36th chapter of Genesis, which could not possibly be written by Moses, but must have been put in by some person long after that time, as the kingdom of Edom was not then founded ; which is an example of those tritling additions I bave just mentioned. It may appear remarkable, that Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and others, who were the authors of those books which bear their names, should speak of their own acts is though they were not performed by the person who tells them. But this was the manner of writing in ancient times, and is still practised in India, Persia, and other Eastern nations.
These circumstances are mentioned, lest they might otherwise pers plex our humbler readers ; and because they have been absurdly objected to the truth of the Sacred History, by persons who either through ignorance or mischief have endeavoured to lessen the credit of Sacred History.
EDITOR.L. SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF RICHARD HOOKER:
In naming Richard Ilooker, we more than sufficiently bespeak the attention of those who are acquainted with his character and lifethey will be certain that it is impossible to write of him without interesting the reader; and to those who are not familiar with the name, but who love the memory of honest and good men who by their lives have glorified their God, to such we trust we shall be doing an act of kindness in bringing them acquainted with his virtues. It is not our object to describe him as the zealous divine, the author of works which must last so long as the love of Christian learning shall endure, because such a description would demand an entire book rather than some few pages of a publication like the
present. That which we more especially love to look upon is, that invaluable character of primitive simplicity and Christian piety which he preserved to the last hour of his life, and which we propose to extract from Isaac Walton, without altering the plain yet forcible language of that faithful and honest biographer.
Richard Hooker was born at Exeter, in the year of our Redemption one thousand five hundred fifty and three, of parents that were not so remarkable for their extraction or riches, as for their virtue and industry, and God's blessing upon both. Whilst yet a boy, his school-master made so good a report of his meekness, his modesty, and the quickness of his apprehension, that these excellent parents abandoned their first design of apprenticing him to some trade, and the good school-master . promised them that he would double his diligence in instructing him, and would neither expect nor receive any other reward than the content of so happy and hopeful an employment. All parties were so pleased with this proposal, that it was resolved so it should be; and in the meantime his parents and master laid a foundation for his future happiness, by instilling into his soul the seeds of piety, those conscientious principles of loving and fearing God-of an early belief that he knows the very secrets of our souls—that he punisheth our vices, and rewards our inno-cence that we should be free from hypocrisy, and appear to man what we are to God, because first or lust the crafty man is catched in his own snare. These seeds of piety were so seasonably planted, and so continually watered with the daily dew of God's blessed Spirit, that his infant virtues grew into such holy habits as did make him grow daily into more and more favour both with God and man, which, with the great learning that he did attain to, hath made him honoured in this, and will continue him to be so to succeeding generations. His good schoolmaster prevailed at length with his uncle to make an application in favour of his nephew to the learned John Jewel, after bishop of Salisbury, who, after some questions and observations of the boy's learning and gravity, promised to take him into his care for future preferment, and procured him, for the present, a situation at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. It was no small