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ALL SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD, AND IS PROFITABLE FOR DOCTRINE, FOR REPROOF, FOR CORRECTION, FOR INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS: THAT THE MAN OF GOD MAY BE PERFECT, THOROUGHLY FURNISHED UNTO ALL GOOD WORKS."
ALTHOUGH there can be little doubt that some
of the books of the New Testament, as for instance the Gospel according to St. Luke, and St. Paul's own Epistles, were written when he thus expressed himself to his disciple Timothy, it is nevertheless clear from the foregoing words of the apostle, that the holy Scriptures which he had in view were those of the Old Testament, being those only which it was possible that Timothy* could have known from a child. His object in pronouncing this high encomium upon the Hebrew Scriptures was, first, to set himself right
* 2 Tim. iii. 15-17.
in the minds of those believers of that nation, whom false accusers of the apostle might have led to think ill of him, as preaching a doctrine in all respects contrary to, and subversive of, their ancient faith; and, secondly, to render the teachers of Christianity aware how essentially necessary an accurate acquaintance with those Scriptures was to them in the performance of their work as evangelists, as well as in the discharge of their duties, as individuals, to God and man. We have therefore here St. Paul's deliberate assurance that, as an Article of our Church expresses it, "the Old Testament is not contrary to the New;" but that the two, originating in one common inspiration, combine together for one harmonious object: that the holy Scriptures which the Jews received were able to make them wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus; and to render the man of God, or christian teacher, perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Whatever then is here said in commendation of the Old Testament, is to be understood as said also of the New: both are given by inspiration of God; both are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness they are so in a high degree when considered separately, but in a still higher degree when taken together, throwing a mutual light upon each other, and affording an accordant testimony to God's wisdom and grace. Thus united, though consisting in fact of many books, written by different men in different ages of the world, and varying greatly as to the less important particulars of style and language, they form, when considered as to their prime Author-the Holy Spirit of God, and as to their main purposethe salvation of mankind through Christ Jesus, one single book deserving above all others, in consequence of the immense importance of its contents, the name of the Book, or as we are accustomed to
call it, from the Greek word of the same signification, the Bible; meaning thereby the whole written word of God, the complete collection of the Scriptures.
We then, who live in the days when inspiration and miracle are over; who see not the supernatural works of God, such as he performed in former times among his chosen people; who enjoy not the benefit of Christ's personal presence, as did his first disciples, instead of all such advantages, are in possession of the Bible and it is enough. If we read it carefully, perseveringly, with a spirit of humble submissiveness to the Church's teaching, and with earnest prayer, we shall be guided by his Spirit, who gave it us, into a knowledge of all needful truth, and shall derive from the perusal of its blessed pages all joy and peace in believing, and be enabled to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called. In the hope of contributing something towards an acquaintance with the contents of this holy book, I propose to lay before you in the succeeding lectures, as a continuous narration, the most important historical facts which it relates; directing your attention, as I proceed, to any remarkable doctrinal or moral uses arising out of them.* These facts I shall endeavour to arrange, not so much in the order in which its component parts present themselves in the sacred volume, as in that of the events which it records; and since in the execution of this purpose I shall be naturally led to dwell less upon any account of the books themselves, than upon the information which they afford us, it will perhaps not be unsuitable to offer, in this place, a few introductory remarks
The Lectures here published are confined to the history of the Old Testament. The author has prepared a similar course on that of the New Testament, the publication of which hereafter will depend upon the reception that his present attempt may meet with on the part of those for whose benefit it is intended.
upon those principal portions into which the Bible is divided. Its chief division is into the two Testaments, the Old and the New: the word Testament being understood to mean the same thing as Covenant, or Dispensation, implying not so much the existence of any legal contract, as an offer of something advantageous on the one part, and its acceptance on the other. The Old Testament comprises all the holy Scriptures written before the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ into the world; the New Testament, all those written after his coming. In applying the title of Old Testament to the former, we follow the example of St. Paul,* who has so called them in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians: they seem, however, to have been frequently considered by the Jews as divided into three great parts, known by the names of the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms; which distinction of them it may be recollected that our Lord himself sanctioned by his adoption, saying to his disciples, "These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me." There are, indeed, some passages of Scripture, in which "the Law" seems used as a general name for the whole Old Testament; but it is usually considered as comprising only those five books with which the Bible commences, and which were written by Moses, the man of God. The first of these, called Genesis, or Creation, gives, as its name implies, a history of the creation of the world, and of the events that took place during its earliest ages, up to the arrival of Jacob in Egypt. The second, called Exodus, or going forth, is so called because it relates the manner in which God, by the 2 Cor. iii. 14. + Luke xxiv. 44. John x. 34; xv. 25; 1 Cor. xiv. 21.
hand of Moses and of his brother Aaron, caused the children of Israel to go forth out of Egypt, after enduring much oppression under the tyranny of its king it contains also an account of the giving of the law from Mount Sinai, by God himself, to the people whom he had chosen, and recounts its most important commandments. The third book, entitled Leviticus, is filled with minute directions as to the service of the Jewish tabernacle, ordained to be performed only by the tribe of Levi. The fourth is called Numbers, because in it is to be found a statement of the numbering of the people, during their stay in the wilderness, where they wandered for forty years, before their entrance into the promised land of Canaan. The fifth and last book of Moses is called Deuteronomy, or repetition of the Law, and was written shortly before his death, with the intention of reminding the people of all the statutes and judgments which they had previously received, and of the many wonderful events which had taken place since their departure out of Egypt-inducing them to place their full confidence in the Lord only, and to devote to him their undivided service. The conquest of the land of Canaan, and the partition of it among the tribes of Israel, form the subject of the book of Joshua; while that of Judges affords us some insight into their history during the period that elapsed before they began to be governed by kings. The book of Ruth is an interesting relation, full of the simplicity of ancient times, of the fortunes which befel a young woman of Moab, the widow of a man of the tribe of Judah, who, marrying her former husband's kinsman Boaz, became an ancestress of David, and, through him, of Christ. The first book of Samuel contains the life of the celebrated prophet of that name; of Saul, the first king, whom he anointed to reign over Israel; and the early history of David,