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in the wilderness, travelling to the land of Canaan, which God had promised them.
Then there follows an account of their conquest over the land of Canaan under the conduct of Joshua; their government by judges several hundred years; and after that there is a narrative of their four first kings, viz. Saul, David, Solomon, and Rehoboam. In his days the nation was divided into two kingdoms, which were called the kingdom of Israel, and the kingdom of Judah.
There are also particular records of the government of these two distinct kingdoms, under a long succession of their own kings, till they were both carried into captivity by the kings of Assyria.
After this, the sacred history relates the return of many of them, (chiefly the tribes of Judah and Benjamin) into their own land, and their rebuilding the city of Jerusalem, and the temple of God, and the settlement of the affairs of the church and state by Ezra and Nehemiah, which is the end of the historical part of the Old Testament.
During all this time there is an account given of the several prophets and messengers which were sent from God on special occasions to reveal his mind and will to men: and there is also a larger and more particular narrative of the lives or transactions of some extraordinary persons, several of which are much interwoven with the series of the history: but there are others which seem to stand separate and distinct; such are the affairs relating to Job, a rich man of the East, Jonah a Prophet in Israel, and Esther the Queen of Persia, to which I have added some account of Jeremiah and Daniel, the prophets, in distinct chapters.
At the end of these I have put in two chapters before the beginning of the New Testament, which contain an Historical and Prophetical Connection between the Old Testament and the New; of which I have given an account in the Introduction to those particular chapters, as well as in the general Preface.
The History of Mankind before the Flood.
1 Quest. How came this world into being? Answ. In the beginning the great God made heaven and earth, and all things that are in them. Gen. i. 1. Exod. xx. 11.
2 Q. How did God make all things?
A. By his powerful word, for he commanded, and it was done. Gen. i. 3, 6, 9, &c. Heb. xi. 3. Psalm xxxiii. 9.
Note. We are also informed in the New Testament, that God created all things by his son Jesus Christ, Eph. iii. 9. and that his name is The Word of God. John i. 3. Rev. xix. 13.
SQ. What time did God spend in making the world? A. God, who could have made all things at once, by his perfect wisdom and almighty power, chose rather to do it by degrees, and spent six days in making the world, with the creatures that are in it. Gen. i, 31. Exod. xx. 11.
4 Q. What was his work on the first day?
A. He made light, and divided it from the darkness, and the evening and the morning were the first day. Gen. i. 3, 5.
5 Q. What did God make the second day?
A. The air or the lower heavens, which are here called the Firmament, and the clouds, which are the waters above the firmament. ver. 6.
6 Q. What did he do on the third day?
A. He separated the earth from the sea, and made the trees and herbs to grow out of the ground. ver. 8-12.
7 Q. What was the work of the fourth day?
A. The sun, moon, and stars, which were appointed to give light upon the earth, and to make our days, our months, and our years. ver. 14-19.
8 Q. What was the fifth day's work?
A. The birds and the fishes, which were both made out of the water. ver. 20-23.
9 Q. And what was the sixth and last day's work ?
A. Creeping things, beasts, and man, which were all formed out of the earth, ver. 24-26; and God blessed his creatures, and pronounced his works all very good. ver. 28, 31.
10 Q. What did God do the seventh day?
A. God rested from his work of creation, and set apart the seventh day for a holy sabbath, or day of rest. Gen. ii. 2, 3.
11 Q. Who were the first man and woman that God made?
A. Adam and Eve. Gen. v. 1,2. 1 Cor. xv. 45. Gen. iii. 20.
12 Q. In what manner did God make Adam? A. He framed his body out of the dust of the ground, and then put a living soul within him. Gen. ii. 7.
13 Q. How did God make Eve?
A. He cast Adam into a deep sleep, and formed Eve out of one of his ribs, and then brought her to him to be his wife. Gen. ii. 20, 21, &c.
14 Q. In what state did God create them?
A. God created them both in his own likeness, in a holy and happy state, which is called the state of innocence. Gen. i. 26.
15 Q. Where did God put Adam and Eve when he had made them?
A. Into the garden of Eden, to keep it, and take care of it, that even in the state of innocence and happiness, they might have some work to be employed in. Gen. ii. 15.
16 Q. What was their food in that garden?
4. God gave them leave to eat of any of the herbs, plants, or fruits, that grew there, except the fruit of one tree, which he forbid them to taste of on pain of death. Gen. i. 29, and ii. 16, 17.
17 Q. What was the name of that tree ?
A. It was called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because as soon as man eat of it, he would know evil to his sorrow, as well as he knew good before to his comfort. ver. 17, and chap. iii. 5.
18 Q. As there was one tree so dangerous, that it
exposed him to death if he eat of it, was there not also a tree that would secure him from death?
A. Yes; there was a tree called the tree of life, placed in the midst of the garden, whose fruit was also able to have preserved him in life, if he had continued to obey God, Gen. ii. 9, and chap. iii. 22, and it is reasonably supposed to be designed as a pledge or seal of eternal life to him, if he had continued in his innocency.
19 Q. What was the religion of Adam in the state of innocency?
A. The practice of all the duties toward God, and toward his creatures, which the light of nature or reason could teach him; together with his observance of this one positive precept of abstaining from the fruit of the tree of knowledge, and this was given him as a special test or trial of his obedience to his Maker. This is called the DISPENSATION OF INNOCENCE.
20 Q. How did Adam behave himself in this time of his trial?
A. He eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, which God had forbid him on pain of death. Gen. ii. 17, and chap. iii. 6.
21 Q. How came Adam to disobey God, and eat of this forbidden tree?
A. Eve first was persuaded to eat of that deadly fruit, and then she persuaded Adam to eat of it too. Gen. iii. 12.
22 Q. Who tempted Eve to eat of it?
A. The Evil Spirit, that is the Devil, which lay hid in the serpent, Gen. iii. 1. 2 Cor. xi. 3. and for this reason he is called the old Serpent. Rev. xii. 9.
23 Q. What mischief followed from hence?
A. As Adam sinned against God, so he brought in sin and death among all mankind, who were his children, and they have spread through all generations. Rom. v. 12.
24 Q. Then God did not put Adam and Eve to death as soon as they had sinned?
A. No; but they were condemned to die; and beeame liable to sickness and death; they were driven out
of the garden of paradise, that they might not taste of the tree of life, and they were appointed to labour hard for their food all their days. Gen. iii. 19, 23.
25 Q. Did God, who spared their life, shew them any further pity P
A. Yes; he gave them a kind promise, and clothed them with the skins of beasts, because they were naked.. Gen. iii. 15, 21. What was the kind promise that he gave
26 Q. them?
A. That the seed of the woman should break the head of the serpent, who tempted them to sin. Gen. iii. 15.
27 Q. Who is this seed of the woman?
A. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who in due time was born of a woman Gal. iv. 4. 28 Q. What is meant by his breaking the serpent's. head?
A. That Christ should destroy the wicked works and designs of the Devil, and thereby save mankind from the sin and death, which were brought in among them by his temptation. 1 John iii. 8. Heb. ii. 14, 15..
29 Q. Whence came the skins of the beasts with which God clothed Adam and Eve ?
A. It is likely God taught Adam to offer sacrifices. at this time, and that these were the skins of the beasts that were offered in sacrifice.
Note. Whether flesh was eaten by the religious families before the flood, is uncertain; but it does not appear that God had given Adam express leave to eat flesh, Gen. i. 29, chap. ii. 26, and ix. 23, and then there could be no skins to be had from beasts killed for food. But the sin of man deserved death; and it was probably at this time that God appointed beasts to be sacrificed or put to death, to shew that sin deserved death, and to make a sort of typical atonement, or answer for the sin of man; since cutting and burning God's living creatures does not seem to be a contrivance of man himself to appease God for his own sin. Then it is natural to suppose that God clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of those beasts which were sacrificed, to shew them, in a typical or figurative way, that as clothes covered the naked body from shame and harm, so sacrifices, offered according to God's appointment, should in some sense protect them from the punishment which sin had deserved.