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to remit the debts of their brethren, when they themselves had been imploring forgiveness of God; and when peace was made with God, by the sacrifices of atonement, it was peculiarly suitable to proclaim liberty and rejoicing throughout the country. The design of this institution was both political and typical. The jubilee was political, intended to prevent the oppression of the poor, as well as their being liable to perpetual slavery. By this means, the rich were prevented from getting the whole of the landed property into their own possession, and a kind of equality was maintained in all their families. By this means also, the distinction of tribes was preserved, in respect both of their estates and families, and it was thus correctly ascertained from what tribe and family the Messiah descended.
The jubilee had a typical design, to which the prophet Isaiah refers in predicting the character and office of Messiah, lxi. 1, 2. Luke iv. 17-21. The various terms which the prophet employs alluded to the blessings of the jubilee, but its full sense refers to the richer blessings of the gospel, which proclaims spiritual release from the bondage of sin and Satan, liberty of returning to our heavenly inheritance by Jesus Christ, and the privilege of being enriched with the treasures of his grace on earth, preparatory to the enjoyment of the celestial glory.
CH. XIII.-DIVISIONS OF THE BIBLE.
THE Bible contains two collections of writings, distinguished by the titles, The Old, and The New Testament. The former comprises the successive revelations of the divine will to the Hebrews, both the Israelites and Jews, before the advent of Christ; and the latter contains the inspired writings of the apostles and evangelists of our Lord and Saviour. The two parts include sixty-six books. The thirty-nine books of the Old Testament were classed in three divisions by the ancient Jews: these portions were called, 1. The Law: 2. The Prophets and 3. The Holy Writings. The law containing the five
books of Moses, was called the Pentateuch, from a Greek word signifying five instruments. The Prophets included Joshua, Judges, the two books of Samuel, and the two books of Kings, which were called the Former Prophets : and the Latter Prophets comprised Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve lesser prophetical books froin Hosea to Malachi, which were reckoned as one book. The Hagiographa, or Holy Writings, comprehended the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Solomon's Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, with Nehemiah and the two books of Chronicles.
That arrangement of the sacred books, which has been adopted in our Bibles, is not regulated by the exact order of time in which they were severally written: the book of Genesis is, however, universally allowed to have been the first, (the book of Job being perfected by Moses about the same time,) and the prophecy of Malachi was the last of the Old Testament.
The Psalms were, from the first, distinct compositions; but the other sacred books were divided into fifty-three larger and smaller sections: so that one of each being read in the synagogue every sabbath day, the whole of the Old Testament was read publicly once a year.
The sacred writings had, originally, no marks of punctuation, and letter followed letter, as if every line were but a single word. Necessity, therefore, led to the adoption of some marks of distinction, both for public and private reading. The Jews began early to point their sections: some say in the time of Ezra; others attribute this improvement to the second century of the christian era. The New Testament was first pointed by Jerome, in the fourth century; and divided into church lessons and sections by Ammonius and Euthalius in the century following.
The division of the Bible into chapters and verses (not however such small portions as the present verses) was made by cardinal Hugo, about A. D. 1240. The plan of Hugo having become known to Rabbi Nathan in the fifteenth century he made a Hebrew concordance to the Old Testament, retaining the chapters, but improving
the order of the verses. The New Testament was divided into verses, and numbered, A. D. 1545, by Robert Stephens, a very learned Frenchman, who was printer to the king of France. These divisions were made for the convenience of more readily finding the different passages of the Scriptures; and they are of incalculable advantage to us: but in some cases, they rather interrupt the connexion between one part and another: it is, therefore, especially necessary, in seeking correctly to understand any chapter or passage, to consider the whole design of the writer, as it may be perceived by means of the preceding and following parts of the book.
The following table has been published, as containing accurate particulars of the English version of the Bible; and which will probably be interesting to most readers.
In the Old Testament.
In the New Testament.
39 Books... Chapters.... 929 Chapters.. 260 Chapters.... 1,189 Verses..... 23,214 Verses...... .7,959 Verses.... .31,173 Words....592,493 Words....181,253 Words....773,746 Letters.. 2,728,100 Letters... 838,380 Letters..3,566,480
The middle chapter and the shortest in the Bible is the hundred and seventeenth Psalm; the middle verse is the eighth of the hundred and eighteenth Psalm. The twentyfirst verse of the seventh chapter of Ezra, in the English version, has all the letters of the alphabet in it. The nineteenth chapter of the second book of Kings and the thirty-seventh chapter of Isaiah are alike.
CH. XIV.-ANALYSIS OF THE BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.
Comprising a period of 2369 years.
GENESIS is a Greek word, which signifies creation or production, and the first book in the Bible is so called because it relates the history of the creation and production of all things by the word of Almighty God, and of the peopling of the earth by his blessing and providence.
The book of Genesis is the oldest volume in the world, and contains the most information: it was written by Moses, the deliverer of the Israelites from Egypt, and it embraces a period of about two thousand three hundred and sixty-nine years, from the creation of the world to the death of Joseph in Egypt.
Genesis contains fifty chapters: but every chapter does not relate to a distinct and complete subject. A chapter is sometimes only part of a section, which includes several of these divisions. In Genesis there are eleven principal sections.
Section I. Includes the first and second chapters, which relate the wonderful history of the creation of all things in the heavens and on the earth.
Sec. II. The fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve, from their state of holiness and happiness, by transgression; their expulsion from Paradise, to labour in sorrow till death; and the promise of Messiah as a Saviour, ch. iii.
Sec. III. The history of Adam and his descendants to the time of Noah, ch. iv. v.
Sec. IV. The increase of wickedness upon the earth, and the destruction of the whole race of mankind, except Noah and his family, by the universal deluge, ch. vi. vii. Sec. V. The repeopling of the earth by the family of Noah, ch. viii.—x.
Sec. VI. The impious attempt to build the tower of Babel,-the confusion of languages, and the dispersion of mankind over the earth, ch. xi.
Sec. VII. The history of Abraham and his family, ch. xii.-xxv.
Sec. VIII. The history of Isaac and his family, ch. xxvi. xxvii.
Sec. IX. The history of Jacob and his family, ch. xxviii.-xxxvi.
Sec. X. The story of Joseph and his brethren, ch. xxxvii.-xl.
Sec. XI. The history of Joseph's prosperity in Egypt and his kindness to his father and his brethren, till his death, ch. xli.—l.
In the book of Genesis there are contained several things which deserve to be considered and remembered, more particularly by every young person. There are seven things especially of which no other book can give us true information.
1. The creation of all things by the omnipotent word of God.
2. The fall of our first parents from innocence and happiness by sinning against their Creator; whereby all mankind are sinners, and liable to sickness, pain, and death.
3. God's gracious promise of a Saviour.
4. The great age to which men lived in the early period of the world.
5. The destruction of the world by a deluge, on account of the great and universal wickedness of mankind.
6. The confusion of speech at Babel, as the origin of different languages.
7. The calling of Abraham from the Chaldean idolatry, for the purpose of preserving true religion in the world; and the separation of his family from all people, as the Messiah was promised to descend from him.
Besides these and some other memorable things, there were, in the first ages of the world, several persons of remarkable eminence: among whom were Adam and Eve our first parents-the first of human beings; Abel, the first who died, being murdered by his wicked brother Cain ; Enoch, who, after pleasing God in a holy, active, and useful life, was taken to heaven without dying; Methuselah, the oldest man, who lived 969 years; Noah, who was saved when the world was drowned; Abraham, who, in faith, sacrificed his son at the command of God; and Joseph, who was sold to slavery by his own brethren, and who, afterwards, became lord and ruler of all Egypt.
From this divine record of those two most stupendous subjects, Creation and Providence, almost all the ancient philosophers, astronomers, chronologists, and historians, have taken their respective data; and all the modern improvements and accurate discoveries in different arts and sciences, have only served to confirm the facts