Obrazy na stronie

The scripture is a field or vineyard which finds work for variety of hands, and about which may be employed a great diversity of gifts and operations, but all from the same Spirit, (1 Cor. 12. 4, 6.) and for the glory of the same Lord. The learned in the languages and in ancient usages have been very serviceable to the church, (the blessed occupant of this field,) by their curious and elaborate searches into its various products, their anatomies of its plants, and the entertaining lectures they have read upon them. The philosophy of the critics hath been of much more advantage to religion, and lent more light to sacred truth, than the philosophy of the school-divines. The learned also in the arts of war have done great service in defending this garden of the Lord against the violent attacks of the powers of darkness, successfully pleading the cause of the sacred writings against the spiteful cavils of atheists, deists, and the profane scoffers of these later days. Such as these stand in the posts of honour, and their praise is in all the churches; yet the labours of the vine-dressers and the husbandmen, (2 Kings 25. 12.) though they are the poor of the land who till this ground, and gather in the fruits of it, are no less necessary in their place, and beneficial to the household of God, that out of these precious fruits every one may have his portion of meat in due season. These are the labours which, according to my ability, I have here set my hand unto. And as the plain and practical expositors would not, for a world, say of the learned critics, There is no need of them; so, it is hoped, those eyes and heads will not say to the hands and feet, There is no need of you; 1 Cor. 12. 21.

And since our Lord Jesus Christ is the true Treasure hid in the field of the Old Testament, and was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, I have been careful to observe what Moses wrote of him, to which he himself oft appealed. In the writings of the prophets we meet with more of the plain and express promises of the Messiah, and the grace of the gospel; but here, in the books of Moses, we find more of the types, both real and personal, figures of Him that was to come; shadows, of which the substance is Christ, Rom. 5. 14. Those to whom to live is Christ, will find in these that which is very instructive and affecting, and will give great assistance to their faith, and love, and holy joy. This, in a particular manner, we search the scriptures for-to find what they testify of Christ and eternal life: John 5. 39.

Nor is it any objection against the application of the cere monial institutions of Christ and his grace, that they to whom they were given, could not discern this sense, or use of them; but it is rather a reason why we should be very thankful that the vail which was upon their minds in the reading of the Old Testament, is done away in Christ, 2 Cor. 3. 13, 14, 18. Though they then could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished, it does not therefore follow but that we who are happily furnished with a key to these mysteries, may in them, as in a glass, behold the glory of the Lord Jesus. And yet, perhaps, the pious Jews saw more of the gospel in their ritual, than we think they did; they had at least a general Mr. Pool's English Annotations (which, having had so many expectation of good things to come, by faith in the promises impressions, we may suppose, got into most hands) are of ad-made to the fathers, as we have of the happiness of heaven, mirable use, especially for the explaining of scripture-phrases, though they could not of that world to come, any more than we opening the sense, referring to parallel scriptures, and the can of this, form any distinct or certain idea. Our concepclearing of difficulties that occur: I have therefore all along tions of the future state, perhaps, are as dark and confused, as been brief upon that which is there most largely discussed, and short of the truth, and as wide from it, as theirs then were of have industriously declined, as much as I could, what is to be the kingdom of the Messiah: but God requires faith, only found there; for I would not actum agere-do what is done; according to the revelation he gives. They then were accounta nor (if I may be allowed to borrow the apostle's words) boast ble for no more light than they had; and we now are accountaof things made ready to our hand, 2 Cor. 10. 16. ble for that greater light which we have in the gospel, by the help of which we may find much more of Christ in the Old Testament than they could.

Those and other annotations which are referred to the particular words and clauses they are designed to explain, are more easy to be consulted upon occasion; but the exposition which (like this) is put into a continued discourse, digested under proper heads, is much more easy and ready to be read through for one's own and others' instruction. And, I think, the serving of the connexion of each chapter (if there be occasion) with that which goes before, and the general scope of it, with the thread of the history or discourse, and the collecting of the I would desire the reader not only to read the text entire, several parts of it, to be seen at one view, will contribute very before he reads the exposition, but, as the several verses are much to the understanding of it, and will give the mind abun-referred to in the exposition, to cast his eye upon them again, dant satisfaction in the general intention, though there may be and then he will the better understand what he reads. And if here and there a difficult word or expression which the best he have leisure, he will find it of use to him to turn to the critics cannot easily account for. This, therefore, I have here scriptures, which are sometimes only referred to for brevity's endeavoured. sake, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

If any think our observations sometimes take rise from that which to them seems too minute, let them remember that maxim of the Rabbins, Non est in lege vel una litera a qua non ob-pendent magni montes-The law contains not a letter but what bears the weight of mountains. We are sure there is not an idle word in the Bible.

It is the declared purpose of the Eternal mind, in all the operations both of providence and grace, to magnify the law, and to make it honourable; (Isa. 42. 21.) nay, to magnify his word above all his name; (Ps. 138. 2.) so that when we pray, Father, glorify thy name, we mean this, among other things, Father, magnify the holy scriptures; and to that prayer, made in faith, we may be sure of that answer which was given to our blessed Saviour when he prayed it, with particular respect to the fulfilling the scriptures in his own sufferings, I have both glorified it, and I will glorify it yet again, John 12. 28. To this great design I humbly desire to be some way serviceable, in the strength of that grace by which I am what I am, hoping that what may help to make the reading of the scriptures more easy, pleasant, and profitable, will be graciously accepted by Him that smiled on the widow's two mites cast into the treasury, as an intention to magnify it, and make it honourable; and if I can but gain that point, in any measure, with some, I shall think my endeavours abundantly recompensed, however, by others, I and my performances may be vilified and made contemptible.

The learned have of late received very great advantage in their searches into this part of holy writ, and the books that follow, (and still hope for more,) by the excellent and most valuable labours of that great and good man, bishop Patrick, whom, for vast reading, solid judgment, and a most happy application to these best of studies, even in his advanced years and honours, succeeding ages, no doubt, will rank among the first three of commentators, and bless God for him.

But we are concerned not only to understand what we read, but to improve it to some good purpose, and, in order thereunto, to be affected with it, and to receive the impressions of it. The word of God is designed to be not only a light to our eyes, the entertaining subject of our contemplation, but a light to our feet and a lamp to our paths, (Ps. 119. 106.) to direct us in the way of our duty, and to prevent our turning aside into any by-way: we must therefore, in searching the scriptures, inquire, not only What is this? but, What is this to us? What use may we make of it? How may we accommodate it to some of the purposes of that divine and heavenly life which, by the grace of God, we are resolved to live? Inquiries of this kind I have here aimed to answer.

When the stone is rolled from the well's mouth by a critical explication of the text, still there are those who would both drink themselves, and water their flocks; but they complain that the well is deep, and they have nothing to draw; how then shall they come by this living water? Some such may, perhaps, find a bucket here, or water drawn to their hands; and pleased enough shall I be with this office of the Gibeonites, to draw water for the congregation of the Lord out of these wells of salvation.

As to the practical observations, I have not obliged myself to raise doctrines out of every verse or paragraph, but only have endeavoured to mix with the exposition such hints or remarks as I thought improveable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, aiming in all to promote practical godliness, and carefully avoiding matters of doubtful disputation and strifes of words. It is only the prevalency of the power of religion in the hearts and lives of Christians, that will redress our grievances, and turn our wilderness into a fruitful field.

That which I aim at in the exposition, is, to give what I thought the genuine sense, and to make it as plain as I could to ordinary capacities, not troubling my reader with the different sentiments of expositors: which would have been to transcribe Mr. Pool's Latin Synopsis, where this is done abundantly to our satisfaction and advantage.

I have now nothing more to add, than to recommend myself to the prayers of my friends, and them to the grace of the Lord Jesus; and so rest an unworthy dependent upon that grace, and, through that, an expectant of the glory to be revealed.

M. H.

Chester, October 2, 1706.





FIRST MONTH of the Civil Year,
SEVENTH MONTH of the Sacred Year,

SECOND MONTH of the Civil Year,
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THIRD MONTH of the Civil Year,
NINTH MONTH of the Sacred Year,

FOURTH MONTH of the Civil Year,
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FIFTH MONTH of the Civil Year,
ELEVENTH MONTH of the Sacred Year,

SIXTH MONTH of the Civil Year,
TWELFTH MONTH of the Sacred Year,

SEVENTH MONTH of the Civil Year,
FIRST MONTH of the Sacred Year,

EIGHTH MONTH of the Civil Year,.
SECOND MONTH of the Sacred Year,


NINTH MONTH of the Civil Year,
THIRD MONTH of the Sacred Year,

TENTH MONTH of the Civil Year,
FOURTH MONTH of the Sacred Year,


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Consisted of thirty days, and answered to September.


Consisted of twenty-nine days, and answered to October.


Consisted of thirty days, and answered to November.


Consisted of twenty-nine days, and answered to December.


Consisted of thirty days, and answered to January.


Consisted of twenty-nine days, and answered to February.


Consisted of thirty days, and answered to March.


Consisted of twenty-nine days, and answered to April.


Consisted of thirty days, and answered to May.


Consisted of twenty-nine days, and answered to June.


Consisted of thirty days, and answered to July.


Consisted of twenty-nine days, and answered to August.

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The Creation.



I. We have now before us the Holy Bible, or Book, for so Bible signifies. We call it the Book by way of eminency; for it is incomparably the best book that ever was written, the Book of books, shining like the sun in the firmament of learning; other valuable and useful books, like the moon and stars, borrowing their light from it. We call it the Holy Book; because it was written by holy men, and indited by the Holy Ghost; it is perfectly pure from all falsehood and corrupt intention; and the manifest tendency of it is to promote holiness among men. The great things of God's Law and Gospel are here written to us, that they might be reduced to a greater certainty, might spread further, remain longer, and be transmitted to distant places and ages, more pure and entire than possibly they could be by report and tradition: and we shall have a great deal to answer for, if these things which belong to our peace, being thus committed to us in black and white, be neglected by us as a strange and foreign thing, Hos. viii. 12. The Scriptures, or Writings of the several inspired penmen, from Moses down to St. John, in which divine light, like that of the morning, shone gradually, (the sacred Canon being now completed,) are all put together in this blessed Bible, which, thanks be to God, we have in our hands, and they make as perfect a day as we are to expect on this side heaven. Every part was good, but altogether very good. This is the light that shines in a dark place, 2 Pet. i. 19, and a dark place indeed the world would be, without the Bible.

II. We have before us that part of the Bible which we call the Old Testament, containing the acts and monuments of the church, from the creation almost to the coming of Christ in the flesh, which was about four thousand years, the truths then revealed, the laws then enacted, the devotions then paid, the prophecies then given, and the events which concerned that distinguished body, so far as God saw fit to preserve to us the knowledge of them. This is called a Testament, or Covenant, (Aia0kn,) because it was a settled declaration of the will of God concerning man in a federal way, and had its force from the designed death of the great Testator, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, Rev. xiii. 8. It is called the Old Testament, with relation to the New, which does not cancel and supersede it, but crown and perfect it, by the bringing in of that better hope which was typified and foretold in it: the Old Testament still remains glorious, though the New far exceeds in glory, 2 Cor. iii. 9.

III. We have before us that part of the Old Testament, which we call the Pentateuch, or five Books of Moses, that servant of the Lord who excelled all the other prophets, and typified the Great Prophet. In our Saviour's distribution of the books of the Old Testament into the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, or Hagiographa, these are the Law; for they contain not only the laws given to Israel, in the four last, but the laws given to Adam, to Noah, and to Abraham, in the first. These five books were, for aught we know, the first that ever were written; for we have not the least mention of any writing in all the book of Genesis, nor till God bid Moses write, Ex. xvii. 14; and some think Moses himself never learned to write, till God set him his copy in the writing of the Ten Commandments upon the tables of stone. However, we are sure these books are the most ancient writings now extant, and therefore best able to give us a satisfactory account of the most ancient things.

IV. We have before us the first and longest of those five books, which we call Genesis; written, some think, when Moses was in Midian, for the instruction and comfort of his suffering brethren in Egypt: I rather think he wrote it in the wilderness, after he had been in the Mount with God, where, probably, he received full and particular instructions for the writing of it. And as he framed the tabernacle, so he did the more excellent and durable fabric of this book, exactly according to the pattern showed him in the mount; into which it is better to resolve the certainty of the things herein contained, than into any tradition which possibly might be handed down from Adam to Methuselah, from him to Shem, from him to Abraham, and so to the family of Jacob. Genesis is a name borrowed from the Greek. It signifies the original, or generation: fitly is this book so called, for it is a history of originals-the creation of the world, the entrance of sin and death into it, the invention of arts, the rise of nations, and especially the planting of the church, and the state of it in its early days. It is also a history of gene rations-the generations of Adam, Noah, Abraham, &c. not endless, but useful genealogies. The beginning of the New Testament is called Genesis too, Matt. i. 1. Bißλos yevkoews. The Book of the Genesis, or Generation, of Jesus Christ, Blessed be God for that Book which shows us our remedy, as this opens our wound. Lord, open our eyes, that we may see the wondrous things both of thy Law and Gospel!

B. C. 4004.

universe, than all the volumes of the philosophers. The lively faith of humble Christians understands this matter better than the elevated fancy of the greatest wita, Heb. 11. 3.


The foundation of all religion being laid in our relation to God as our Creator, it was fit that that book of divine revelations, which was intended to be the guide, support, and rule, of religion in the world, should begin, as it does, with a plain and full account of the creation of the world-in answer to that first inquiry of a good conscience, Where is God my Maker? Job 35. 10. Concerning this, the pagan philosophers wretchedly blundered, and became vain in their imaginations; some asserting the world's eternity and self-existence, others ascribing it to a fortuitous concourse of atoms thus the world by wisdom knew not God, but took a great deal of pains to lose him. The holy scripture, therefore, designing by revealed religion to maintain and improve natural religion, to repair the decays of it, and supply the defects of it, since the fall, for the reviving of the precepts of the law of nature; lays down, at first, this principle of the unclouded light of nature, That this world was, in the beginning of time, created by a Being of infinite wisdom and power, who was himself before all time, and all worlds. The entrance into God's word gives this light, Ps. 119. 130. The first verse of the Bible gives

2 And the earth was without form, and void;

us a surer and better, a more satisfying and useful knowledge of the origin of the and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And

a Prov. 8. 23. Johm 1. 1, 2. Heb. 1. 10. Job 38. 4. Ps. 33. 6. Is. 40. 26. Jer. 51.

15. Zech. 12. 1. Acts 14. 15. Rom. 1. 20. Col. 1. 16. e Job 26. 7. Jer. 4. 23.

NOTES. CHAP. I.-V. 1, 2. In these verses we have the work of creation in its epitome, and in its embryo.

I. In its epitome, v. 1, where we find, to our comfort, the first article of our creed, that God the Father Almighty is the Maker of heaven and earth, and as such we believe in him. Observe, in this verse, four things,

We have three things in this chapter; I. A general idea given us of the work of cre. ation, v. 1, 2. II. A particular account of the several days' work, registered, as in a journal, distinctly and in order. The creation of the light, the first day, v. 3-5; of the firmament, the second day, v. 6-8; of the sea, the earth, and its fruits, the third day, v. 9-13; of the lights of heaven, the fourth day, v. 14— 19; of the fish and fowl, the fifth day, v. 20-23; of the beasts, v. 24, 25; of man, v. 26-28; and of food for both, the sixth day, v. 29, 30. III. The review and approbation of the whole work, v. 31.

IN the beginning "God created 'the heaven and

the earth.

1. The effect produced; the heaven and the earth, that is, the world, including the whole frame and furniture of the universe, the world and all things therein, Acts 17. 24. The world is a great house, consisting of upper and lower stories, the structure stately and magnificent, uniform and convenient, and every room well and wisely furnished. It is the visible part of the creation that Moses here designs to account for; therefore, he

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