Page images
PDF
EPUB

owners.

Ingo; or consumed them by fire from in their being actually the proprietors of heaven; instead of these, He commis- Canaan, of which they had been unsioned the people of Israel to root them justly dispossessed by the intruding and out by the sword. In so doing, the, hostile Canaanites. ALMIGHTY not only demonstrated to the “ The laws of nations are always the whole world his hatred of the corrup- same. If any nation, or tribe, or part of tions and pollutions of superstition; a tribe, take possession of an unknown, but He more particularly enforced on undiscovered, unoccupied, or uninhabited the Israelites the purity of his law, the country, the right of property vests in certainty of their own punishment if them ; they are its proprietors and they apostatized; and the freedom from

After the Deluge, the world temporal evil which they should conse- might be said to be in this state; and quently enjoy, if they persevered in their Michaelis has endeavoured to prove, allegiance to Him, their Sovereign. that the ancestors of ABRATIAM were the

“Lest this invasion of Canaan by the original occupiers of the pasture land Israelites, however, should be drawn into of Canaan. Canaan, therefore, by the precedent by other nations, for ambition law of nations, as well as by the proor religious persecution; they were as- mises of God, was the lot of ABRAsured by continued and powerful mira- Ham's inheritance; and the rightful cles, that their cause was just that they land of his descendants. The Canaanite should be successful, and that they were and the Perrizite had only just establishnot subject at that period to the common ed themselves in Canaan when ABRAlaws of nations. The people of Israel Ham removed from Haran to that counwas the sword of God, the great Magis- try; and were so weak and few in namtrate of the earth; and they were no more ber, that they never interfered with the to be condemned in thus acting in con- rights of sovereignty assumed and exformity to the commands of God, than erted by ABRAHAM. The Canaanites the executioner can be who fulfils the were merchants and adventurers, who last sentence of the law. Before then had been originally settled near the borother nations invade the territory of ders of the Indian Ocean ; and who havtheir neighbours on the same supposed ing been dispossessed by the Cuthic authority as the Israelites, the same Sidonians, had migrated westward, to commission from heaven must be given; form establishments on the sea-coasts of and that commission must be authenti- Palestine, and carry on commerce with cated by miracles equally evident, per- the herdsmen who traversed it. They petual, and wonderful.

were for some time contented with their “ Many however have not been satis- factories on the sea-coasts, but they grafied with this argument, and would dis- dually obtained possession of the inland card the doctrine of the peculiar Provi- country. The Perizzites, too, were a dence, which regulated by a visible the- warlike tribe, who now first made their ocracy the conduct of the chosen people: appearance in Canaan; they had origithey would defend the invasion of Pales- nally inhabited the north-east of Babytine on other grounds. They would lonia. Whether they had been disposjudge of the transactions of that period, sessed of their settlements; whether (regardless of the peculiar circumstances they were seeking new establishments; under which they took place,) by mo- or for whatsoever purpose they were dern ideas, and the present law of na- now in Palestine, they gave no interruptions. Some suppose that the conduet tion to the progress of ABRAHAM, alof the Israelites was solely defensible, though ABRAHAM entered upon the on the supposition that there had been a Holy Land, and continued his journeypartition of the whole earth by the sons ings with a large retinue, and as a of Noau, and that Canaan bad been powerful prince. He took possession of allotted to SHEM : the sons of SuEm Canaan as the territory of his ancestors; therefore were justified in claiming their not indeed as a fixed habitation, but as ancient inheritance from the Canaanites pasture land adapted to his numerous who were descended from HAM. Others flocks and herds. He traversed the have asserted that the Canaanites com- whole country as a proprietor, without menced the war by attacking the Israel- a competitor. He had the power of ites; an assertion which cannot be de- arming three hundred and eighteen of fended from the history. While others his own servants, born in his own house: have affirmed, without any well-ground- and it is most probable that he had ed arguments, that the Israelites, as a others who are not enumerated. He wandering people, having no certain declared war as an independent prince home, were justified in forcibly invading, of this country against five neighbourand taking possession of, an adjoining ing princes; and formed an alliance with territory. But Michaelis is of opinion ABIMELech, as an equal and as a sovethat the right of the Israelites originated reign. It is true, be purchased land of

the Canaanttish family of Hern, but Period V. comproses the reign of this was because the Hittites had gradn- SOLOMON, during which the kingdom ally made a more fixed settlement in of Israel attained its bighest greatthat part of the country; their intrusion had not been at first prevented by the ness, and the promise of Jehovan to ancestors of Abraham; and by this ABRAHAM was accomplished, viz. sufferance they made that district their that the country, from the Mediterpeculiar property.

ranean Sea to the River Euphrates, “ As ABRAHAM thus traversed and should be subject to the dominion of possessed Canaan, with undisputed au- Israel. This period includes those thority, so too did Isaac and Jacob in chapters of the first book of Kings, like manner. No one opposed their which narrate the life of SOLOMON right. They exercised, a3 ABRAHAM had the first nine chapters of the second done before them, sovereign power : book of Chronicles, which are harthey never resigned that power; nor gave up to others the property of that monised with

those from the book of land, which now, by long prescription, Kings,—the Psalms supposed to have as well as by the promise of God, had been sung or written at the dedication become entirely their own.

of the Temple, and the books of Can“The ancestors, then, of the Israelites, ticles, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. MICHAELis argues, were either the sole On the aathority of Dr. Lightfoot, sovereigns, or the most powerful of the book of Canticles is inserted after those princes who possessed, in early the account of the magnificent ediages, the Holy Land. By the famine fices erected by the young Hebrew which occurred the days of JOSEPH, Monarch, subsequently to the comthey were compelled to leave their own pletion of the temple. The book of country, and take refuge in Egypt: yet Proverbs is placed after the visit of they never lost sight of the sepulchre of their fathers. And though we do not the Queen of Sheba, when the read that acts of ownership were con

wisdon ot' SOLOMON was celebrated tinued to maintain and perpetuate their throughout the East; and the book of right, we can have but little doubt, that Ecclesiastes comes after the account something of the kind took place ; for of his yielding to the attractions of JACOB was taken from Egypt to be idolatrous women. buried there ; JOSEPH assured them that PERIOD VI. includes the time from they should return; and the Egyptians, the accession of ReHOBOAM to the their oppressors, a kindred branch of commencement of the Babylonish the powerful tribes which had by this time entirely taken possession of Pales: Captivity. This portion of the work tine, kept them in bondage, and re

bas evidently cost the arranger no fused to let them go, lest they should small difficulty and labour, and is claim the inheritance of their fathers.

successfully executed. It compre“ If this claim of the Israelites can hends the greater part of the books be proved to be well-founded, they of Chronicles and Kings, which are would have been entitled, by the law of harmonised throughout ; together nations, forcibly to take possession of with some of the Psalms, and also the Holy Land ; and it will be interesting the Prophecies of Joel, Isarau, to observe how the merciful providence Hosea, Amos, Jonah, Micah, OBAof God afforded them the opportunity of successfully regaining their lawful"in Diau, Nahum, HABAKKUK, Zepha. heritance, and at the same time accom- NIAH, part of JEREMIAH, and part of

The plishing his own divine purposes, to the the first chapter of Daniel. fulfilment of his prophecies, and to the several predictions, or distinct dishappiness and security of his church. courses, contained in the prophetic The Israelites may be considered as the writings, are given in their historical servants and ministers of God, punishing places ; and notes are appended to the idolatry of the Canaanites, and in- each, explaining the reasons for the stituting in its place, in the midst of an dislocation. In arranging the hisapostate world, the religion of the one tories of the_Kings of Israel and true God. In every victory they ob- Judah, Mr. Townsend has divided tained, they must have admired the each chapter into two parts; the first faithfulness of that promise which had foretold their entire possession of this containing the reign of a King of land; and they must have been per. Judah, and the second including the suaded that, if they served other gods, reign of the contemporary King or they would bring down upon themselves Kings of the sister kingdom. î'his the punishments predicted by Moses." disposition renders the history con(Vol. i. pp. 143—446.)

tained in the sixth period very por

spicuous and pleasant to the critical eminent modern" writers. Besides student of the Bible.

several of the Psalıns, which it is Period VII. presents the history manifest from internal evidence) must of the Babylonish Captivity, which, have been composed after the Capindependently of its being a striking tivity, this period includes a harmony exemplification of the fulfilment of of the books of Ezra, Nehemian, and the divine predictions, affords a beau- Esther; and the Prophecies of tiful instance of the wisdom of God; ZECHARIAH, HAGGAI, and Malachi. wbo, while by this dispensation he The work in the margin of each punished his peculiar people for their page of which the chronology is sins, and effected their reformation carefully given) is terminated by six from idolatry, made them the mes- Indices. The first contains an acsengers of his glory and power in count of the periods, chapters, and conveying to nations, that were sections, into which the Sacred Hissitting in darkness and in the shadow tory is divided, togetber with the of death, the knowledge of the One passages of Scripture comprised in true God, the Creator and Preserver each ;—the second, in columns, enof the World. No historical book in ables the reader to discover in which the Old Testament contains a com- part of the arrangement any chapter plete narrative of the transactions of or verse of the Bible may be found;the seventy years : they are related the third and fourth contain the in various parts of the prophecies of tables of the Psalms and Prophecies, JEREMIAH, Ezekiel, and Daniel, and showing in what part of the arrangein the latter passages of the books of ment, and after what passage of Kings and Chronicles ; all of which Scripture, every psalm or prediction are harmonised. To prevent any is inserted, and likewise on what occonfusion in rightly apprehending casion and at what period they were this part of the Sacred History, from probably written, with the authority the circumstance that Ezekiel deli- for their place in the arrangement; vered his predictions to the captive the fifth contains the dates of the Jews at Babylon, while JEREMIAH was events according to Dr. Hales's prophesying at Jerusalem and in elaborate system of Chronology, Egypt, Mr. Townsend has disposed which differs very materially from the events which took place, and the the Bible-Chronology, or that of prophecies which were delivered, at Archbishop Usher ;-and the sirtla Jerusalem, in a different chapter is a general Index to the subjects from those which were announced at explained or illustrated in the notes. Babylon. He has also given in a Such is a brief outline of MR. separate chapter the transactions in Townsend's arrangement of the Old Egypt, whither the Jews, who es- Testament, which he modestly offers caped from the captivity, fled after to the judgment and candour of the the murder of Gedaliau, and took Christian World, as designed to assist with them the prophet JEREMIAH. the student of the Sacred Volume in This arrangement will enable the tracing “that great scheme of Proreader to pursue the narrative of the vidence, ---God revealed by omniaffairs of the Jews at Jerusalem, at potence." Babylon, and in Egypt, without confounding either places or dates. The equal truth and piety, “ so magnificent

“ The visible world,” he remarks with period under review terminates with and so beautiful, is a temple worthy of the decree of Cyrus, for the re- God the CREATOR : the spiritual world, storation of the Jews to their native described in the pages of Scripture, is a country, as it is contained in the last temple equally worthy of God the REchapter of the second book of Chro- DEEMER. Both equally demonstrate the nicles, and the first chapter of Ezra. mercy and the love of the same all

Period VIII., and Jast, comprises wise Providence to the bodies and the the events from the conclusion of the souls of men. In the privileges and in Babylonish Captivity to the probable the certainty of a covenanted redempclose of the canon: the events re- tion, as in the changes of the seasons, corded are arranged in the order and tion, every child of Adam is alike in.

and other blessings of the visible creaon the authority of Dr. Prideaux, terested : and if the researches of sciwlose method has been adopted by

ence to promote the happiness of the DR. CLARKE, DR. Hales, and other body, or to illustrate the laws and the

we

harmony of the universe, are regarded well as useful The best foundation of with favour, in such a manner it is a good education is a knowledge of trusted the present attempt will be re- Scripture ; and that knowledge will be ceived, which is intended to promote the acquired with delight, if the child behappiness of the soul, and to elucidate comes interested in the Bible as a comthe great scheme of ALMIGHTY God in plete history. By such an arrangement, the moral government of his world.” therefore, the labour of the parent is (Vol. i. p. xxi.)

lessened, and the child at once interested

and improved. Considering the subject in this “ The students of history, it may be light, it may be justly said, that justly supposed, will be particularly inevery class and description of the terested in an arrangement of the Bible. readers of Holy Writ is interested in As the history of the world in general this arrangement of its inspired con: bas been called philosophy teaching by tents. Gladly, indeed, could examples,' the history of the Bible may quote, from his well-written Intro- be called i religion teaching by examduction, Mr. Townsend's account of

ples Without this inestimable collecall the various classes of persons, dation for the ancient history of the

tion of records there would be no founwho will find his volumes singularly world : we should be in utter darkness useful, in studying the Old Testa- with respect to the most important ment: but want of room compels us questions; we should know nothing of to restrict our selections to two or the origin of all things,--the cause of three passages, which will point out the mixture of good and evil,--the manits utility to the great majority of our

ner in which man began to be, and conreaders.

tinues to be the being that he is; we While the learned will find his la. should know nothing of the origin of bours lessened, in ascertaining the nations, or by what means the world meaning of difficult words and pas- rant of the primitive condition of society

was overspread; we should be still ignosages,

in the patriarchal ages, before the cor“ The unlearned will be more able to ruption of the Postdiluvians had introcomprehend those difficulties of Scrip- duced or perfected the incongruous and ture which originate in an ignorance of detestable system of idolatry which chathe occasion on which a Psalm or Pro- racterized Egypt and Greece and Rome, phecy was written. The passages which and the whole Pagan world, and which seem at first sight to contradict each now disgraces the nations of the East in other, will, by harmonizing the several general, and particularly Hindostan. accounts,

be clear and consistent ; those Events which are only hinted at, or reinnumerable false interpretations of ferred to in Scripture, are related at single texts, the chief source perhaps length in history. In the arrangeinent of popular theological misapprehension, of the narrative of Scripture the student will be obviated, by fixing that primary of history may read the prophecies that meaning which was intended to be con- foretold events; and in the events reveyed to the mind of the persons to whom corded in history, he will read the acthe passage was originally addressed." complishment of those prophecies. His

“The pious mother of a family who tory will thus be the commentary on is anxious to lay the foundation of Chris- Scripture and on Prophecy; and the tian morality, upon Christian principles, influence of religion will be confirmed, and endeavonrs to make her children ac- while the knowledge of the inquirer is quainted with the wisdom that maketh increased. The falsely-called philosowise unto salvation,' by engaging their phical reader of history, who rejects tender minds through the medium of ihe notion of a particular Providence in connected annals, will be more able to over-ruling the affairs of men, may imainterest them in the finest volume of all gine he can discover adequate causes for history. Many of the most important the several changes in dominion and parts of the Old Testament are with the power among the ancient monarchies; utmost difficulty made pleasing to chil- but he who looks beyond what are called dren, who do not, and cannot, at a very secondary causes perceives that all these early age, perceive the connection, the powers in their turn were raised up to consistency, and the harmony, that per- protect, or to punish, the visible Church vades the whole. While their attention of God; and that when they had accomis arrested by the beautiful narratives of plished this object, their pride, their

the sacred volume, they are too often greatness, their pomp, and their glory, - embarrassed and confused by the at- were annihilated. The history of the tempts of the anxious parent to explain Bible alone acquaints us with the real the connection between the parts of that cause of the origin, the decline, and fall, variety of interesting matter, which of all the ancient monarchies; and when makes the Scripturc so attractive, as that history is arranged in its order, a

.

clear explanation is given to many ob- mence: he will learn to apply to himeelf scurities of ancient history, to the plans the doctrine of a peculiar Providence : of Providence in the government of the he will see that though prophecy and world, and to the pre-disposing causes“ miracle have in one sense been disconwhich led to the various circumstances tinued, though the canon of Scripture connected with the history of the Church. be closed, yet the gradual fulfilment of

“ Nor will an arrangement of the the prophecies it contains, may be reBible be less useful to the general reader, garded as a perpetual miracle, appealing and to the lover of literature; to that to the hearts and to the consciences of large portion of the community, who, all the generations of mankind. The though they have no objection to peruse same unchangeable God still governs works of instruction, uniformly prefer the world and the church, and orders those which promise amusement only. the events that occur to both according It never ought to be said that the Sacred to the purposes of his own will. He Scriptures are given for our amusement; rules over the least as well as the greatest but while they abound in the most so- events; and as the beauty of a flower, lemn and important lessons on the and the mechanism of an insect, declare observance or neglect of which our the universality of his Providence as present as well as future happiness de- loudly and as plainly as the sun in the pends, it is equally true that the lover heavens, or the moon walking in her of poetry may elevate his mind, and brightness; so does the declaration of kindle his imagination, in admiring ideas his own immutable Scripture, that not which no other book contains, in lan- a sparrow falls unperinitted to the guage which the epic or the dramatic ground, convince the Christian who power of Greece itself has neither sur- views the stupendous events recorded in passed nor equalled. The literary beau- his Bible, that he too is not and cannot ties of the Scriptures, considering those be unnoticed nor neglected in the goScriptures only as specimens of com- vernment of the universe. Happy is he, position, are superior to all that can be who, having a hope full of immortality, selected from the tenderest, the sub- through Him who has become the prolimest, the most admired efforts of hu- pitiation for the sins of man, reads his man genius. Those only are worthy to own lot in the conduct of God towards be placed near them, the authors of his Church, and resigned and contented which have wandered on the heights of with the present, rejoices in the pro-. Sion's hill, and visited the flowery spect of the future.” (Vol. i. pp. xxibrooks beneath.

xxviii.) Lastly,—“ The pious and humble

The lengthened notice which we Christian, as a member of the Universal have given of this handsomely printed Church, cannot but be interested in that work, will sufficiently indicate the portion of sacred history which is related high opinion we entertain of its utility in the Old Testament; and in perusing it in its historical form, he will be able

to all who can afford to purchase it. to perceive more clearly the develope. We need scarcely add that, to Minisment of the plans of Providence. He ters of the Gospel, it is a most importwill there discover in what manner cvents ant help to a comprehensive knowapparently unconnected all tend in a ledge, and to an accurate exposition, greater or less degree to the fulfilment of the dispensation of mercy: nor do of some wonderful events which were we know any volumes, among the previously foretold, but which, at the various books on Biblical Literature, time when these results were delivered, which would constitute a more valuappeared impossible to be brought about ; able present

from opulent members of -he will perceive that all the circumstances recorded in the Scripture tend to our Societies to young Preachers of one end with as much regularity as the the Gospel, (whose Library is often, incidents in a regular drama bring about alas! very scantily furnished, from the the catastrophe. He will see them coin- narrowness of their pecuniary means, bine in one purpose, prove one point, with books of solid and sterling merit,) develope one mighty scheme, which was than Mr. Townsend's Arrangement planned in the councils of OMNIPOTENCE, of the Old Testament, of which we gradually revealed to mankind, and is have now given our favourable opistill in progress among mankind;-he nion, and Mr. Horne's Introduction will perceive that the scheme of pro- to the Critical Study of the Holy phecy has been in great measure surely

This last-mentioned accomplished, and will be more and

Scriptures. more convinced that the remaining pro

Work was briefly recommended in phecies shall be all fulfilled; he will hail our Select List for January; but we the day when the curse shall be removed, hope to have the pleasure of bringing the house of Israel restored, and the it more fully before our Readers in reign of universal righteousness coin- our Review for June.

« PreviousContinue »