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added another chapter, which I call a prophetical connexion between the Old Testament and the New, wherein the inost eminent prophecies relating to our blessed Lord are set down in one view, together with their accomplishment; that younger minds may see how much this Great Messiah or anointed Saviour was foretold and expected through all ages, and may have their faith of Christ built early upon a solid foundation. I have nothing more to add, but to acquaint the reader with the method I have taken in composing this work, and with the use that he should make of it. In framing this book, I have observed the following rules, viz.
1. I have proceeded, for the most part, according to the order of things, as they lie in the books of scripture; but still endeavouring to maintain some connexion throughout the whole history. Yet I cannot say I have always reduced things to that order in which they were transacted: For in several places I found that a strict observation of chronology would have intermingled too many incidents of different kinds, would have broken the scheme of things I had proposed, or interrupted the narrative of some particular event, and rendered the history much more unconnected and disagreeble to those for whom I write.
2. Though I have not been solicitous to insert every incident, and the name of every person contained in the Old Testament, yet I have omitted scarce any name or remarkable transaction which has been referred to or cited in the New, or has any connexion with the gospel of Christ, which is the religion of christians. It was not possible to insert all the particular narratives contained in the scripture, without making another book almost as big as the bible itself: whereas my prime design was to give an abstract or short view of the sacred history for the use of persons of such age, capacities, or conditions of life, as are not able to attend to much reading, nor gain a fuller and more accurate knowledge of the transactions of God with men.
3. I have added the chapter and verse of one or more texts of scripture to every answer that required it, that the reader might be invited to search his bible, and there gain a larger and more particular acquaintance with those historical matters which I have briefly mentioned in a line or two. If young persons by this means are allured to grow familiar with the word of God, I am persuaded the advantage they may reap thereby will richly compensate all their labours in reading this historical abridgment of scripture, and all my pains in writing it.
5. It is all divided into chapters, and some chapters into sections with a new title to each. This will in some measure, give a comprehensive view of the method and order of the whole. It is evident that the catechetical form of question and answer takes off the tiresomeness of reading from younger minds, and perpetually allures their enquiry and curiosity onward by short answers, without that weariness which arises from many long continued pages of mere narrative: And in the same manner a proper distinction of the history into chapters and sections under different titles renders the work of reading much more delightful by the frequent returning rests and pauses.
5. Since I intended it originally for persons of younger years, and the common rank of mankind, I have studied generally to use such words and forms of speech as are most plain and easy to be understood. It would not have answered my design so well, if I must have sent my reader too often to his dictionaries to enquire the meaning of hard words and latinized expressions.
6. Yet I have not so confined myself to the service of my unlearned readers, as to neglect all useful criticisms and occasional remarks to clear up difficulties, but have freely interspersed them through the whole book, so far as may inform the iniquisitive, and give some hints to the more intelligent reader for the further illustration of some passages of scripture both in the Old Testament and the New. If there should be found any mistakes in drawing up this history, which might have been rectified by further consulting the writings of
the learned. I would only mention one apology for myself; and that is, a great part of it was drawn up in the country, at a distance from my usual habitation, where I had no learned writings to consult, and was confined to my bible alone. A friendly notice of any such mistakes might occasion a correction of them, Let me here speak a word or two more of the particular uses which may be made of this summary of sacred history.
It may not be an improper book to lie constantly in the nursery or the parlour, to assist the instruction of children, or the conversation of grown persons. And if this and other useful books were suffered always to lie in the places appointed for servants, especially in great families, it might be an allurement to them to employ some of their leisure in a profitable manner. The placing it in any room of usual residence may entice persons often to look into it, and lead them into an easy acquaintance with the various dealings of God with men from the beginning of the world. Nor can I think it would be a vain or useless employment for persons who are not furnished with better advantages for scriptural knowledge to read it over once in a year or two, in order to keep these sacred memoirs ever fresh in their minds. Half a chapter in a week would be no heavy task, and this would finish it in one year's time.
May the divine blessing attend this feeble endeavour of mine to diffuse the knowledge of divine things among mankind, and to furnish families with useful matter for conversation, whereby they may be better secured against the temptations of loose and vicious writings and vain discourse, which give an unhappy tincture to the imagination in early years, and tend to defile and destroy the soul.
A SHORT VIEW
WHOLE SCRIPTURE HISTORY, &c.
The History of the Old Testament.
THERE is no history in the world so ancient as the bible, nor is there any which gives us so early an account of things. The Old Testament begins at the creation of the world, brings us into acquaintance with Adam and Eve our first parents, informs us of their state of innocence, their sin against God, and their being driven out of paradise; it recounts the first generations of men, and their multiplied iniquities, which provoked God to destroy them by a flood.
Then it treats of the character, circumstances and conduct of Noah and Abraham, and of their families after the flood, enlarging most upon the household of Jacob or Israel the grandson of Abraham, who, at the invitation of his son Joseph, went down with his family to dwell in Egypt, where they were enslaved by Pharaoh the king.
The history proceeds to the deliverance of the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage by Moses and Aaron, and their being set apart to be a peculiar people to God. It rehearses the laws and statutes which were given them, together with their sins and punishments while they were 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 oWD 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 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 contains an historical and prophetical connexion 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.
CHAPTER I.-The History of Mankind before the Flood.
HOW came this world into being? ginning the great God made heaven and that are in them; Gen. i. 1. Exod. xx. 11.
Answer. In the beearth, and all things
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. Ps. 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.
3. Q. What time did God spend in making the world? A. God, whe 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; verse 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; verse 9.-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; verses 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; verse 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; verse 24-26; and God blessed his creatures, and pronounced his works all very good; verses 28, 31.
10. Q. What did God do the seventh? 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? A. 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; verse 17. and 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 any 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 able to have preserved him in life, if he had continued to obey God; Gen. ii. 9. and 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