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What are the chief subjects of civil History?
The administration of public affairs, (or politics;) revo-

lutions, wars, commerce, &c. Who are the leading characters in it?

Kings, Statesmen, Warriors, &c. What has History been called? .

Philosophy teaching by Examples. What is it, in this view of it? The record of past ages for the instruction of the present

and of the future. What does it unfold to the serious mind? The ways of God, and the


of Man. What do you see in the ways of God? His bestowing or withholding blessings; His rewarding

goodness and punishing wickedness, &c. Is there not much obscurity in His ways?

There is undoubtedly. Whence does this proceed?

Because we see so little, so dimly, so imperfectly. Let me here propose a few questions: Why does God exalt some nations, and depress others? Why does He enrich some of them with blessings, and leave

others destitute of them? Why does He suffer ignorance and wickedness to abound? Why does revealed Truth put forth such a limited influence

in the world? Can you answer such questions?

Certainly not: such matters are above our comprehension. In this state of ignorance and weakness, what is our support?

Faith in God.
What is the language—what is the assurance of Faith?

“Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” What, then, is your firm persuasion?

God has done, is doing, and will do right.

Express your persuasion in the words of David: Ps. cxlv. 17.

“ The Lord is righteous in all His ways,

And Holy in all His works.” In what conclusion do


rest? Whether I look to nations, or to individuals, God rules

and orders all things in righteousness. What is all History, in this view of it?

The development and fulfilment of God's purposes. What do we learn from History as to the ways

of men? We see them acting on good or on bad principles. What is History in this view of it?

The development of the human heart. To what may we compare the course of Time from the first? To a stream, for the most part troubled and muddy,

seldom quiet and clear. What does a great Historian call “ the History of nations?”

The paths of blood.” How do


divide Ecclesiastical History? 1. Into Sacred History; that contained in the Bible. 2. The History of the Church; that written by uninspired


What do you say of the study of History?

It is painful, pleasing, and profitable. What is painful in civil History?

The record of wars, confusion, wickedness, and distress. What is pleasing in it?

1. The progress of government, civilization, science,

art, &c.

2. The counsels and actions of wise and valiant men. What is painful in Church History?

The record of errors, debate, division, strife, &c.
What is pleasing in it?

1. The diffusion of truth, order, and happiness :
2. The principles, labours, and lives of good men.

In what respect is History profitable?

It instructs us, directs us, warns us, encourages us. Mention two things which it abundantly illustrates.

1. The operations and results of wisdom and virtue:

2. The operations and results of folly and vice. What should we particularly regard in reading History? The principles, counsels, actions, and characters of men;

and the effects and final results of these, both as to

the world, and as to themselves. Are there any other sorts of History besides civil and eccle

siastical? Yes: any subject, as Philosophy, Sciences, Art, &c., may

be made the matter of history. To what Time does History relate?

To Past Time.
Can we look into the Future?

Only by analogical reasoning, and by divine Prophecy. To what prophecy do you especially refer?

To Revelation; the last book in the Bible. What is the painful prospect before us?

That the world will be a troubled scene. What is the pleasing prospect before us?

The Preservation and final Triumph of the Church. What is God accomplishing in the whole course of Time? He is gathering in a redeemed people from among all

nations. What is the chief object upon this earth which demands the first attention of


Christian? The Church of the living God. In what does our wisdom, happiness, and glory consist? In ordering our lives, by divine grace, both as to faith

and practice, as living and true members of that Church.


What, whether we regard nations or individuals, is the exalta

tion and degradation of man? Prov. xiv. 34. “Righteousness exalteth a nation; but Sin is a reproach

to any people." What does this prove with regard to God?

That His government over all is a moral government. What persuasion do you cherish about sin?

It will never go unpunished. Repeat the words of St. Paul, Rom. ï. 649. “Who will render to every mam according to his deeds:

To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory, honour, and immortality, eternal life : But unto them that are contentious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath ; Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of

man that doeth evil.” Is this view of things proved by History? Goodness is not in all cases prosperous; and wickedness is

not in all cases degraded and punished: but history proves, that Virtue is the good cause, and Vice the evil cause : that is, we are under a moral govern

ment. Mention a Psalm that relates to this subject, and deserves your

best study.
The seventy-third Psalm.


Before we go into particulars, we must form a general view of the subject:

We have from the Creation to the nativity of our blessed Lord 4004 years; and from His nativity to the present year, 1849 years: the whole period is 5853 years. Ancient History extends from the Creation to the Fall of the Western Roman Empire: the History of the Middle Ages extends from that event to the Invasion of Italy by Charles VIII. of France: and Modern History extends from that Invasion to the present time. We have, therefore,

1. Ancient History 4004 + 476 =
2. Middle Ages from 476—1494

= 1018 years.
3. Modern History from 1494—1849

4480 years.

355 years.

563 years.

The period before our Lord's Nativity, 4004, may be thus divided: 1. Antediluvian; unknown, except by the Scripture re

cord in Gen. i.-viii. B.C. 4004-2348 1656

years. 2. The Obscure and Heroic period; from the flood to

about the 50th year of Jacob's life; or, in secular history, to the flood of Ogyges, that is, B.C. 2348—

1785 3. The Fabulous and Heroic period; from the 50th year

of Jacob, to the 35th year of Uzziah's reign; from B.C. 1785—776; that is, in secular history, from

Ogyges to the Olympiads. 4. The Historical period; from the 35th year of Uzziah,

(that is, from the first Olympiad, B.C. 776,) to Christ. An Olympiad consisted of four years: the Greeks computed time thus, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year of such an Olympiad, as the 10th, 50th, 100th, &c.

The Romans computed time from the foundation of Rome, B.C. 753, the 6th year of Jotham, king of Judah.

Sacred History ends with Nehemiah, B.C. 409: we have afterwards the information that is given us by Josephus and the pagan historians, &c.

I now put before you a view of Chronology in few words, according to our three-fold division of time: and I would wish you to treasure up this table of it in your memory.

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