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extend to all* and that none are excluded from the benefit of them but such as willingly exclude themselves, we must be very torpid indeed if we rest satisfied with vague and imperfect information concerning their nature and extent.
It is remarked by a very learned and a very wise man, "that the ge"neral design of Scripture is to give "us an account of the world, in this "one single view, as God's world: "and that by this, Scripture is essen"tially distinguished from all other "books *." In reading the Scripture history, we shall find much advantage from attending to this remark; as it confines our observations and our criticisms to the general tenor of the record, and cuts off all occasion of contention concerning points
* See Butler's Analogy, p. 377.
that are of little consequence to the main design.
In other histories we expect to be presented with a view of the remarkable events that have been brought about by means of human agency; and in order to give us any dependence on the veracity of the historian, it is necessary that the events described be natural; that is to say, conformable to general experience, and such as can be accounted for on general principles. From the view given of the general design of Scripture, we are taught to expect to find something beyond the limits of usual experience; and therefore the credibility of the Scripture historians must rest on other grounds. The books of the Old Testament were written by persons of very different stations and situations, and in different ages, and yet they .as perfectly
unite in carrying on the main design of Scripture history, as if they had written in conformity to a preconcerted plan.
Instead of presenting . us with a course of events evolving the general laws of Providence, the Bible gives us an historical view of those particular instances, in which God in his infinite wisdom saw .fit to deviate from these general laws, by what to* our shallow apprehension appears to be more special acts of power. And though we should find (or imagine we find) reason to believe that the human agents appointed by God to hand down to latest ages the history of his providence, had in other respects been liable to all the errors and prejudices of their contemporaries, and that therefore the Bible history partakes, as far as relates to facts merely historical, of the imperfection
which attaches to all other histories, we should not be in the least disturbed, since these imperfections do not impugn the integrity of the writers, nor in anywise defeat the purpose for which we believe their writings to have been intended.
The history of the Jews, from their taking possession of the promised land to the reign of David, though it is only, in other respects, such a mere outline of events as might be expected from the rude historians of a rude age, is nevertheless, with regard to the fulfilment of all that was foretold by Moses and by Joshua, so explicit, as to leave no doubt upon the reader's mind.
By the prophet Samuel, God renewed the offers of mercy, and reminded his people of the punishments that followed disobedience; but until David was established on the throne,
to to which he was appointed while a shepherd-boy, we find no renewal of the promise which referred to the future and universal blessing.
Of this universal blessing, David was inspired to speak in still plainer terms than had been employed by Moses; but we are not to imagine that either David or Moses had any accurate conception concerning the nature of the event which they foretold. The Divine Being in revealing himself to David did not make the same display of his power or his glory as he had done to Moses. This was now unnecessary, and God does nothing in vain; David had from his infancy been instructed in the law. He heard from his fathers "what had "been done in their days, and in the "old times before them," and from their experience and his own, knew to a certainty that all the promises and