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" this !” saith the Prophet, “ ye “ which are called by the name of “ Jacob, which swear by the name of " the Lord, and make mention of the .“ God of Israel, but not in truth nor "in righteousness !!!!
Let us, however, do justice to the descendants of Abraham. Though the multitude did indeed become corrupt, there were, even in the most degenerate times, a chosen few who worshipped the God of their fathers in sincerity, and, in spite of every obstacle, continued to have respect to all his commandments. Such persons inquired, as we are now inquir. ing, into the nature and purpose of all that God had revealed to man, from the creation of the world to their own times. They perceived that "the " law of the Lord was perfect, re"joicing the heart;" that “ the law "of the Lord was pure, enlightening
** the simple ;” and that “in keeping " his statutes there was great reward.” They perceived that the punishments denounced against disobedience, and the blessings promised upon obedience, had in all times past never failed of being fulfilled; and wisely concluded, that he who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, would, as he had done in times past, continue to do in times to come. They laid these things to heart. “They covered " themselves with integrity as with a “ garment,” and “washed their hands so in innocence ;" and in this left us an example, that we should follow their steps.
AGAIN, my dearest Lady Elizabeth, again I must request you to accom: pany me into the regions of antis quity, to trace, if I may so express myself, the footsteps of Providence throughout all generations. Were it a subject in which we had no per: sonal interest, it is sụrely in itself so extraordinary as to awaken curiosity and command attention. But when we consider that the consequences of every special act of grace and mercy
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 s 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