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fundamental doctrine of the unity of God, while the rest of mankind, even the wisest and most learned, were devoted to polytheism and idolatry, and the grossest and most abominable superstitions. It then gives us the history of this people with their various migrations, revolutions, and principal transactions. It recounts their removal from the land of Canaan, and their establishment in Egypt under Joseph, whose history is related in a manner so natural, so interesting and affecting, that it is impossible for any man of common sensibility to read it without the strongest emotions of tenderness and delight.
The Book of Genesis comprises the history of about 2369 years.
Exodus, the next in order of the books of Moses, takes its name from the Greek word 12. Exodos, significant of the principal transac13. tions which it records, namely, the departure
of the Israelites from Egypt. It comprises
a history of 145 years, from the year of the 14. world 2369 to 2514 inclusive, from the death
of Joseph to the erection of the tabernacle. The deliverance of this people from their bondage in Egypt, was effected by a series of the most astonishing miracles. They
were in the wilderness, under the conduct of Moses for forty years, during which time, (besides many other rules and directions for their moral conduct,) they received the ten commandments written on two tables of stone by the finger of God himself.
The books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Leviticus. Deuteronomy, are chiefly occupied with the various other laws, institutions, and regula- my. tions, given to the Israelites respecting their 13. civil government, their moral conduct, their religious duties, and their ceremonial observances. Among these, the Book of Deuteronomy, (which concludes the Pentateuch,) is 16. distinguished above all the rest by a concise and striking recapitulation of the innumerable blessings and mercies which they had received from God, since their departure from Horeb; by strong expostulations on their past rebellious conduct, and their shameful ingratitude for all these distinguished marks of the Divine favour; by many forcible and pathetic exhortations to repentance and obe. dience in future; by promises of the most substantial rewards if they returned to their duty, amongst the most striking of which is that of a Saviour, (Deut. xviii. 18,) and by
denunciations of the severest punishments if they continued disobedient; and all this, especially the Song of Moses, (Deut. xxxii.) delivered in a strain of the most animated, sublime, and commanding eloquence.
The historical books of Joshua, Judges, Judges. 17. Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, continue the
history of the Jewish nation under their Kings. leaders, judges, and kings, for near a thou
sand years; and one of the most prominent 18. and instructive parts of this history is the
account given of the life and reign of Solo19. mon, his wealth, his power, and all the
glories of his reign; more particularly that noble proof he gave of his piety and munificence by the construction of the temple which bore his name, and the inimitable prayer which he offered up to God on the dedication of this temple to the divine service. (1 Kings viii.)
Next to these follow the books of Ezra, Nehemiah. and Nehemiah, which contain the history of
the Jews for a considerable period after their return from a captivity of 70 years in Babylon, about which time the name of Jews
seems first to have been applied to them. 21. Esdras, or Ezra, was a priest, and Nehemiah
of the family of David. They were two Jews, who lived in Babylon, and were afterwards sent by Artaxerxes during the reestablishment of the temple; the first to restore order in the church, and the other to regulate the government, or police of the country.
The Books of Ruth and Esther are a kind The books of of appendage to the public records, deline- 23. Esther. ating the character of two amiable individuals, distinguished by their virtues, and the very interesting incidents which befel them, the one in private, the other in public life; and which were in some degree connected with the honour and prosperity of the nation to which they belonged.
In the Book of Job we have the history of Job. a personage of high rank, of remote antiquity 24. (according to some, prior to Moses,) and extraordinary virtues ; rendered remarkable by 25. uncommon vicissitudes of fortune, by the most splendid prosperity at one time, by an accumulation of the heaviest calamities at another, conducting himself under the former with moderation, uprightness, and unbounded kindness to the poor; and under the latter, with
the most exemplary patience and resignation to the will of Heaven.
The Psalms which follow this book were, 26. by the direction to the chief musicians, used
in the public worship, and were composed chiefly by David. Some were written by
Moses, Samuel, and Asaph. They are full 27. of the most exalted strains of piety and de
votion ; such beautiful and animated descriptions of the power, the wisdom, the mercy, the goodness of God, that it is impossible for any one to read them without feeling his heart inflamed with the most ardent affection towards the great Creator and Governor of the universe.
The Proverbs of Solomon, which were 23. written by the king whose name they bear,
come next in order, and contain a variety of very excellent maxims of wisdom, and invaluable rules of life, which have no where been exceeded, except in the New Testament. They afford us, as they profess to do at their
very first outset, the instruction of wisdom, 29. justice, judgment, and equity. “They give
subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.”