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who had saved him, and made him the father of a race of men to repeople the earth, or fell into great mistakes concerning him ; they got into their heads notions of things which had no being, or else had no thought or power or goodness, and began to suppose the air one god, the earth another, the sea another, and so on, till they had quite lost sight of God that made the earth, the air, and the sea, and all things that move within or live upon them.
It therefore pleased God to make provision for correcting these foolish and wicked notions (for they led to much wickedness), in such a time and way as he knew to be best; and for this purpose he separated one people from the rest of mankind, and instructed them in a wonderful manner in the knowledge and worship of himself, and in the duties which he required from them: while, in the mean time, mankind in general were left to exbibit, as a warning to the world in future ages, a proof how unfit men are to be their own guides in these important respects. For this purpose he raised up, among the Israelites in Egypt, Moses, a great and good man, who having brought them, by a series of mighty works which God enabled him to perform, out of the bondage in which they had been confined, was directed to give them a body of excellent instructions and rules of conduct respecting God, the Maker and Governor of the world, and the duties to which they would be bound towards himself and one another; and to train them to become a great people under his own particular government and authority.
The history of this people, and of God's dealings with them, you have in the Old Testament. It may be divided into four parts or periods; the first, while they were under the government and instruction of Moses in the Wilderness, contained in the last four books of Moses; the second, while they were conquering the land of Canaan under Joshua, and were governed in it by the Judges; the tbird, while they were governed by kings (to two of whom, David and Solomon, we chiefly owe the excellent collections of Psalms and Proverbs), during most of which period they were admonished and warned by teachers called Prophets (the writings of several of whom form the concluding part of the Old Testament); the fourth, while they were carried into and remained in captivity, froin which a part of them were wonderfully restored. During this period also they were instructed by prophets.
You will find that the Old Testament (which is sometimes, but improperly, called the Bible) is made variety of books, written in various agès by good men under the direction of God; and drawn up in such a manner that, while you are entertained with the history, you are also by degrees made acquainted with the doctrines and precepts in which it was the object of the writers, by God's direction, to instruct you. But as it is a large book, and the history is carried on through such a length of time (for this people was wonderfully preserved for almost two thousand years; and though they often transgressed the commandments which God had given them, and when they did were always severely punished for it, were yet never destroyed, but were kept together as a considerable nation till after the coming of Christ and the writing of the New Testament), I have thought it might not be amiss to draw up out of it a little Abridgment or Abstract of their history; which, being very short and easy to be understood, might render the general course of the story familiar to your minds, and enable you, when you take up your Bible and read any particular part, to know whereabouts you are, and connect what you are reading with what goes before and what follows; and so might render the whole more entertaining and instructive to you.
In the mean time I will just abstract for you a short list of a few out of the many texts or principal passages which contain the great traths or doctrines which your Catechism tells you
it is the leading design of the Old Testament to teach you. And these passages it will be very desirable that you should carefully commit to memory, that so you may have these great truths more firmly fixed in your minds, and the passages themselves always at hand to refer to in case of need.
First, then, the Old Testament teaches that God is
Deut. iv. 35, 39. “The Lord, he is God, and there is none else beside him. Know, therefore, this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else."
Deut. vi. 4. “ Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy miglit."
Psalm lxxxvi. 10. Thou art great, and doest wondrous things; thou art God alone.
Isaiah xliv. 6. “ Thus saith the Lord, I ain the first, and I am the last ; and besides me there is no God."
xlv. 5, 22. "I am the Lord, and there is none else: there is no God beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the eartb : for I am God, and there is none else.
Secondly, that he is All-powerful. Genesis xvii. 1, and xxxv. 11. “ I am the Almighty God.”
xviii. 14, and Jer. xxxii. 27. “I am the Lord of all strength; is any thing too hard for me?"
Job v. 9. “He doeth great things and unsearchable, marvellous things without number.”
Psalm lxii. 11. “God hath spoken once, twice have I heard this, that power belongeth unto God.”
Daniel iv. 35. “ He doeth according to his will, in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?"
Thirdly, that he is Wise. Job ix. 4. “ He is wise in heart and mighty in strength."
Psalm civ. 24. “O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom bast thou made them all."
Isaiah xxviii. 29. “ He is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.
Fourthly, that he is Good. Psalm xxxiii. 5. “ The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” xxxiv. 8. “O taste and see that the Lord is good.”
“ The Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting;” and every where throughout the Psalms.
Fifthly, that he made the World. The Bible opens with this great truth : “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Gen. i. 1.
Psalm xxxiii. 6. “ By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth."
cxix. 73, cxxxix. 14. Thy hands have made and fashioned me. I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Isaiah xi. 26. * Lift
and behold who hath created all these things-by the greatness of his might."
Malachi ii. 10. Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us?"
Sixthly, that he governs the World. 1 Chron. xxix. 1]. Tbine, O Lord, is the greatness and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: all that is in the heaven and on the earth is thine : thine is the kingdom; and thou art to be worshiped as Lord over all.”
Psalm civ. 1. “ O Lord, iny God, thou art very great ; thou art clothed with honour and majesty."
Isaiah xxxiii, 22. “ The Lord is our judge, the Lord is our law-giver, the Lord is our king.”
Seventhly, that to Him alone our religious worship is due. Exod. xx. 3, 5. “ Thou shalt have no other gods be
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.” Deut. vi. 14. “ Ye shall not go after other gods."
“ And now, O Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him; and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul?"
i Chron. xxviii. 9. “And thou, Solomon, my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve himn with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind. If thou seek biin, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake birn, he wlll cast thee off for ever."
These excellent passages of Holy Scripture, my dear children, are but a very small specimen of what might have been collected and arranged under each head. But they are perhaps as many as it may at present be proper to offer to your young memories. They are enough, if faithfully committed to memory, duly attended to, and, if so, deeply impressed upon your minds as maxims of conduct, to lead you in safety through many dangers, and establish you in a holy and virtuous practice. As you go on to read the Old Testament, particularly the devotional parts of it, you will make continual additions to your stock of passages under each head—nay, the pleasing task will never be ended, but will be an exercise affording continual gratification on every fresh perusal. But when we come to add to the Old the study of the New Covenant, we then shall see in every page how much it is, always has been, and ever will more and more become, our duty" to fear and honour God, to worship and obey him, and in all our ways to trust in him, and to please him.”
ORTHODOX PARADOXES.-RALPH VENNING,
WHEN Unitarians exhibit the contradictions in the Trinitarian system, they are accused broadly of wilful misrepresentation. It is therefore expedient that Trinitarians themselves should expound their own system; their exposition is quite enough for the cause of Unitarianism. In the present day, indeed, the advocates of the doctrine of the Trinity are cautious of explanations; they shut up
the system in the ark of mystery. Their elder brethren, not so hard pressed by Unitarians, were more communicative; they did not scruple to develop the doctrine in all its astoundingness.
Amongst these may be named RALPH VENNING who was ejected from the lectureship of St. Olave, Southwark, on the unemorable St. Bartholomew Day, 1662. We shall reprint below the four first chapters of a little work of his entitled, “ Orthodox Paradoxes; or, a Believer clearing Truth by seeming Contradictions :'' small 8vo, 3rd edit. 1650. The tract is dedicated “ To the Right Worshipful Colonel Francis West, Esq., Lieutenant of the Tower of London." Venning was educated at Emmanuel College Cambridge. After his ejectment from the Church, he preached as colleague with Mr Bragge, an eminent uonconformist preacher at Pewterers’ Hall, in London. Palmer (Noncon. Mem. 2nd ed. I, 174) says that “ he was a popular preacher and much followed." 'Wilson (Dissenting Churches, I, 210) calls him an excellent divine," and adds that she was a person of eminent ministerial gifts, an excellent and powerful preacher.” He appears to have been considered as a scholar, for we learn from Anthony Wood (Athen. Oxon. Bliss's 4to. ed., III. 982), that he had a band with Caryl, Mead, and other celebrated Nonconformists, in a book entitled “An English-Greek Lexicon, containing the Derivations and various Significations of all the words in the New Testament,” 8vo. London, 166). Wood adds (p. 983), that “ he died March 10, 1673, and was buried in the presence of very many Nonconformists ; at which time Robert Bragge preached his funeral sermon."-We state these facts to shew that Venning was no inconsiderable writer in his day, and to convince the reader, who might othera wise suspect that what he is about to read is mere irony,